If I Stay film review + book giveaway

August 8, 2014 2014, contemporary, events, films, Gayle Forman, giveaway, Wendy 124

if i stay poster

Earlier this week, I attended an If I Stay screening at at The Silent Movie Theater in West Hollywood. Since Gayle Forman’s book is the first contemporary YA novel I loved since I rediscovered young adult literature, it was a pretty big deal to me that the film adaptation is a good one. And friends, you’re going to love this film. You’re going to love it so much.

I’ve been a fan of director R.J. Cutler’s since his documentary The September Issue so I knew the film would be in good hands, but I was still overcome by how intensely true to the spirit of the book this adaptation was. It captures so many of the things I love about the source material: characters with strong identities, warm relationships with family and friends, emotional depth, complex themes, serious consideration over what you’re supposed to do with your future, and an appreciation for the sheer beauty of everyday life. I’m someone who is usually wincing at scenes where someone is playing onstage and the viewer is supposed to be carried away by it, but in this case, you really are swept away by the energy of Adam’s performances with his band, as well as deeply moved by Mia’s focus on her cello.

Just as in the book, the romance pulls at you–but it’s within the framework of their messy, painful, exquisitely joyous lives. And it’s funny! It’s surprisingly funny, and the set decorations, costumes, music, and cinematography were all thoughtfully considered and perfect. I loved many of the performances as well, and I hope to see Jamie Blackley, Liana Liberato, Mireille Enos, and Joshua Leonard in many more projects in particular. (Obviously Chloe is already everywhere!)

This is a really difficult book to adapt because so much of it is internal dialogue, but the screenwriter Shauna Cross and the director did a fantastic job of making the film dynamic and making you care about Mia’s story. As the film ended, the emotion in the theater was palpable–the man sitting next to me kept saying over and over, “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.” And as I wiped my tears away, I thought, I know just how you feel.

if i stay screening

On a less teary note, the screening was hosted by Refinery 29 and Warner Bros., and these guys know how to throw a party! Aside from a never-ending supply of tasty food and drinks and music, there was also a Twitter-powered If I Stay vending machine (I did not get one of Mia’s cool bracelets, or a hoodie, or a tote, alas) and  “live for love” tattoos made especially for the film. (If you buy anything from Tattly in August, by the way, you’ll receive a set of three If I Stay designs!)

Since I used to work in the film industry, I’ve hosted and attended a lot of screenings, but this was by far the most polite, appreciative group of attendees I’d ever seen. (Fun fact: YA fans are way more interested in swag than an open bar.) It was such a fun evening, and I’m really glad to see that the film is being fêted in the style it deserves.

Oh, and for those wondering about my usual non-YA reader test subject: Mr. Darling turned to me afterwards and said, “That was excellent! Definitely my favorite of all the recent YA films we’ve seen.” So this movie is a lovely and moving experience for filmgoers who haven’t read the book and men who aren’t your typical audience for this book, too.

vine-divider-finalWin If I Stay and Where She Went!

Thanks to our lovely friends at Dutton Juvenile, we have a copy of both the movie tie-in version of If I Stay and a paperback copy of Where She Went to offer to one of our readers. These books are so gorgeous and moving, and represent the best of what realistic YA fiction has to offer–and they even appeal to readers who don’t usually read a lot of contemporary YA, like our own Kim! I am so pleased we’re able to give this set away to someone who hasn’t had a chance to read them yet, or to someone who just needs copies on his or her shelves.

But whether you win or not, I hope you’ll check out these books when you have a chance. They’re beautiful…and they just might make your favorites list. All of the ladies at The Midnight Garden love love love this series.

To win this set, all you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form and leave a thoughtful comment below telling us why you want to win the books! Open to U.S. residents aged 18 and older, or 13 and older with parental permission. See entry form for complete details. Good luck!

if i stay book

a Rafflecopter giveaway

vine-divider-finalAre you excited about seeing the film? Have you wept over the books yet? Tell me, and then come back and tell me what you think when you’ve seen the movie!


Wendy signature teal






124 Responses to “If I Stay film review + book giveaway”

  1. Natalie

    I read the first one in a night and the way it ended I was left saying, “What? What now? TELL ME!” So I need to get my hands on a copy of the sequel for reason consisting of Adam and Adam alone. Thanks for the giveaway!

  2. Miranda Lewis

    Oh I’m behind still need to watch the movies the books were amazing,think I might be going to see If I Stay today the boyfriend say the preview and between fault and our stars and this one, hes only wanting to see this one. At least I get to see one of them :D
    would love to win these for my mom whose been wanting to read these pretty bad. :) Thanks for the chance.

  3. Neyra

    I would love to have these two books. I don’t read a lot of YA contemporary because I’m always reading too much paranormal and high fantasy. This story looks really good and I can’t wait to read it.

