I’ve spent the last two weeks pouring over books that are “in the genre I write”… Trust me when I say this is hard for me. I read a lot of adult sci-fi and urban fantasy. I also read a lot of emotionally gripping YA. Feel free to look at my Goodreads account if you don’t believe me. I’ve always wanted to be a YA author for the same reasons I’m a teacher. I know I can change young lives with words. But somehow I never occurred to me that in order to write YA urban fantasy, I had to read it. I just assumed I had been. Like blindly nodding my head. “Sure I read… I mean there was… Hmm…” as it hit me hard. Outside of big titles, I don’t have much. But after nearly two weeks of books which haven’t held my attention, I decided that maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe I’m aloud to love Adult Fantasy and Scifi and I’m aloud to love Emotional charged YA books and I’m aloud to try and bridge this gap in my own writing. Combine the two into something new. I don’t know. But what I do know is that I needed to feed my soul. So I grabbed Gayle Forman’s IF I STAY.
I watched the movie back in 2014 before I realized it was a book. Those that know me, know I’ll avoid a new movie if it’s a book first so that I can enjoy it in the proper order: Book first. It doesn’t always work out that way, and IF I STAY is a prime example of that.
Going into this book, I knew exactly what I was getting into. I knew it was going to be heart gripping. I knew who lived and who died. I knew when the music played it was Adam’s iPod. There were no surprises for me. Except there was. Forman’s book moved me to tears. Her words sent spiraling chills and the need to consume the entire book in one sitting. I couldn’t put it down. It was lyrical. A choice between two loves and the book ultimately leaving the mc with a different kind of choice. Life or death. (Perfect Hamilton quote, just saying.)
Reading this book has eased some of the panic inside of me. There are all these “rules” about the publishing world that I try my best to follow and keep up on. But the thing is, I was borne from rulebreakers. And sometimes, I just have to make up my own along the way. This book filled a bit of the ache which grew inside of me over the last couple of weeks. The unyielding voice saying I was doing it all wrong. Maybe my way is okay too. Maybe life is all about the choices we make. Maybe there is no wrong choice and the only real one is to push forward or give up. I choose to push forward. I’ll keep sifting through YA urban fantasy and believe me when I say I could use a few recommendations right about now. But I’m going to come at this with a calmer approach. I’m going to keep feeding my soul the nourishment and the kind of books it needs to be fulfilled. And if you haven’t read IF I STAY by this point, and like me, maybe you only watched the movie. Go buy this book. It’s short and beautiful and will rearrange your insides. In a good way.