Book Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

If I Stay

Title: If I Stay (If I Stay #1)
Author: Gayle Forman
Genre: Realistic Fiction, contemporary, Young Adult
Publisher: Doubleday
Publication Date: April 2009
Pages: 272
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
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.

Gripping, heart-rending and ultimately life-affirming, If I Stay will make you appreciate all that you have, all that you’ve lost – and all that might be.

My Review:

After a car accident leaves Mia in a coma, she starts to think about what life holds for her. Her parents are gone and some of the choices she has to make seem to be just too hard to even think about considering. But as the machines keep her body alive, her spirit walks the halls of the hospital seeing the people she loves and reminiscing about days gone past. With college looming and having decide between the love she has for music and the boy who holds her heart, Mia needs to decide. If she goes she can be with her family… but if she stays? Well that remains a mystery.

This is one of those devastating stories about loss and love. And I adored the way love was portrayed in this novel. Not necessarily the love between main character Mia and her boyfriend Adam but the love between families. Mia’s parents were shown though flashbacks to be supportive and generous in the way they felt about each other and their children. Their passion for music and life was infectious. Despite these characters not being present in the present tense, reading their interactions through Mia’s memories were one of my favourite parts of the book. Like wise the love shown between friends – like Kim and Willow.

I found it hard to engage with Mia – but considering she was disconnected from the world I’m not surprised that I was disconnected from her. Even though her flashbacks I found her to be a little standoffish and lacking the vibrant energy in which she describes her family and friends as having. That said, her narration does deliver a well-rounded and full picture into her life and her music. Her relationship with music and love was beautifully written and I thought it was a very interesting way to look at the world.

This is a beautifully written novel about love and life. It kind of snuck up on me. I didn’t think I was into this story but I started to tear up during one of the scenes (it was the one when Gramps came in to talk to Mia) and I had to reach for the tissues. I’ve heard such great things about Gayle Forman’s books and I’m so glad that I decided to read one. I will definitely be on the look out to read more from this fantastic YA author.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon || Book Depository


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15 thoughts on “Book Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

  1. I read this not too long ago and loved it. Her friends and especially family are indeed very vibrant. I loved her parents in the flashbacks. They’re some of my favorite that I’ve seen in YA genre.
    Nice review.

  2. I think I might make this my first Gayle Foreman read as well. Beautiful review! I’m glad the writing lived up to the storyline. Have you read The Sky is Everywhere? I think you’d enjoy it.

  3. This has got to be one of my favourite contemporary book EVER. Gayle Forman is just one of the most amazing YA authors out there and since you liked this one so much I have to recommend you reading Where She Went (book 2). I love so many things about this book but I really loved how through flashbacks we see how Mia and Adam’s relationship came about. We see they fell in love and it was just protrayed so honestly. I’m super glad you loved this book too 🙂

    Lily @ Lilysbookblog

  4. Pingback: Top Ten Tuesday: New to Me Authors I Read in 2013 | whY.A.not?

  5. Pingback: Book of the Month – If I Stay – Gayle Forman | Jen's Pen Den

  6. Pingback: Book Review – “If I Stay” by Gayle Forman – Our Parallel Connection

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