    The event looks and sounds like it was a lot of fun, Wendy. Thanks for sharing with us :)

  4. Melinda Christensen

    I have not read the series yet nor saw the film. I always like to red the book before seeing the film. Most of the time, of course I’am disappointed with the film because my imagination makes a better movie. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to win this series.

  5. Julie

    I entered a previous comment under Eileen- I meant Julie! anywhoo~im excited for this movie because i love adaptations and i cant wait to reread the book-yet another reason why i need a phsycial copy of these books;)

  6. Eileen

    I remember reading this awhile ago when i was younger and thinking it was the best thing ever! now i’m a bit older now and would love to have an actual physical copy of this book! When i first saw the trailer i nearly cried-the song “Say Something” was beautifully put in the trailer. i love books turned into movies so i’m excited to see how this will turn out ;)

  7. Michelle Lee

    I need IF I STAY on my shelf because it’s one of those heartfelt books that you need. I loved the book and I found myself crying through most of it. I plan on watching the movie when it comes out. The thing about a book being made into a movie really gives it a big motion picture. That’s what I love about it. Thank you for this amazing giveaway! :)

  8. Dee

    I have wanted to read If I Stay for a long time, and have never found it on the shelf at the library (I have not bought it as I am on a strict book buying diet put upon me by my hubbie :)). This story seems to be the prefect mesh of reality and fantasy with a splash of ghoulish.

    And yes I will be seeing this movie as soon as I get a chance!

    <3 dee
    Dee recently posted…{mini}Book Review #4

  9. Chelsea B.

    The trailer about brought me to tears all by itself! I’d love to win the books because I love reading the book before seeing the movie– and yep, definitely planning on seeing it! :-)

  10. rana

    I have heard a lot of good reviews about, and I have seen the trailer as well.
    I like the plot and it sound more than great just from the huss about it.
    I want to see the movie but can’t till I read the book: it is a rule.

  11. Sharon

    I read the book months ago and would like to have a copy so I can read it again before I go and re-watch it next week. I’ve been lucky enough to have caught an earlier screening a couple of weeks ago. =D

  12. Kaysi Deleon

    I already own the non movie tie in book but I would love to own the movie tie in book and I’ve never read where she went so I would finally love to read that. I read if I stay back in 2011 and I read it right before a life changing event in my life similar to Mia being in the hospital but with my dad and eventually my dad did not choose to stay. This book is really special to me because of that and I can’t wait to see how the movie turns out!

  13. Aly @ My Heart Hearts Books

    I remember the first time I read it and I was going to buy my first car with my mom and she was inside the dealer signing papers and I decided to stay in the car and read. I blew through it so fast and by the time she came back to get me, I had finished the book and I was crying. I’d really love the tie-in addition because I think it’s so beautiful and I just have such an emotional connection to the story. I’m going to a screening on Monday and I hope it’s as good as I’ve been hearing.
    Aly @ My Heart Hearts Books recently posted…The Things You Kiss Goodbye (Review)

  14. Melissa

    The first time I read this book was maybe two years ago. I didn’t think too much of it at the time, but seeing how far it’s come, I’d love to give it another shot. Will definitely be planning to watch the movie with my friends. I have heard only good things about it!

  15. Samantha Jaramillo

    I loved both books so much and I felt like this was a great adaption. I was a little upset they left out my favorite part of the book,but I loved it, and me and the other 4 people I was with were all crying. It was so emotional and beautiful!

  16. Amanda

    I have wanted to read these books for too long. Setting aside enough money to pay for them though has always been a problem. :-) This sounds like a beautiful story and I would love to have it in my home.

  17. Darith L.

    I need these books because I think the movie looks really beautiful and the story sounds really great! Would love to have them on my shelf! :D

  18. Elizabeth

    You know, I’ve ONLY heard great things about If I Stay…so I don’t know why I haven’t gotten to it yet. Except that occasionally I procrastinate and the more good things I hear the longer I take to get to it haha! …which is dumb. But there you are
    Elizabeth recently posted…The House of Many Ways – Diana Wynne Jones

  19. HilLesha

    The odd thing is I happened to stumbled upon on this book at the library earlier this summer. Little did I know that it was so popular that it was going to be made into a movie. The sad thing is I was in the midst of going on vacation and didn’t have a chance to read it (library wouldn’t let me recheck it), and I haven’t been able to check it out for sometime now since there’s a huge waiting list for this book.
    HilLesha recently posted…Target Pharmacy Rewards + $50 Target Gift Card Giveaway #TargetSponsored

  20. Kris

    I really need to read If I Stay. I’ve heard nothing but good things! I don’t usually read contemporary YA, buuuttt… This looks good!

