Saturday, May 14, 2011

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
April 6th, 2010
Publisher - Speak
Pages: 208 (kindle e-book)
Source: Bought
A critically acclaimed novel that will change the way you look at life, love, and family.

In the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen ­year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces- to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make. Heartwrenchingly beautiful, Mia's story will stay with you for a long, long time.
"I realize now that dying is easy. Living is hard." (Forman 146).

Unique and touching, Mia's journey is an emotional ride that readers everywhere will find pulling at their heartstrings. Mia, cellist and essential good-girl to the core, finds herself standing on the sidelines of a car accident -- her family's car accident. From this moment to the hospital, I realized that Forman truly did a wonderful job with this beginning stage. It could have easily been over or under-done, but it was perfectly effective and heartbreaking. The rollercoaster of emotions that Mia goes through while witnessing everything from the side is realistic and touching. Each flashback of her life before this moment provides a good source of depth to every character and Mia's life, really showing how much she has to lose if things don't work out.

It's easy to get caught up in Forman's words and compare Mia's story to your own life - What if that was me? What if there was nothing I could do but watch my life unravel? I wasn't expecting such a thoughtful story that really pulled me in emotionally - I was up, down and really diving into Mia's hectic life. If I Stay can be described and summed up into one word - memorable.

Highlights: If I Stay is written so beautifully and poignantly. I knew going into this story that would be sad, and it was, but there's so much more to the words than I expected. I loved how the relationship between Mia and Adam wasn't easily begun, because they really are different people with unique likes/dislikes. And the "play me" scene? Hot.

Lowlights: There were a couple times when I questioned some of the words "Mia" would use - they didn't seem to match her voice quite right, but these moments were rare. Also a few moments where the story was pushed a bit too hard, and some of these moments could have been more touching if they'd been reigned in a bit.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Other Thoughts: I have to respectfully disagree with the quotation on the new paperback cover - this novel is very different from Twilight, and that comparison does not suit the story's style. Compare it instead to Thirteen Reasons Why or Before I Fall - those better match the subject and writing style.


  1. I love this book so much :) Nice review, I agree, Forman's writing style is so beautiful. Also-- SO NOT TWILIGHT. Aghh, like not even! Will you be reading Where She Went? It was aweomse! ;)

  2. I remember loving this book so much, and I agree completely with your review!

  3. I haven't read this book yet but I can't wait to. I have heard so many good things about it. I cannot believe that anyone would compare this to Twilight. I guess that is the publisher's way of selling books now but unfortunately it may turn some people off to this book. Before I Fall was one of my favorite books from last year and I'm glad you thought this was one is similar. I loved your review!

  4. Great review. I've wanting to get this book for a while. :)

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  5. Great review. Gayle Forman is an amazingly talented author. It upsets me to see that almost every book in today's world is compared to the Twilight Saga, alike or different.

  6. Great review, I completely agree. So beautiful. I think one of my favorite things about it was her relationship with her parents. I love that it was one of the main focuses instead of parents not even being mentioned like you see in a lot of YA books.

    Also, Twilight? Why? I get them sticking it on every vampire and werewolf book out there trying to pimp it to the masses, but this one completely baffles me.....

  7. Awesome review! I definitely agree with your comparison to Before I Fall, especially because If I Stay is SO different from Twilight; it's like comparing the sun to the moon. Have you read the sequel yet? I bought and read If I Stay earlier this year, but I've yet to buy Where She Went -- if you have, I'll look forward to your thoughts! I'm happy where If I Stay left off, so I'm not completely sure I want to read the sequel. xD

  8. Great review! I want to read both If I Stay and Where She Went and will probably be crying through the whole book.

  9. I barely have enough words to say how much I loved If I Stay. Everything about this book is beautiful from the cover to last line. There was an authenticity to the hospital side of things that was simultaneously jarring and comforting. At the same time, this is also a wonderful story. Forman's writing is lovely, evoking all of the characters in vivid detail throughout the story. While Mia's loss is devastating, the story ultimately also has a calming quality that only helps to underscore the beauty of the writing and comfort readers that, no matter what her decision, Mia will find peace.