Book: If I Stay, #1 of 2
Series: If I Stay
Author: Gayle Forman
Publisher and Publication Date: Dutton Books for Young Readers, 04/02/09
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fiction
My Review in a Nutshell:
I was coming off a The Fault in Our Stars book high whenever I picked up If I Stay. They were on the same display at Barnes and Nobles, claiming that “if you loved The Fault in Our Stars”, then you would devour If I Stay. Not exactly. With comparisons aside, this book failed to bring out any intense emotions in me. And I cry during Coca Cola commercials. Although it may not have been a home run, it was at least a stand up double.
What’s It All About?
Seventeen-year-old Mia woke up contemplating a huge decision, go to Julliard and pursue her career as a cellist, or stay close to home and be with her boyfriend, Adam. By the end of the day, she was faced with an even larger decision. Mia has been in a car crash with her family, her parents are killed immediately. Her little brother, Teddy, is barely alive, and Mia is in a coma. She finds herself staring at her own body, following it to the hospital, where she watches the events unfold in front of her. After all that has been lost, she reflects on her life and faces the hardest decision she will ever make, to live or die, the choice is hers.
I loathe and love books that alternate between the past and present. Mia swings back and forth between her out of body experience in the hospital to past times with her family. I enjoy the anticipation that builds when using this writing method, but I preferred reading about Mia at the hospital. It’s hard for me to cry over people that are already dead, so hearing stories about them didn’t exactly make me more inclined to feel any sort of way, more like “get on with it”. Also, I’ve read complaints about Mia’s parents being “too hip” or “too cool”. Um. Whatever. They were a musically accumulated family with a lot of edge, which screamed through the pages and will delight music lovers. I don’t care if some claimed it was cliché, it brought a modern spark.
There were two reasons I continued to read If I Stay. Reason one being Teddy: I was more concerned with Teddy’s well-being than I was with Mia’s choice to live. Weird, right? I had to resist the urge to Google if he survives- the intrigue was real. Reason Two being Adam: Sweet, sweet, Adam. Reading about that poor kid dealing with the loss of Mia’s family, and the possibility of Mia’s death, actually pulled on my heartstrings. Forman managed to lace teen-romance with in the story without overshadowing the main plot. Very tricky, but done beautifully.
So, If I Stay may not have been all that I had hoped for, but it sends a well-written message about life, friendship and love. If I walk away from a book feeling like I learned something about life, or anything for that matter, then it wasn’t a total loss.
My Favorite Quotes:
“I realize now that dying is easy. Living is hard.”
“Don’t be scared…Women can handle the worst kind of pain. You’ll find out one day.”