  21. starryeyedjen

    Oh, I’m so glad this lived up to your expectations, Wendy. I’m making my sister read this right now so we can go see it together. :) Ha, and I love that tidbit about YA fans being more interested in the swag…*I* am interested in both and I will be forever grateful that I have two hands: one grabby hand for swag and one for holdin’ a drink. :)
    starryeyedjen recently posted…Review: The Best Things in Death by Lenore Appelhans

  22. Lia

    I loved how If I Stay packed all the emotions into its humble page count. Even though I guessed, correctly for the most part, how things would work out I was taken by surprise. I was planning on seeing the movie and your review only solidified my resolve. So excited!

  23. Julie

    I really loved the “if i stay” book and can’t wait to read other novels by her.

  24. Jenn Greiving

    I have to admit, this book is one that’s been on my to-read list for a while, but I keep passing over it – I did the same with Throne of Glass (which is probably just as well, because now I only have to wait a couple of months for the final book!). But anyways – I’d love to add this one to my collection so I can read the book BEFORE I see the movie. You know.

  25. Lise

    Hi, I would love to win the set of books. I want to read them and review them on my blog.
    I really hope I win. ;)

  26. A Canadian Girl

    I loved this series and cried so much while reading If I Stay. I’m so glad that this one lived up to your expectations, Wendy, and I’m looking forward to watching this one. The trailer itself looks really good so if it accurately represents the movie, I know I’m going to love it too.
    A Canadian Girl recently posted…Review: I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

  27. Mara

    Oh GOOOD I’m so happy you loved the film! I read If I Stay when if first came out and had the beautiful blue cover with a little red flower on the front. It really started my love of contemporary YA. The screening looks like a blast! What did you used to do in the film industry?

  28. Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms

    Oh, Wendy I’m so glad you liked the movie! I took all of my reader friends and basically shoved the books at them so they could read it right before the movie premieres. I already preordered my ticket and I’m so excited! I think this movie will destroy me even more than TFIOS did. I’m checking out those tattoos now! They look so cute! :)
    Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms recently posted…{Audiobook} Review: Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

  29. Shilpa Rajagopal

    Gayle Forman is one one of my absolute FAVORITE authors. She writes with so much feeling, depth, and poignancy that her characters jump right out of the page. I felt such a close attachment to Mia as a character; the type of dedication she throws into music is both relatable (my outlet is dance) and inspiring to me as a reader. I have huge hopes for the film adaptation and am looking forward to watching it on the big screen. I’m crossing my fingers and toes for the giveaway. Thanks! :)

  30. Emma A

    I need this on my shelf because I still have not read them yet! I would love to be able to read these before the movie comes out!

  31. Jessica @ Rabid Reads

    GAH, Wendy, this just sounds amazing. I’m sooooo jealous. I randomly stumbled across If I Stay a couple of years ago, and after I picked up the pieces of my shattered heart, I got it for EVERYONE: both of my age-appropriate sisters, my MOM, my two most readerly friends, and then I endured their tears and recriminations as well, and it was so worth it. This book is up there with The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Flipped, and it is of note that I have not seen either of those movie adaptations. I doubted I would see this one either, b/c really–how can you translate a book this powerful to screen? BUT . . . you have made me rethink that stance. And who knows? If it’s as fabulous as you say, I may have to watch the others as well. Lovely post, Ms. Darling ;)
    Jessica @ Rabid Reads recently posted…Recap: Atlanta Book Signing with Ilona and Gordon Andrews

  32. Angie

    Even years after reading “If I Stay” and “Where She Went”, it’s still one of the most memorable stories I’ve ever read. Every once in a while, I pick it up for a re-read and I’d love to own my own copy! I’ll definitely be going to see the film and I’m glad to hear that you liked the film – film adaptations can be so hit or miss that I never know what to expect.

  33. Rebecca

    So glad to hear you liked the movie! I want to see it, but I feel like it’s going to be one of those movies where I’ll end up bawling my eyes out in the theater. But I’m really happy to hear that they adapted it well. If I Stay is one of my favorite books, but I STILL haven’t read Where She Went, so I would love to win that.

  34. Johannah

    I LOVED this book! I’m so excited they are making it a movie – I’m going to wait till it comes out on DVD so I can rent it and cry in the privacy of my own home. I know this will be a hard one to watch because I had such a hard time reading it. But I loved it all the same. I did like the where she went a lot more and I’m not sure if it was because I fell in love with Adam or because it was nice to have a guys POV for a change.

    Here was my review: http://thebrokenshelf.com/review-if-i-stay/
    Johannah recently posted…Top Five Books I Should Read Before I Start School

  35. Ariana

    I’ve never been super into contemporary YA, but everyone is raving about ‘If I Stay,’ so I really feel like I should check it out before the movie comes out!

