Gayle Forman (www.gayleforman.com) is an award-winning, international bestselling author and journalist whose articles have appeared in numerous publications. She is the author of the companion title Just One Day, as well as New York Times bestsellers If I Stay and Where She Went, and Sisters in Sanity (HarperTeen). Follow Gayle on Twitter @gayleforman.
Excerpt from book:
**This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected proof.**
It’s the dream I always have: I’m on a plane, high above the clouds. The plane starts to descend, and I have this sudden panic because I just know that I’m on the wrong plane, am traveling to the wrong place. It’s never clear where I’m landing—in a war zone, in the midst of an epidemic, in the wrong century—only that it’s somewhere I shouldn’t be. Sometimes I try to ask the person next to me where we are going, but I can never quite see a face, can never quite hear an answer. I wake in a disoriented sweat to the sound of the landing gear dropping, to the echo of my heart beating. It usually takes me a few moments to find my bearings, to locate where it is I am—an apartment in Prague, a hostel in Cairo—but even once that’s been established, the sense of being lost lingers.
I think I’m having the dream now. Just as always, I lift the shade to peer at the clouds. I feel the hydraulic lurch of the engines, the thrust downward, the pressure in my ears, the ignition of panic. I turn to the faceless person next to me—only this time I get the feeling it’s not a stranger. It’s someone I know. Someone I’m traveling with. And that fills me with such intense relief. We can’t both have gotten on the wrong plane.
“Do you know where we’re going?” I ask. I lean closer. I’m just about there, just about to see a face, just about to get an answer, just about to find out where it is I’m going—
And then I hear sirens.
I first noticed the sirens in Dubrovnik. I was traveling with a guy I’d met in Albania, when we heard a siren go by. It sounded like the kind they have in American action movies, and the guy I was traveling with commented on how each country had its own siren sound. “It’s helpful because if you forget where you are, you can always close your eyes, let the sirens tell you,” he told me. I’d been gone a year by then, and it had taken me a few minutes to summon the sound of the sirens at home. They were musical almost, a down-up-down-up la, la, la, la, like someone absentmindedly, but cheerfully, humming.
That’s not what this siren is. It is monotonous, a nyeah-nyeah, nyeah-nyeah, like the bleating of electric sheep. It doesn’t become louder or fainter as it comes closer or gets farther away; it’s just a wall of wailing. Much as I try, I cannot locate this siren, have no idea where I am.
I only know that I am not home.
I open my eyes. There is bright light everywhere, from overhead, but also from my own eyes: tiny pinprick explosions that hurt like hell. I close my eyes.
Kai. The guy I traveled with from Tirana to Dubrovnik was called Kai. We drank weak Croatian pilsner on the ramparts of the city and then laughed as we pissed into the Adriatic. His name was Kai. He was from Finland.
The sirens blare. I still don’t know where I am.
The sirens stop. I hear a door open
Praise for Just One Year:
"An alluring story that pushes beyond the realm of star-crossed romance" —Publishers Weekly, starred review
Praise for Just One Day:
“Offering mystery, drama, and an evocative portrait of unrequited love, this open-ended novel will leave fans eagerly anticipating the companion story.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
Accolades for If I Stay:
- New York Times Bestseller
- ALA Best Books for Young Adult
- ALA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers
- Kirkus Reviews Best Books of the Year
“Every moment I spent reading Forman’s masterpiece drew me in more.” —NPR
"Beautifully written." —Entertainment Weekly
"Achingly satisfying." —Family Circle
Accolades for Where She Went:
- New York Times Bestseller - Amazon Best Book of the Month (April 2011)
- YALSA’s 2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults List (BFYA)