Saturday, 21 July 2012

BOOK REVIEW: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Title: If I Stay
Author: Gayle Forman
Pages: 210
Published: 9th April 2009
Tagline: 'What would you do if you had to choose?'

 " '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.

Everybody has to make choices. Some might break you. For seventeen-year-old Mia, surrounded by a wonderful family, friends and a gorgeous boyfriend decisions might seem tough, but they're all about a future full of music and love, a future that's brimming with hope.

But life can change in an instant.

A cold February morning ...a snowy road ...and suddenly all of Mia's choices are gone. Except one. As alone as she'll ever be, Mia must make the most difficult choice of all."

 If I Stay is a poignant, moving story about love and loss that will make you think about and appreciate everything you have in life.

Mia, an aspiring musician, is happy - she has a wonderful family, a wonderful boyfriend and a wonderful best friend. Until one fateful icy morning when she loses everything. But the question remains, has she lost everything worth living for?

Mia wakes up after a tragic car accident, only she's no longer in her own body. She can't feel anything but she can see and hear everything, although it seems no-one is able to see or hear her. Is Mia dead? She soon realises this is not the case. It appears that Mia is lingering somewhere between life and death, and she has a decision to make. The titleof the book refers to this weighty decision - will Mia stay? Will she choose to live? Or will she go?

If I Stay brings together a montage of Mia's thoughts and memories, from both the past and present, piecing together, bit by bit, a picture of Mia and her life for us. It was beautifully written, crafted with sophistication and flowed smoothly like music - like a piece of Mia's beautiful cello playing, I could imagine.

Mia was a very real, believable character, I thought. She was just a completely normal, down-to-earth girl, average in every way, apart from her extraordinary passion for, and gift with, music.

You could really see that Mia and her boyfriend, Adam, were truly in love, and their relationship was wholly believable. Their love for each other stemmed from their mutual love of music and their relationship was incredibly sweet, although not without its flaws and problems, but these little details made everything all the more realistic as we all know that life, and love, never does run smoothly.

Life really can change in an instant, as Mia finds out, and as this book proves to you. It is incredible how one moment can have so much power - how many lives it can change, how many lives it can end. It is incredible how one decision can be so hard to make and how either choice will have so many repercussions.

If I Stay was a relatively short read but it was packed with emotion and beautifully written. Although not a book I would be clamoring to read again and again, I think reading this book once makes enough of an impact on you - I certainly was very emotionally affected by it; by the end, my insides had gone fuzzy and tears were pricking at the back of my eyes. A short and sweet book - I would recommend If I Stay for anyone searching for a touching, thought-provoking read.


  1. I REALLY want to read this book! I didn't know much about it before, but now that I do, it's been bumped up to the top of my wishlist! Brilliant review! :D

  2. I read this one a few months back, and I really enjoyed it. I'm hoping to read Where She Went soon. Thanks for the review!

  3. Great review! :) I got the sequel, Where She Went from the library but I forgot all about the first book but your review convinced me to read it :) It sounds so emotional and I love my dark contemporaries ;)

  4. I really enjoyed this book, and the sequel. You're absolutely right about it being emotional :)

    Sarah @ That Teenage Feeling

  5. Fantastic review! I really loved this book too. I like what you said about this story flowing like music. That's a great comparison! Like you, I have never felt the urge to read this book again but it is one that definitely lingers. :)

  6. I LOVE If I Stay and Where She Went and I'm so glad you liked it too! Also, I think it's so cool that you don't do ratings. I sometimes find myself instinctively glancing at a review's ratings and then skimming the rest of the review because I know whether it's positive or negative. This way I really pay attention to every word, and every word was great. Lovely review Catherine! Thanks for the comment love! I can't wait to chat books with you. :)

    1. ALSO - your header!!! SO cute, and I'm so glad to find another cute owl blog.

  7. Amazing review! This looks really good, I haven't heard of this one before. Thanks for sharing! :D

    PS. Thank you sooooooooooooooooooo (x100) much for all the lovely comments you have been leaving on my blog!! They really make my day, I smile everytime! :D xxx

  8. This book --- THIS BOOK <3

    Oh my gosh, there are so many words to describe this novel (and it's sequel), you summarized a lot of them! It's not one I can read repeatedly either, but I think the one time you do read it, it leaves such a lasting impression on you, you'll be hard-pressed to ever forget it.

    New follower, btw! <3

  9. "Although not a book I would be clamoring to read again and again, I think reading this book once makes enough of an impact on you - I certainly was very emotionally affected by it; by the end, my insides had gone fuzzy and tears were pricking at the back of my eyes."
    ^This. I agree with every word.

    Great review! I loved this book, too :) Have you read Where She Went?

    Skyway Avenue Reads

  10. I read the book. At first, I was sooo confused about the story. Then, I got to end. And was even more confused. But. this review helped me understand it. So yeah. Thanks :)


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