  36. Ashley P.

    I’d like to win because I read these books ages ago from my library and I really want to reread them and have my own copies!

  37. Ashley C.

    Yet another book that continues to be out at my library! I definitely want to see this one, it seems like another tearjerker. Jamie Blackley looks great in this, also. Pretty sure he’ll jump from “cute nobody” to “official dreamboat” when this hits theaters!

  38. Tirta @ I Prefer Reading

    YAY! I can’t express it enough how relieved I am that you love the movie adaptation, Wendy. I’ve been worrying since the official trailer came out some time ago (Adam’s hair was what worries me the most tbh lol), it’s our favorite YA book so of course we don’t want anything to ruin it, yeah? I hope there will be no awkward moment when the audience watch the movie and it will get the many attention it deserves so there will be the second movie!
    Lucky you to be able to join this event, by the way! Looks like so much fun :)
    Tirta @ I Prefer Reading recently posted…Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

  39. Rachel

    What an amazing event, Wendy! :) I’m jealous! Arlene and I have plans to see this when it comes out and I can’t wait. I loved this series so much. I was a little apprehensive when I saw the casting choice for Adam because in photos he didn’t seem very charismatic, like the Adam in the novels. Was hard to picture him becoming such a huge star or making my heart race. But I saw the preview and was blown away. I’m still a little nervous about the film, though.
    Rachel recently posted…A Kid’s Perspective #9: Judging a book by it’s cover

  40. Kris

    I haven’t been sure if I want to watch the film or not, as I’ve had bad book-to-film experiences, but this sounds like a must-watch! I’m glad that the movie screening experience was wonderful. I agree that YA fans are awesome. I’ve read and loved IF I STAY but haven’t gotten around to WHERE SHE WENT. I really need a set for my bookshelf lol!
    Kris recently posted…Review: The Legacy by Melissa Delport

  41. Louise

    Really looking forward to this. Started reading the book a while ago but had to put it down — was at a rough patch in life and couldn’t really handle a book that was going to make me cry even MORE. But I’ve heard so many good things!

  42. Emma L

    Well before reading your review this morning I had never heard of the book or upcoming film, probably because I don’t really go for contemporary YA. For some reason this review made me want to give the book a try and I downloaded it to my e-reader this morning, couldn’t put it down and read it all in the one day. I am happy to say that I loved the story, it was a beautiful examination of some sweet familial relationships. I can’t wait to see the movie now!

  43. Sarah P.

    Oh, Wendy. I loved this book so much. I can’t even. I am so happy you loved the movie and that Mr. Darling loved it too. That’s a really really good sign! I remember bawling over the book so I just can’t wait too see it on the big screen and bawl my eyes out as well. I’m planning on bringing my steelhearted friends as test subjects. Heh. We’ll see who’d sniff the loudest. The event sounded fun too! Glad you enjoyed your time there.
    Sarah P. recently posted…Review: Storm Siren by Mary Weber

  44. Christina R.

    LOVE this series! It’s one of the best contemporaries, and to be honest I prefer Where She Went so I hope they turn that into a movie too :)

  45. Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

    Unlike everyone else, I’m the black sheep here and I thought the book was kind of average. But I’m looking forward to seeing the film, especially after your great thoughts on it and the depiction of warm relationships and the music. It will be a really powerful movie I think, I’ll definitely go and see it with other fans!
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Introducing Our New Co-Blogger Michelle!

  46. Kim

    Oh my godddddddd. I am about 5000% sure I will be like the man who was sitting next to you. That super corny song that plays in the trailer was on the radio today while I was in the car and I got choked up just thinking about this movie (unlike books, movies can and do make me sob). “Say something I’m giving up on youuuu.” as my eyes water and I think about the trailer and moments from the book and get all emotional. Yeah, I’ll totally be fine watching this movie!

    and ARE YOU KIDDING ME. There are IF I STAY movie tie-in Tattly’s? *buys a million more Tattlys*

    The mere fact that you loved this so much has sent my excitement meter into the stratosphere. Can. Not. Wait. And glad you had such a lovely time at this screening! Looks like it was a blast!

  47. Jordan

    I would love to win this really awesome giveaway! I so want to see this movie because it looks very emotional and it looks like it has a lot of depth. Thank you! :)

  48. Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings


    Honestly, I’ve been a LOT more excited for the release of If I Stay than I had been for The Fault in Our Stars. Perhaps because If I Stay had a film-like quality to it even as a novel, what with the flashbacks and Mia looking in on herself in the hospital and, in contrast, I knew The Fault in Our Stars would be an excellent movie but would always be a significantly better book. With this film, I really feel as if the movie version will bring something new to the storyline which I’m excited for. Plus, the latest trailer just looked so promising and the casting seems point on…I can’t wait! I’ll be starting college when this releases so I probably won’t catch it until it comes out on DVD, but I’m glad the wait will be worth it.

