I'm Still Here (je Suis Là) by Clelie AvitI'm Still Here (je Suis Là) by Clelie Avit

I'm Still Here (je Suis Là)

byClelie AvitTranslated byLucy Foster

Hardcover | August 23, 2016

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Elsa has been in a coma for five months. With all hope of reviving her gone, her family and doctors are having to face the devastating fact that it might be time to turn off her life support... They don't realise that in the past few weeks Elsa has regained partial consciousness; she knows where she is and can hear everyone talking around her bed, but she has no way of telling them she's there.

Thibault is in the same hospital visiting his brother, a drunk driver responsible for the deaths of two teenage girls. Thibault's emotions are in turmoil and, needing a retreat, he finds his way into Elsa's room. Seeing her lying there so peacefully, he finds it hard to believe she is not just sleeping.

Thibault begins to visit Elsa regularly. As he learns more about her through her family and friends, he begins to realise that he is developing feelings for her. And when he talks to her, he can't help feeling that she can hear his every word...

For Elsa, his visits are like a breath of fresh air. Here is finally someone who speaks to her as if she is a real life person. Who makes her laugh. And who gives her something to fight for...

And so begins a love story that might just save both their lives...

Clélie Avit was born and raised in the Auvergne region of France. She works as a physics and chemistry teacher, while also teaching dance. Avit received the Prix Nouveau Talent forI'm Still Here(Je Suis La), her first novel.
Title:I'm Still Here (je Suis Là)Format:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 8.62 × 5.88 × 0.88 inPublished:August 23, 2016Publisher:Grand Central PublishingLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1455537624

