Book Review: If I Stay

6990472Author: Gayle Forman

Book Title: If I Stay

Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary

Type: Book 1 of 2

Format: Paperback, 262 Pages

Publishing Date: April 6, 2010


Just listen, Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel.

I open my eyes wide now. I sit up as much as I can. And I listen.

Stay, he says.

Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind? Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it’s the only one that matters. If I Stay is a heartachingly beautiful book about the power of love, the true meaning of family, and the choices we all make.” [summary from Goodreads]

My Thoughts: Here’s the deal, I read this book last year and hated it. Yep, you read that correctly. I HATED IT! It was boring and I just could not make myself care about any aspect of it. In fact, I didn’t even finish it then because I was so exhausted by trying to care. However, when the movie trailers started popping up all over the place recently I began to wonder if perhaps I had unfairly judged it and thought that I should give it another chance. I mean, maybe I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind the first time around and since I love Chloë Grace Moretz, I knew I’d end up seeing the movie anyway, which looks adorable and perfectly tear-jerkerish to me, so I gave it another go.

Well I am glad I did because this time around I actually finished the book and I ended up LOVING IT, but I don’t necessarily think it is solely because I was ready for it this time, although that was a part of it. I think it was also due to the trailer looking so great that really helped me to care about the characters this time. Being able to see Mia’s face on screen made her real and helped me to clearly see what was happening every step of the way and to root for her. Normally I wouldn’t base my opinions on the film adaptation but in this case I must because without it I would’ve left this read in the dust.

The book is a pretty short read but it’s packed with a lot of emotion, kind of like that saying, “big things come in small packages.” Forman’s characters were as common as you and me, only they came with their own set of baggage. I found Mia to be a lot like myself, always thinking she didn’t quite fit in with her own family even though she could never imagine life without them. She was a teenage girl with a soul much older and I couldn’t help loving her more for that and wishing I had known her when I was growing up. Adam, her charming rockstar boyfriend, also pulled at my heart strings like Mia did but it was her family that stole my heart the most. Her parents and little brother, Teddy. They were such a down to earth, free spirited bunch and again, this reminded me of my own parents who are musicians also and always gave me their absolute trust in all decisions I made.

But overall, the story itself isn’t one that any of us really want to relate to because it would just hurt way too much, but we end up relating to it anyway because nothing in life is ever certain. I think it is a valuable story for teens to read because it touches on real life issues that they will go through, if they haven’t already, and lets them know that they aren’t alone. So, if you haven’t read the book crack that baby open and dive in. If you have read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts but please don’t spill the beans about the film yet, I am not able to see it until next weekend. 😀

Rating: 5-flowers

Quotable Moments: “In a way they have never left me. And that’s just it, isn’t it? That’s how we manage to survive loss. Because love, it never dies, it never goes away, it never fades, so long as you hang on to it. Love can make you immortal.”


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