    Fantastic review, Wendy! :)
    Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings recently posted…On Old Hollywood, YA, and Love Triangles…

  49. Tatiana

    I really want them because I really like the new cover they put out to tie into the movie. I’m going to see the movie, taking my sisters. They have never read the book but I’ve been talking about this book to them forever so they are curious to see the movie.

  50. Miranda

    Hello! I’m Miranda and this is my first time posting a comment. *hides face awkwardly* I just had to come out of lurking to enter this giveaway.
    Would you believe I’d never heard of the books until the movie came out? It’s because I used to not be one for contemporary, but that trailer just looks breathtakingly sweet.
    I’d love to read these before watching the movie as that’s just how I roll. ;) I want to see the movie so amazingly bad, but I know I’ll have to wait for the DVD since I don’t like to cry in front of people, haha. It’d be nice to have a good cry!
    I’m glad you had fun at the party, and that the movie lived up to it’s expectations. Hope you have a nice day!

  51. Hilary

    Too bad I can’t enter this giveaway but I really like Gayle Forman’s books! I enjoyed having the flashbacks because they told me so much about Mia and her relationship with her family and Adam. It was poignant and I did, maybe, shed a tear. I hope the film stays true to the book and I cannot wait to watch the movie! Only 2 weeks left!
    Hilary recently posted…We Were Liars-E. Lockhart

  52. Lucy

    This book means a lot to me too so I got chills reading your review. I’m so relieved that you felt the movie did the book justice. And Mr. Reading Date will be relieved that Mr. Darling enjoyed it too :) We’ll be there opening night. And omg what a fun event- wow! Thanks for sharing your experience with us.
    Lucy recently posted…Wildflower by Alecia Whitaker Audiobook

  53. marjorie

    I agree that the books are hopeful as well as sad! And both have their share of humor, too. I don’t generally like wrenching weepfests, and I don’t think either book qualifies, thank God. Catharsis but not, y’know, PARALYZING MISERY. FWIW, my husband liked Where She Went more than If I Stay; I preferred If I Stay (though I loved both — I just identified more with Mia than Adam).

    On the other hand, I preferred Just One Year to Just One Day…though again, I loved both. I adore travel (I was a writer for the Let’s Go Europe guides in my dimly recalled youth) and when I was younger especially it was such a formative, perspective-changing, mind-broadening thing. I spent a lot of my teen years and early 20s as a stifled good girl, so I definitely felt I understood Allison. But I LOVED Willem and found him more attractive as a hero than Adam. Maybe I have more of a thing for actors than rock stars. :)

  54. Candace

    I’m really, really glad to hear this one is fantastic. I know I’m going to cry the entire time, but I’m so eager to watch it! I’m happy that it has the funny parts as well. That’s funny that the man next to you kept saying that. It’s especially nice to see men moved by movies because often it’s more difficult to get them as emotionally involved. Or they just hide their feelings more.
    I have never got to go to a screening like this before, that would be SO amazing! Thank you for sharing your experience with us!
    Candace recently posted…Young Adult Review: Homeroom Diaries by James Patterson and Lisa Papademetriou

  55. Amanda P.

    I have not read If I Stay. I’ve heard such good things about it though, that I’m dying to read it! Also, I want to read it before I see the movie, which I’m definitely planning to see as well, but only after I read the book! My co-blogger loved If I Stay and Where She Went, and I know those are definitely books that I should read. :)
    Amanda P. recently posted…Let’s talk about the New Adult genre

  56. Liv_The Absent Historian

    I definitely did not realise that this book was getting turned into a film. How exciting! I am pleased to hear it did not make you cringe and that it was actually quite beautiful. I almost certainly think I need to pick up a Gayle Forman book sometime soon since I have heard so much about them!
    Liv_The Absent Historian recently posted…Return to Blogging

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh my, what a nice surprise for you! And now you don’t even have to wait that long for it. :)

      I was actually leaning INTO the film a lot of the time because I was enjoying it so much, letting it all soak in. *sigh* Not a single cringe-worthy moment, and lots of beauty and laughter and romance besides.

      And yes, please do read Forman sometime soon. She…doesn’t have an equal in contemporary YA, as far as I’m concerned.

  57. Larissa

    This makes me so happy c: With every well done book to movie YA adaption I feel like the negative rapt of YA is slowly improving. This is definitely a good thing, as I feel so many just scoff at YA and consider it to be nothing more than Twilight.