ISBN - 13:9781455537624

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Lyrical, Gorgeous Read *4.5 star rating* Have you ever read a literal masterpiece? Perhaps a book that made you feel so many emotions... all in one sitting? A book that you are not able to get out of your mind? I'm Still Here is that book. Clelie Avit is a fantastic writer who has mastered the art of literature with this story involving two gorgeous characters who somehow fall in love without really knowing each other. This is not about a random case of love at first sight. It is a memorable read that stunned me from the first page. At first, I expected it to be a knockoff "adult" version of Gayle Forman's If I Stay, however it was different. It focused on two individuals who did not know each other before their initial "meeting" in Elsa's hospital room. I found this to be extremely poetic and lyrical. This novel has been sitting on my shelves for ages until I decided that I have been waiting too long. I NEEDED TO READ THIS. What also captured my attention was the fact that this is also a translated story (from French) and a retelling of Sleeping Beauty! I mean - I didn't see the retelling 100% (no fairy godmothers, my friends) but it was cute to see something like this come alive. We constantly see stories that are retellings of Cinderella, but this is something new and interesting. I swear I will read anything that Clelie Avit writes. This is about a woman named Elsa who has a passion for mountain climbing. One day, she falls and injures herself, barely making it alive (her friend ended up saving her) and she is put into a medically-induced coma. No one around her has hope that she will make it. Our other protagonist, Thibault, has recently been broken-hearted by his girlfriend, and to mix everything else together, his brother is in the hospital after getting in a crash, killing (two, I'm pretty sure) young girls because he was drunk. The two characters suddenly meet, and it was extremely unexpected. Thibault begins to spend lots of time with Elsa, talking to her as if she were right there with him. Would I really be able to call this a romance novel? I'm not quite sure. But it was magical and I felt like it was so real. You know how some books are so cheesy and unbelievable that you just read it feeling like it is just so disappointing? This was not it. Although it is like a 1 in a million chance for this kind of love story to evolve in someone's life, it was so believable and beautiful. I loved both of their characters and how their struggles mingled together. Everything fitted so perfectly. I'm Still Here made me squeal, laugh and tear up, all in the same sitting. It is amazingly written and I recommend it to all people. Get ready to gain a fondness for romance stories! *A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for a honest review. Thank you so much!*
Date published: 2017-08-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Romance + Brains = Great Read Thought provoking, well-written, and beautifully paced. This book does not take long to get immersed in; the characters are so real, and the plot so close to home. I feels as though you are watching this drama unfold before your very eyes. I do not read a lot of romantic novels, in fact I avoid them. But if more were written in the same manner as this, perhaps my shelves would contain more. This book does not just have heart, it has brains. Highly recommend.
Date published: 2017-07-19
Rated 2 out of 5 by from A Tough Read I'm Still Here has a sweet story line that touches your heart but very hard to get through. The book progresses very slow but I continued reading because I thought that the plot was very unique, although could have been written much better. Overall, I would recommend this book to someone of a lower reading level who is into romance, but not someone more advanced.
Date published: 2017-04-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Quick little romantic read, with a fairy tale feel. I'm Still Here is Clélie Avit's debut novel. After a horrifying mountain climbing accident, Elsa is lucky to be alive. But she's in a coma. Unknown to her doctors, friends and family, Elsa can hear what is going on around her, but cannot communicate. A young man named Thibault is in the same hospital to visit his brother, who has also been in an accident. But, the circumstances are quite different and Thibault cannot bring himself to enter his brother's room. Instead he ducks into Elsa's room. Discovering she is in a coma from her chart, he happily sits down in the visitor's chair......and begins to talk. This is the first time, but it won't be the last. He finds himself drawn to Elsa, despite her being in a coma. And Elsa? She is just as drawn to Thibault - and determined to let Thibault know. This isn't a new premise for a novel (or a story either - I thought of Sleeping Beauty as I started reading), but I enjoyed Avit's take on it. The reader is privy to the details of both Elsa's and Thibault's lives. Who knows if those in comas can hear what is happening around them? (And I think they can) Imagine the frustration and fear they must feel. Avit does a good job portraying what such a patient might feel with Elsa's thoughts, hopes and memories. And fears as well - she can hear what her doctors and family are discussing. I quite liked Thibault. His open, unhindered, unscripted monologues revealed much about his life, his thoughts and his character. But, I thought the parallel storyline about his brother should have affected me more. (And I felt bad about that as it too has some serious overtones.) I'm not sure if it was 'lost in translation', but I didn't feel the emotion the situation warranted. The pragmatic in me had to ignore Thibault's crossing of lines with a stranger (some of his behaviour in the hospital going ignored by staff is a bit of stretch) and just go with the fairy tale, hoping that Elsa can wake up and let Thibault know she has heard every word he's spoken. I'm Still Here is a quick little romantic read, with a fairy tale feel.
