Title: If I Stay [If I Stay 1]
Author: Gayle Forman
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: 4 Star
Series Review: 1, 2
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.
Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?
Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it’s the only one that matters.
If I Stay is a heartachingly beautiful book about the power of love, the true meaning of family, and the choices we all make.
Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
I loved this book. I picked it up because the trailer for the movie looks amazing and when the book is so short I don’t really have an excuse not to read it before I see the movie now do I? I was a little bit worried about reading it because things get hyped and I don’t always like them but I was very pleasantly surprised.
There will be spoilers in this post so you may want to skip over it if you have not already read the book.
The idea of the story is very simple, should she wake up from her coma or should she move on and be with her family? The simplicity of it though is what makes it good. How does one make a decision like that? Are your dreams or friends or even boyfriend a good enough reason to wake up seriously injured and have to face the rest of your life without the people you loved the most in it? When you were the only one to live? I think some of you would just be like yes! Of course! But just think about how tired Mia must have been, it goes into her injuries in quite alot of detail. I don’t know what I would choose.
Because Mia is in a coma for pretty much the whole duration of the book, there is alot of back and forth between memories and the things going on around her in the hospital. I think this method worked well in the book because you slowly got depth to all the layers of things in her life including family, friends, boyfriend and of course the cello. I am a bit worried about how they are going to do this in the movie though because in the book they will just break off from the present to the past and that kind of thing works in a book but visually it might be not so great.
I felt connected to most the characters but I really, really loved the way her parents are portrayed and the general family dynamic. Her parents sound like the best people in the world. The one thing I highlighted in the book was when Mia’s brother Teddy was being born:
“Music! Goddammit! Music!” Mom screamed.
“We have some lovely Enya. Very soothing,” the midwife said.
“Fuck Enya!” Mom screamed. “Melvins. Earth. Now!”
I did like Mia quite alot and her relationships with everyone was cute. All of Adam’s attempts to see her and communicate with her throughout the book were just adorable and I loved him. The for alot of the book though I was screaming at her about one thing. Her brother Teddy. In the beginning she was like I must find him! But then she finds her own body and gets distracted and I can understand that. It must be shocking. But then she does very little thinking about him in present tense after that. The whole time I had a pretty good feeling that Teddy had died, but still. There was such urgency then nothing… I just wanted to know for sure! Only complaint about the book really. The ending was very abrupt but I didn’t mind that.
This is a book about the small things that mean the world but you might not notice them until something huge like this happens. I would recommend this book to anyone planning on seeing the movie, and who likes a mellow book about life. I will be picking up the next book and I don’t doubt that I will read this one again.
Till Next Time…