    I actually haven’t read If I Stay, and god I really need to. I’ll definitely be seeing this movie so hopefully I can pick up and read the book prior. I’ve read one Just One Day, also by Gayle and love it so I think me falling head over heels for If I Stay is something that’s going to happen. It really does seem like a emotional roller coaster of a novel. I’m glad to hear that the movie isn’t just full of sadness though, but also uses elements of humor to lighten things up a bit. There’s so many things I love that you describe, so I really do have high hopes for both the novel and film adaptation.

    The party also sounds amazing. Good music, food and YA swag? Sign me up [;
    Larissa recently posted…Discussing Through Midnight (42): Importance of YA

    • Wendy Darling

      Good point re: YA’s reputation. I think this film in particular transcends the stigma. I mean, I liked TFIOS, but it still feels a little precious in some ways…and I liked DIVERGENT, but it also has very familiar YA beats, if you see what I”m saying. But this film has such emotional resonance, such maturity of thought and theme, that I think it’s going to find a big audience outside of your typical book fan or casual movie goer. And mark my words, I bet it’s a film people are going to want to see again and again. How awesome would it be if this turned into a sleeper hit?!

      The event was really lovely, and it was so enjoyable. Definitely as much laughter as there were tears, thank goodness.


  58. Wendy @ Book Scents

    I am so excited for the movie! I loved If I Stay and the preview looks SO good. Of course the trailer already managed to make me cry, so we’ll see how I handle it in theaters… but I’m so excited. I’m so glad that you thought it was fantastic! Since the book was relatively short, I was wondering how they’d handle everything but I’m glad that it was good!
    Wendy @ Book Scents recently posted…Nottingham’s Favorite Thief

    • Wendy Darling

      I keep hearing this about the trailer–I think Kim has watched it 500 times and cried every time, hah. I actually only saw the trailer once–I wanted to keep an open mind, and I knew I was going to see it, so I kind of wanted as blank a slate as possible. Hey, it worked for me!

      It sounds like you are going to need a lot of tissues, Wendy. The sad stuff made me cry, and the happy stuff made me cry, too. So many tears.

      And yes, it was an extraordinarily well-crafted film. I can’t say enough about how much I appreciate the director/screenwriter’s respect for the emotional core of the film, as well as for building up these characters and relationships bit by bit so that we could love them as much as they loved each other. Gaaaaaah. <3

  59. Sashana

    I’m so happy to hear that this movie captured the essence of the book! I can’t wait to see it!

  60. Jessy Jones

    Hmm… when I’ve participated in giveaways before, things were liked/followed/posted automatically, but it seems not everything worked right this time (for example, I don’t see a post on my Facebook). My entries were added, though. I’ll try to make sure I’ve actually done everything, but if you find an entry wasn’t earned, that’s why. Sorry about that.
    Jessy Jones recently posted…[title here]

  61. Pili

    Hmmm, I haven’t read the books and I guess now I need to add them to the list already! Since you all recommend these two, I must read them soon! None of the books I’ve read recommeneded by you have failed to impress me, so I better go and buy them already!

    I need to see when is this movie coming out in Spain too since I can drag some of my friends to watch this much easier than a Marvel movie *sigh*

    The event looks like a lot of fun too! Those noodles look really yummy!
    Pili recently posted…Friday Reads: The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey!!!

    • Wendy Darling

      Hah, what’s my batting average at this point, Pili? Now I’m dreading the day when one of my recommended books fails you! Oh noooooooo.

      I hope you will read the books and watch the film. You have such a soft heart that I just know it’s going to melt into a puddle all over both. :)

    • Wendy Darling

      Yesss! Thank goodness, after the string of fiascos we had with VAMPIRE ACADEMY, CITY OF BONES, and a bunch of others. This has been mostly a good year for YA film adaptations, and I hope their success will mean that future projects will pay attention to making a great movie, not just trying to throw something together to jump on the popularity of the YA bandwagon.

      Reading the book before seeing the film is always preferable, though. :) Soon, if you can, so it’s not RIGHT beforehand, as sometimes if the book is so fresh you might spend a lot of time thinking about the differences between the two too much. At least, I know I do.

      Um, I say this, but I’m considering rereading THE GIVER before I see it next week, hah.

  62. S.L

    I’m usually not one for contemporary YA (fantasy ftw!), but these books have been on my tbr list for quite a while. This review has encouraged me to bump them up the list!

    • Wendy Darling

      I’m pretty picky about my contemporary YA too, I think because I know what it’s like to be a girl, hah. I don’t know what it’s like to be vampire princess (DAMN IT) or to be attacked by mechanical spiders, but dating cute boys, worrying about my grades, yeah. That I know.

      I do hope you will try IF I STAY sometime, though. It changed my mind about this genre, it just might change your mind, too!