Date published: 2016-09-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Simply and beautifully told I loved this book! It was a beautiful story, sparingly told, about a woman in a coma and the man who comes to know her by sitting by her bedside. The book is an English translation of the French novel, Je Suis Là, and I wasn’t sure how the language and emotion would translate to English. Having read it, as a bilingual reader, it was so excellent that it left me wanting more (specifically to also read the original French version). The book centres on the fate of a woman, Elsa, who is in a coma after being suffocated by snow in a glacier. Elsa is an adventurer who loves to travel and enjoys her travel with a little side of danger. She ‘wakes’ from her coma after several months but is unable to move or speak; she can only hear what is happening around her. The writer does a brilliant job at expressing her frustration and really making the reader ‘see’ how hard it would be to know what is happening around you if you couldn’t move or speak. The writing was virtually poetic as Elsa, frustrated from not being able to open her eyes, starts using colours and songs to describe those who were visiting her. This enabled me (the reader) to understand the characters and what was happening much more clearly. I had additional sensory information and it deepened the storyline. During this time, there is another man at the hospital, Thibault. Thibault is there because his brother is in the hospital recuperating from serious injuries after he drove under the influence and crashed his car, killing two 14 year old girls in the process. Thibault wants nothing to do with his brother and doesn’t want to visit him but because he drove his mother to the hospital, needs something to occupy himself. He slips into Elsa’s room and, using her chart, comes to know her and becomes involved in her life. One of my favourite parts of the story involved him noticing that the nurse hadn’t put lip balm on her lips and making sure that she got her lip balm. The book does require you to suspend disbelief a bit and also fill in the gaps. Really, it could have been a lot longer (there was a lot of story to tell) without being boring, but I enjoyed how streamlined it was. There’s no way to tell the end of this story without spoiling it so I will simply say that halfway through, I was reading faster and faster and was on the edge of my seat. And no, it wasn’t because of any elements of murderous suspense or ghostly horror, but simply because I needed to know what was going to happen and whether the others in the hospital would discover that Elsa was awake and aware although she couldn’t speak or move.
Date published: 2016-08-30
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Review from This is the Story of My(Reading) Life I'm Still Here has a synopsis that draws me in. It's ultimately why I requested it to review. It sounded like it had the same vibe and base story as The Women Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes(who is a favourite and I love that book). But nope, I highly recommend reading The Women Who Stole My Life if this book sounds at all appealing to you. Unfortunately, I'm Still Here fell flat in pretty much every aspect. A modern re-telling of Sleeping Beauty is pretty spot on. There's the creepy guy falling in love with a sleeping girl whom he's never met. Nothing was surprising. I'm Still Here followed predictable to a tee. There was a major disconnect. The story lacked any sort of emotion expecting knowing how to piss me off. I'm not sure if something got lost in translation but all I can do is review the book I read. I felt for Elsa. Poor girl can hear her doctors not giving a shit, her parents discussing pulling the plug on her life, her sister getting busy with a different boy every week. But as a character you don't get to know her. She's in a comatose state and yea, there're her thoughts and some memories but what can you really take away from that? Next to nothing is the answer. Thiebault was barely any better. I get his anger and disgust towards his brother; makes sense. But what the hell kind of guy makes himself comfortable around, and ultimately thinks he's in love with women who's in a coma? Just no. It's not romantic. It's fucking creepy. Lurking in her room. Visiting her a few times a week. Making room for yourself on her hospital bed so you can sleep. Playing around with her tubes and machines. What the hell dude? Gross. Then you see Elsa falling for this guy(Thiebault) too, looking forward to his visits(which I can overlook). She's alone in her head with a whole whack of absentee family members and friends. Random guy is the only one, creepily, paying attention to you. Actually having faith in your recovery. So I'm pretty sure, considering the situation, most of us would feel the same as Elsa. Now what I can't overlook is the horrible medical care. What the bloody hell?! I can only hope that Avet isn't basing the doctors off of personal experience. Maybe she just hates doctors. Doesn't matter. Everything was just a piss off. Elsa's doctor could care less about her life. Elsa ain't brain dead. She's had some improvement since she entered the hospital. But head doc doesn't care. He's hell bent on convincing her parents that she's gone and it's time to pull the plug. He's not the only one; a few times Elsa shows signs of life and the doctors just rub it off as impossible and don't bother to check up on her. No scans, nothing. In fact, one doctor ordered one then saw her chart which shows that her head doctor pretty much says don't bother worrying about her, so he cancels the scan. It's a whole bunch of infuriating. Even more so knowing Elsa can hear them all making attempts to end her life. Also, how about the fact that she's literally lying in this bed for months and there's no nurse coming to switch positions, keep her muscles from deteriorating to nothing. They pretty much leave her for dead. Which leads into what a caring family she has... Her parents barely visit. Her sister comes once a week to pretty much discuss her rolling door of boyfriends. Her parents complete lack of faith in Elsa is terrible. Her dad is so angry over how she landed in the hospital that he can't even get over it to feel for Elsa. Be sad, jackass. At least I know that if I ever found myself in Elsa's shoes I'd have a family that would be there for me every day, fighting to make sure I have the best care. Poor Elsa. The ending was bull shit. You know when you're reading and everything is starting to happen in a rush because the ending is a few pages away? Well, that's annoying as hell. Here I am at ten pages left and Elsa is still asleep. So I just knew I was going to be angry with whatever happened. And I sure the hell was. Abrupt and stupid. I'll leave it at that.... So clearly I'm Still Here just really didn't work for me. It wasn't romantic or sweet. There wasn't that urgency for Elsa to just get better. The story lacked a lot. I definitely didn't hate my time spent reading it. I just lean heavily on the side of skipping over this one. Unless you read French, then maybe give it a go.
Date published: 2016-08-23

Editorial Reviews

"A hauntingly beautiful read."
-Romantic Times