Friday, 20 September 2013

Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...

A sophisticated, layered, and heart-achingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make, and the ultimate choice Mia commands.

Title: If I Stay
Author: Gayle Forman
Series: If I Stay #1
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Publication Date: April 2nd 2009

Rating: 3.5 or 4 of 5 stars. I honestly don't know.


Sometimes you make choices in life and sometimes choices make you.

My expectations for this book were sky-high after seeing all the raving reviews and everybody promising me that "this book will make you cry". And I thought, maybe they are right. Maybe this book will finally make me cry (I don't cry over books easily. In fact, I have never cried over a book. Yep, I know.). And don't get me wrong, this is a good book. It probably will make people cry. But for me, it missed that spark, that 'wow!'-moment.

There can be no doubt about Forman's skill. Her prose is magnificent and the way the story is told and unfolds before your eyes is the work of an author who knows what she's doing. The story begins with the day of the accident, and after the accident is told in flashbacks and the present, in which Mia is lying in the hospital, on the verge of dying. She examinates and dissects her relationships with the people around her, the people who are still alive and those that have died. The story works to that ending, making Mia doubt at times, at others be certain what she wants, until she finally chooses in an intricate and moving moment.

The relationships that Mia looks back at were well fleshed out, with believable characters. I liked them most of the time, but there were moments that definitely had me raising an eyebrow. I mean, Mia and Adam playing each other like they were instruments? Uhmmm... Riight. I thought that was a bit weird and unbelievable, but otherwise their relationship was built up well. I love how Forman showed that yes, relationships can be awkward, even if you like each other. I also loved the way music was weaved into the story. Mia's whole life revolves around music, and I could almost hear her play while reading the book.

The thing that actually irked me the most was the ending. Spoilers here, so I'll make the text white. Simply select it with your cursor to see it!

The ending was powerful and moving, there can be no doubt about that. Adam's speech was wonderful and full of craving and love. But I actually wanted Mia to leave. Not because I didn't like Adam, because I did like him. I just have the feeling that this book would be so much more realistic and rueful if she'd left. Because, to be honest, if my whole family died? I would want to go with them. I don't think I can live without them. And maybe it's a sign of Mia's strenght that she could, but I think that I might have shed that lone tear if she'd have left.

 In all, this isn't a bad book. It is, in fact, written in a wonderful and powerful way, but it just didn't give me the FEELS I expected to have. So, this is a bit of a disappointment, but still definitely a book I'd recommend.


  1. I agree, Celine. The ending would've been better if she did but I loved Adam's mini speech there! Also, playing them like they were instruments creeped me out as well.

    Fab review! <33

    1. Yes, Adam's mini speech was so incredibly heartfelt <3 And yeah, do people ACTUALLY do that? It was a bit weird.

      Thank you <3

  2. You hit the nail on the head with your review, I think this one was overhyped. I was somehow expecting MORE when I read it, but oh wells.

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

    1. Thank you!! I agree with you. All the hype and rave reviews gave me high expectations... This is a book you have to go into without knowing anything about it...

  3. Books with music laced through them are generally a hit with me - Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, The Sky Is Everywhere etc - so I'm hopeful about this one. :-) Cute review, thanks honey. :-)

    1. Then I think you'll definitely enjoy this one! Music is very much a part of Mia's life.

      Thank you!

  4. I've been wanting to read this one for a while, and I just bought it the other day at Target! I'm so excited to get started! I like how you made the spoilers hidden :)

    If you want a nice, long book cry, try out The Book Thief or The Fault In Our Stars.

    I nominated you for the Liebster Award! Check out this link for more info:

    1. I live to serve! I hate being spoiled myself (happened to me multiple times), so I try to make sure unsuspecting people don't get spoiled.

      Thanks for the recs! Unfortunately, the ending of TFIOS was spoiled to me (this is why I make my spoilers invisible, haha), but I might try it.

      Whoa, thanks for the nomination! I'll take a look at it later this week :)


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