    • Wendy Darling

      It’s been a few years since I went to a screening this nice–and the last time, it was a premiere at the AMPAA, hah. Not that this was that fancy, but it really was a lovely, intimate event that was done really well.

      I am giving you my disapproving look for not having tried these books yet, though. Just as long as you try them soon!

    • Wendy Darling

      Whaaaat. Emma, we must fix this! Everyone must read these books, they just do.

      I liked JUST ONE DAY, but really–this series is the one that breaks my heart, so I whole-heartedly endorse this plan to read IF I STAY first. Besides, I bet you won’t be able to resist if you see the film in a couple of weeks!

  63. Jasprit

    I adored both books, but loved Where She Went that little bit more. I was thinking about how they would be able to adapt aspects of the book to the film, but I’m glad that they were able to do this quite successfully. We have to wait until the 29th to watch this film, but I can’t wait! Also that party you attended afterwards sounds like so much fun! Thanks for sharing this great recap with us Wendy, and hooray for Mr. Darling enjoying this film too! :)
    Jasprit recently posted…A Kid’s Perspective #9: Judging a book by it’s cover

    • Wendy Darling

      I hear that from a lot of people, that they loved WHERE SHE WENT more! I liked them both, of course, but the first one is the one that made me cry and made me love contemporary YA, so it has a special place in my heart.

      I’m really excited for you and everyone else to see this. It’s so wonderful, and I”m sure that Gayle Forman fans are going to love it. Hopefully the film will hook some new readers, too!

  64. Jessy Jones

    I would love to win these! I haven’t read them (yet), but I’d like to before I watch the movie. Besides, they’re beautiful-looking books. I’d be thrilled to have them gracing my shelves.
    Jessy Jones recently posted…[title here]

    • Jessy Jones

      I’m afraid I don’t see the Rafflecopter form? I’ve participated in other giveaways, so I know what it looks like, but it doesn’t seem to be here for some reason…
      Jessy Jones recently posted…[title here]

      • Wendy Darling

        And oh my goodness–thank you for pointing that out, Jessy! I somehow neglected to put that in, but that’s been fixed now so you can enter. Hmmmm, it’s sort of fascinating no one below you noticed that, though.

      • Jessy Jones

        Yes, they usually manage to mess up more than you thought possible. But I still like the read the book before watching the movie. I’m glad to see that you think so! I’m looking forward to reading/watching these, based on what everyone’s saying about them.
        Jessy Jones recently posted…[title here]

  65. Brenda

    The poster is gorgeous as well as the tie-in cover. I haven’t read this one yet, but am certainly going to look for it. I am a wimp with sad stories though, so I hope it isn’t to sad. But, I suppose it’s nothing a box of Kleenex handy won’t hurt. Thanks for the great review and the photos that accompanied it.

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh, I hope you like the books, Brenda! I can’t lie to you–it is a sad book, but also a hopeful one. It’s worth the tears, though. (I didn’t sob throughout, but I did well up a lot towards the end.) I added in the Rafflecopter if you are interested in entering the contest as well, I’m sorry I neglected to do that earlier. I’m glad you’re interested in reading them sometime, though.

      And this one was a pleasure to do. The photos were all dark because the event was outdoors at night, but they give you a good sense for what was happening, at least!

    • Wendy Darling

      Yeah…they added things like having her run in the hospital more to convey urgency and action, and I’m sure they did a lot of other subtle tweaks that I can’t think of because it’s been awhile since I read the books. This did such a wonderful job of showing you who Mia is, and Adam is, and her parents are, and so on and so forth, though. You totally understand what’s at stake, and why everyone loves everyone else and why her choice to stay or go is so heart-wrenching.

      Mr. Darling enjoyed himself thoroughly. He’s been to so many of these things, but he was really impressed by both the event and the movie–I didn’t even have to ask him what he thought, it just came right out of him. :)

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh good! The film is really wonderful, too. Maybe you’ll be interested in picking up the books after you see the movie. :)

    • Wendy Darling

      Hah, I haven’t seen ERAGON, but I did recently see a string of tweets about how the Percy Jackson author really, really disliked the film adaptation of his book. I haven’t seen the film or read those books, but that’s gotta suck when they ruin a book you love–I mean, it sucks for fans, let alone authors.

      And yesss, please do read the book! I forgot to include the Rafflecopter form earlier, but I’ve fixed it now in case you want to enter the giveaway.

  66. Carmel @ Rabid Reads

    I always worry that movies that are based on books will fall short, so I’m relieved to hear that that wasn’t the case with If I Stay. It looks like you had a fab time at the screening; your food pic is making my tummy grumble. Hehe The hubs and I are planning on going to see a film this weekend, so maybe this will be the one!
    Carmel @ Rabid Reads recently posted…Angela Addams’ Kick-Ass Ladies + Giveaway #StompvsRomp

    • Wendy Darling

      I always worry about that, too! I go into these things with zero expectations and an open mind, though I’ve been pretty dead on with predicting whether I’ll like or dislike a film. I’m still surprised by how wonderful this one was, though, especially in the very difficult second half.

