Book Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Title: If I Stay

Author: Gayle Forman

Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Romance, Contemporary

Format: Paperback

‘Sometimes you make choices in life and sometimes choices make you.’

INFO | Goodreads

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_Summary

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.

_review

All the feels.  That’s the saying, isn’t it?  When you’re on the bus and you have to look out the window to stop yourself from sobbing all over the man across from you.  This book was brilliant for many reasons, but number one because it made me cry on public transport.

I realize now that dying is easy. Living is hard.

Despite all these tears, I have to say that I thought the book started quite slowly – I seem to be saying that a lot lately.  Maybe I’m getting impatient in my old age?  It took me a little while to get into the style of the book; at the beginning, I felt disconnected from the flashbacks and memories as I did not yet know the characters.  It soon picked up, and I found the characters to have a lot of depth.  I wanted Mia to choose life because I really liked her, and thought her love for her boyfriend Adam to be utterly authentic; I was rooting for them.  I enjoyed the way that we were able to watch how each of her close relatives (and the hospital staff) dealt with her state: her chatty Gran, her quiet Gramps, the supportive and worried nurse.

Her affection towards her family reminded me of Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda.  I loved the fact that Mia’s parents were cool and she had a good relationship with them. Maybe it is just the material I have read in the past, but I so rarely have come across books with really positive parent-child relationships. I always had a good relationship with my parents as a teenager and it is refreshing to see this reflected in teen/YA fiction.

I couldn’t find any evidence that Gayle Forman has a musical background (though I actually didn’t look very hard), but she writes with such a genuine passion for music, that I was truly convinced of the importance of it in Mia’s life.  I also found the flashback to Adam and Mia’s cello scene hilarious:

‘Play me,’ he said.

‘What?’

‘I want you to play me like a cello.’

It conjured up memories of Titanic – “draw me like one of your French girls” – and I really couldn’t take it seriously.  I am not very musical myself (which always made me the odd one out in my house) so the sensuality of that experience really went over my head.  Still, it was silly, and that’s what love is about sometimes.

I’m disappointed to hear that there is a sequel.  I felt Gayle Forman ended the book spectacularly.  I had complete closure, and in my opinion there was nothing more to be said.  She had made her decision, end of story.  Has anyone read the sequel?  I would be interested to hear some thoughts on this.

Edit: I read the sequel!

Star Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)

Emma

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11 Comments

  • Reply libbycole007

    Wow, sounds like a really powerful book to make you cry in public! Will have to check it out.

    http://libbycole.wordpress.com/

    July 8, 2015 at 3:09 am
  • Reply Book Review: Where She Went by Gayle Forman | Wandering Words

    […] when I finished If I Stay and heard there was a sequel, I said these words: ‘I had complete closure, and in my opinion there was nothing more to be said.’  I take them back, I take them all […]

    August 8, 2015 at 8:26 am
  • Reply Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Book To Movie Adaptations I Still Need To Watch | Wandering Words

    […] loved this book (review found here) – it made me cry, and I would hope that a good film adaptation would do the […]

    November 10, 2015 at 8:06 am
  • Reply The Character Book Tag | Wandering Words

    […] Mia and Adam from If I Stay.  They had such a good time together; it really moved me!  Review found here. […]

    December 21, 2015 at 12:24 am
  • Reply Twelve Days of Bookmas (4/12) | Top 5 Recommendations from 2015 | Wandering Words

    […] If I Stay really surprised me when I read it back in July; it had a great emotional impact on me, and I found myself sobbing on the bus as I read it!  It isn’t so unusual for books to bring a tear to my eye, but something about this one really touched a nerve – I was particularly moved by Mia’s relationship with her family and boyfriend.  I recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good cry and an easy read.  Read my review here. […]

    December 28, 2015 at 8:19 am
  • Reply 5 Romance Books for Lovers of Love – Wandering Words

    […] This book is beautiful and heart-breaking.  I found the romance between Mia and Adam utterly convincing, and felt their emotions – the good and the bad – every step of the way.  This was that one book that made my cry on the bus (embarrassing), so I’ll never forget it.  You can read my review here. […]

    February 12, 2016 at 11:36 pm
  • Reply 5 Romance Books for Lovers of Love - Wandering Words

    […] This book is beautiful and heart-breaking.  I found the romance between Mia and Adam utterly convincing, and felt their emotions – the good and the bad – every step of the way.  This was that one book that made my cry on the bus (embarrassing), so I’ll never forget it.  You can read my review here. […]

    June 15, 2016 at 5:48 pm
  • Reply The Character Book Tag - Wandering Words

    […] Mia and Adam from If I Stay.  They had such a good time together; it really moved me!  Review found here. […]

    July 11, 2016 at 9:53 pm
  • Reply Book Review: Where She Went by Gayle Forman - Wandering Words

    […] when I finished If I Stay and heard there was a sequel, I said these words: ‘I had complete closure, and in my opinion there was nothing more to be said.’  I take them back, I take them all […]

    July 24, 2016 at 11:28 pm
  • Reply Keep It Fresh Award - Wandering Words

    […] of my favourite ever book couples are Mia and Adam from If I Stay (review found here).  Their relationship really brought out my soppy side – definitely the sweetest (and […]

    July 26, 2016 at 6:37 pm
  • Reply Top 5 Book Recommendations from 2015 - Wandering Words

    […] If I Stay really surprised me when I read it back in July; it had a great emotional impact on me, and I found myself sobbing on the bus as I read it!  It isn’t so unusual for books to bring a tear to my eye, but something about this one really touched a nerve – I was particularly moved by Mia’s relationship with her family and boyfriend.  I recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good cry and an easy read.  Read my review here. […]

    July 26, 2016 at 6:58 pm
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