Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Published date: April 2nd, 2009

Publisher: Dutton

Pages: 212 (Kindle Edition)

Summary: (Goodreads)
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.

There’s a point in every reader’s life when they read a book that just does it in for them, that changes everything they thought reading was in their eyes. I mean, maybe not all of you (maybe none of you) have experienced this…yet. When I try to explain it, it goes kinda like this: It’s like being dunked underwater for a long, long time and you finally resurface. Like being caught in a snow storm and finally finding warmth. It’s like dying of hunger or thirst and finally getting sustenance. When I started reading If I Say, I had been denying that my love of books was dwindling. Every book I read was getting worse and worse. I knew there was nothing I could do about it until a book I really enjoyed came along, hopefully, and got me out of this book-rut. If I Stay and its sequel, Where She Went did that for me.
            If I Stay had been on my TBR pile for a year now and I’d never convinced myself to read it until I got it on my Kindle. I had heard so many good things about it, but was a little partial because I’d never read many good contemporary novels before. If I Stay opened up the whole genre for me. And then I think, because I made the decision to read a book that I wasn’t even sure I would actually like totally change me, my life.
            When I think of words to describe this book they’re: heartwarming and heartbreaking. Don’t ask me how a book (or anything, rather) can be two, totally opposite things, because I don’t know the answer to that and never will.
            I’ll admit the story idea has been done many times. A car crash, or accident, and then the girl roaming the hallways of the hospital looking for answers always ensues. The beginning was a little rocky being as the characters seemed super flat and unappealing at first. Then, Mia and her family get into a car accident and everything changes. We get to see glimpses of those characters into the last detail and they become real people, truer than the people around you. Does anyone know how gifted you have to be to be able to pull that off? No! NO. Gayle Foreman is like, the female embodiment of gifted writing. Is that a thing? Well, I just made it one. I will always be indebted to her because her books showed me what it feels like to really live. Through the eyes of her fictional characters, she showed me what it means to be real.
            Mia is one of the most likeable characters I know. Everything she’s put through is just…gosh, it’s god-awful. Someone so young, fictional or not, shouldn’t have to go through the amount of loss and pain she had. Even though she has the total and completely heartbreaking love Adam—her rocker boyfriend—gives her, she doesn’t know if she can answer the question: should I stay or should I go?


  1. I fell in love with this book as well! I took it and Where She Went with me on a 7 week trip through Europe. I pretty much cried in front of everyone on multiple types of transportation. Gah, I just love Gayle's writing to bits! "Just One Day" is amazing too!

  2. That would have been such an amazing experience! Wow! Just One Day has to be my all time favorite book. I've always wanted to visit Paris and Allyson is a lot like me. :)