Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"If I Stay" by Gayle Forman

Release Date: April 2, 2009
Publisher: Dutton
Pages: 199

From Goodreads: "In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck... 

A sophisticated, layered, and heart-achingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make, and the ultimate choice Mia commands."

I think that this book possesses one of the most well done flashback sequences I have ever read before- they were seamlessly interwoven with the present day story. The flashbacks actually brought something to the story rather than just being there for the sake of being there- They allowed us to have a deeper understanding of Mia and Adam's relationship (their feelings for one another, all of the various situations that they have undergone, etc.).

Furthermore, I really enjoyed that the plot didn't go in the typical Plot Point A> Plot Point B> Plot Point C> Plot Point D fashion, rather the plot was a bit more unexpected, going in a rather unconventional route, with Plot Point A> Plot Point C> Plot Point D> Plot Point B- I like when authors shake it up like Gayle did with this book.

That being said, while I did enjoy some aspects of the book, I didn't enjoy it overall quite as much as I had hoped to. After hearing so many good things about it for years I had fairly high expectations and unfortunately it didn't quite live up to said expectations. One reason that I believe so is that I didn't find Mia's voice to be as developed as I had hoped it would be, at times it felt flat to me and I had a difficult time connecting to her as a person.

Furthermore, there were some scenes that I found to be too overly cheesy/ clique- for instance when Mia and Adam were "playing" one another's bodies as instruments (this scene *almost* rivaled the cheesiness of the "Twilight" films IMO- had this been a film I would have had a blanket over my head during this scene to have shielded me from the awkwardness). Additionally, I didn't find the story line to be all that original, I have read countless other books where one character has an out-of-body experience (or is a ghost) and follows their loved ones during a difficult time and when they awake they have a totally different outlook on life, become a better person, or something along those lines.

All in all, despite my complaints literally 5 minutes after finishing this book I ran out to my local bookstore and picked up the second book in the series, "Where She Went" (I NEEDED to know what happened between Adam and Mia after she woke up). This is a quick read, once you start reading it you will have a difficult time putting it down (I know that I couldn't, I had this book devoured within a couple of hours of starting it). Furthermore, this book is the epitome of an emotional roller coaster- I am not ashamed to say that I teared up numerous times while reading this book. I highly recommend it to fans of YA contemporaries, especially books written by the likes of Laurlene McDaniel and Stephanie Perkins!

Rating: 4/5


  1. I really liked this book as well. It was so wonderfully written. And I am not ashamed to admit that I cried several times while reading. =)

  2. I really liked this book, although I did find some of the scenes SO cheesy. But the story was so emotional I found myself tearing up over and over again. I liked Where She Went more than this one though. Even though Mia was still a little distant in that one, at least Adam was a little better as a narrarator. Great review!

    Jesse @ Pretty In Fiction

  3. I just loveddddd this one, I find Gayle Forman's writing to be perfection. Although I think I liked Where She Went even more. Emotional rollercoaster, both those books, for sure!

  4. This was an awesome book. Great review. Hope you like Where She Went too..

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

  5. Oh, man, the "playing" of the bodies as instruments was SO cheesy. It was the only part of the book that didn't feel real to me. The rest was pretty great. Like you, I didn't love it quite as much as other bloggers did - I loved it, but I wasn't squeeing. And then I read Where She Went, and that pretty much convinced me. You will DIE over that one. =)


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