One of the foremost authors of realistic/dramatic fiction for teens, and amazing at writing stories that take place in a short period of time.
If I Stay – “A heart-wrenching novel about a teen with a tough choice to make–one that means life and pain or death.”
Seventeen-year-old Mia teeters on the edge of her future. She desperately desires to go to Juilliard since she is a very talented cellist, but longs to stay with her boyfriend Adam, who goes to college near home and is in a rising rock band. But all of this hoping and dreaming is cut short when Mia and her family get in a horrific car accident. Mia has an out-of-body experience and watches as her parents are pronounced dead and her own badly injured body is taken to the hospital. She doesn’t know what has happened to her little brother Teddy. In the aftermath that follows, spirit-Mia watches as her family and friends react to the news and urge her to get better, but all the while she is weighing what living will cost and what death will mean. Will her love of music, Adam, and her remaining family give her enough to live for or will the grief cause her to give up? This book will make you reevaluate your relationships with your family and your friends and your goals for the future, while also showing how music can deeply influence our whole selves.
Where She Went – Sequel to If I Stay following Adam’s journey after Mia’s accident.
After Mia’s horrible car accident, Adam plays Mia her cello music and begs her to live. What he doesn’t realize is how the entire experience changed their relationship and that their future is more uncertain than before. When Mia leaves for Juilliard, Adam is left in stasis as Mia, the one thing he’s lived for, is now gone, though she plans to return at winter break. When she begins ignoring him and doesn’t come back, Adam spirals into depression only transmuted into anger when Mia’s bff Kim attempts to make contact. Kim’s pity and Mia’s cruelty sends Adam into a maelstrom of rage, hurt, and betrayal that fuels his creativity until the band Shooting Star is at the top of the billboard charts. It’s been three years since Mia+Adam, and Adam is dating a famous actress, hounded by paparazzi and haunted by his broken heart. He is a ghost, and so deeply hurt that everything from before reminds him of Mia, including the band with whom he’s grown distant. One night before Adam leaves for an 8 week overseas tour, he fatefully sees a poster announcing renowned cellist Mia Hall is playing a concert and buys a ticket. When Mia asks to see him, they meet and are almost driven to discover whether they were just a tragic first love or only starcrossed young lovers who might have a beautiful future.
A unique perspective of a crippling tragedy and the heavy burden it would be to live, but also the power of music and love to give a new beginning.
Just One Day – “One day of risk and romance gives Allyson freedom to be herself and changes her life forever.”
Allyson is on a summer trip through Europe with a private tour company for teens and it’s one of her last nights, watching Othello in Stratford-upon-Avon at the Globe. She isn’t ready to go back home without having an adventure, and when a cute boy asks her to come watch an amateur rendition of Twelfth Night, she sneaks away to watch. The boy, playing Sebastien, is phenomenal, but that’s enough adventure for Allyson for one day. . . Until she meets him on the train the next day. Suddenly, she’s en route to Paris with a dashing Dutch boy named Willem, who has re-christened her “Lulu” after one of his favorite actresses. Freelance actor and wanderer, Willem and Lulu have a magical day together–discovering they share an unexplainable connection and romance. Then, when she wakes up the next morning, Willem is gone, leaving no note, and Allyson panics, thinking he’s abandoned her in a foreign place. When she returns home, she finds her time as Lulu has changed her and she doesn’t want to be the “before” Allyson anymore. She begins trying to discover her real identity, her hopes and desires, and then, tries to find the boy that gave her the courage to be her true self.
Allyson battles depression and an identity crisis, but gains her strength in attending college and exploring some of the things she loved in France. Confronting her lack of skill brings her around to a new beginning as a confident woman intent on finding out what happened to her one time love, taking her through France to the Netherlands in search of Willem.
Just One Year – “Sequel to Just One Day, Willem losing Lulu as quickly as he had found her moves him to embark on a journey to find her, and thereby find himself.”
When Willem met Lulu, it was one of those accidents of fate, he thought, similar to his parents first meeting and perhaps leading to something more. Their one day together seems to have woken Willem up, and he can’t stop thinking about what happened to her after his mishap that morning. He had gone out for food, just for a few minutes, and was caught by some enemies. Ending up in the hospital all day with a concussion and other injuries, by the time Willem made it back to the hostel, she was gone. Feeling even more lost, he goes back home where he faces the bleak heartache of his father’s death and his mother’s seeming abandonment. Crashing with friends, he keeps brooding on Lulu, and despite falling into another relationship–one he doesn’t much care about–he resolves to try and create another accidental meeting. With Broodje, his best friend, he travels back to Paris and Mexico in the hopes of meeting her. His search for Lulu brings him around to finding his own dreams, rekindling his relationship with his mother, and discovering his determination to succeed, yes, as his original talent, a Shakespearean actor.
Just One Night – “Short novella resolving Just One Day and Just One Year. The ultimate accident of fate and the future of Willem and Allyson.”
Finally, Willem and Allyson are together, in the right space at the perfect time. They recount their journeys that led them to this meeting and explore whether they are meant to share a real future.
This 3 part series is possibly my favorite of Gayle Foreman’s books. I love the traveling, the romance, the personal sacrifices it takes Willem and Allyson to be together. Satisfying, even if it took a lot longer than say, a book by Stephanie Perkins.
I Was Here – “A journey through unexpected, extreme grief due to suicide that transforms into one of self-discovery and reconciliation that slams with a sucker punch of forgiveness and the importance of asking for help.”
When Cody receives a death note from her best friend Meg describing her suicide, Cody can’t believe it. Her Meg would never have been one to kill herself. When doing a favor for Meg’s parents by cleaning out Meg’s college apartment room, Cody tries to dig a little deeper. What would cause her best friend to kill herself in a motel room by drinking industrial strength cleaner? Along her quest to find out what really happened, a judgmental Cody connects with Ben, Meg’s former friend and one-night-stand, and Alice, Stoner Richard, Tree, and Harry, Meg’s roommates. With their help, Cody maps Meg’s spiral into committing suicide, and through the revelation of events, comes to confront her own perception of herself and her relationships.
Note: I would not be surprised if this newest book from Ms. Forman wins something this year!