      And yes, the event was lovely! I hope you and Mr. Carmel enjoy the film when you see it.

  67. Lisa (Fic Talk)

    My friend and I were just talking about If I Stay just this weekend gone. We talked about the movie coming out and she exclaimed that the book was so depressing but good. I’m not quite sure I’ll rush to see this since I’m not in the best place personally to watch a film where the MC loses both parents, as I lost my Dad in Dec and I know it’ll wreck me.

    I’m so happy that you and Mr Darling enjoyed it! Loved seeing the photos and such of all that the night entailed.

    • Wendy Darling

      I wouldn’t say it’s a depressing book, but it’s definitely a sad one…but also hopeful, too.

      I’m so sorry to hear that your dad passed away, Lisa–I had no idea. I lost my own father right out of college, and even though he’d been sick for a long time before that, it’s never easy. ((( hugs )))

      And thank you–it was a really special evening, felt very different from most screenings because of the film and the way people really appreciated being there. And the open bar wasn’t bad, either.

    • Wendy Darling

      I’d agree it’s closest to the books, too. I’m sure they changed some things (it’s been a few years since I read the book, though I’m planning on rereading it this weekend), and the whole “do I stay or do I go” thing doesn’t come into play until much later in the film, but changes always have to be made when you adapt material. It’s when they don’t make it their own that stuff feels stagnant and unimaginative.

      One thing I thought worked really well was to have her running a lot in the hospital to add urgency and feeling to the film–it’s hard when so much of the book takes place in her head. The flashbacks were handled so beautifully, too! I love love loved how her parents and brother are portrayed, and you rarely see on film such a wonderfully close-knit sense of community between family and friends who love each other. It all felt really authentic and beautiful.

  68. Cait @ Notebook Sisters

    I think YA movie adaptations are really stepping up the game here! Maybe Catching Fire raised the bar and now they’re working hard?! I was so impressed with The Book Thief and Divergent and now I’m EXCITED for adaption instead of terrified of them (ugh Percy Jackson and Eragon). Like The Maze Runner?! And Mockingjay of course…ohhhh, happiness. ^-^ I haven’t read If I Stay yet, but I want to soooo bad because I play the cello! I don’t, like, become a ghost though, so I won’t relate to Mia there.
    Cait @ Notebook Sisters recently posted…Why Beginning Writers Suck || Also: Little Cait’s First Writing Attempts

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh, this had to have been in the works way before Catching Fire came out. I think this property just sold to people who knew how to handle it, and who respected the source material.

      There was a MOCKINGJAY trailer before IF I STAY–I hadn’t seen it yet, so that was exciting to see! I’m looking forward to that one, too.

      You definitely need to read this book, though, Cait! I had no idea you played the cello.

  69. Carina Olsen

    Aw, yay :D Amazing post sweetie. <3 I'm glad you love this so much. But hah. I'm curious about book one and this movie. But I will never read it. Not when I read the summary for book two. Because what the. TOO MUCH HEARTBREAK for me. I can't deal with it. Not my kind of story AT ALL :p Which is just depressing, lol, as I have seen so many love these books. Hmph. Anyway. Thank you for sharing Wendy. <3 So happy for you that you got to go to this event :)
    Carina Olsen recently posted…Review: Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers

    • Wendy Darling

      “Too much heartbreak,” huh? The books are very sad in parts, as you can imagine, but they’re very hopeful, too. And the romance is so beautiful, if occasionally heart-breaking. But yeah, I understand they’re not for everybody.

      Event was super fun, though!

  70. Genesis Barillas

    Hi I’m Genesis Barillas , I am 20 years old I would love and be honor to win the set of books why? because I have a little similarity with Mia Hall like she was 5 when she first learned how to play the Cello and I was 5 when I started my dancing career , I am very passionate about it cause I could let all my emotions on the floor & also I’m a big fan of Chloë she inspired me to never give up on my dreams and one of them is becoming an actress I hope I win!

    • Wendy Darling

      Hi Genesis–oh, it sounds like you need to read these books for sure! I think a lot of us can relate to that idea of being intensely focused on something from a young age. Chloe’s been working for such a long time too, I’m sure she’s a role model for a lot of aspriring actors.

      By the way, I’ve put in the Rafflecopter form so you can now offically enter the giveaway. Sorry I forgot to include it before!

      • Genesis Barillas

        I don’t see the form, where exactly I is it at ?

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