Title: If I Stay
Author: Gayle Forman
Published: April 2009 by Dutton Juvenile
My Rating: 2.5 stars
Tags: YA | Fiction | Realistic | Self-Discovery
Includes: Profanity, Sensuality, Death
First Lines: Everyone thinks it was because of the snow. And in a way, I suppose that's true.
Mia has a wonderful life: extraordinary and loving family, a genuine boyfriend who loves her, an extreme talent at playing the cello, and a loyal best friend. But during a snowy morning, all that changes. She and her family experience a tragic car crash, and Mia is the only one left alive - just barely. Machines at the hospital are keeping her alive, but it will be her decision whether to keep or let go of life. In the course of exactly one day, Mia relives past memories with her loved ones, while hearing what they have to say to her while she's in a coma. It's a decision she'll have to make on her own.
Hmm...interesting book. It was told mostly in flashbacks, to show the significance of the friends and family that visited Mia in the hospital. The writing was alright - had difficulty sometimes visualizing what was going on. I liked the overall storyline, it was cool reading about Mia being stuck between life and death, but it wasn't screaming creativity. There were a couple funny statements in the book, but it felt out of place since the setting of the book was really depressing.
From page 35
They are yanking at my body. It's rough and messy work, nothing like that game Operation we used to play as kids where you had to be careful to not touch the sides as you removed a bone, or the buzzer would go off.
The basic theme of the story was well portrayed and it was interesting seeing how Mia changed through the course of one day. Her boyfriend goes to extreme measures in order to see her, which I thought was unrealistically sweet. However, even though the story is told in first person, the characters seemed sort of detached. I didn't fall in love with any particular character, or despise another; they seemed to mix in with one another, no one really leaving a mark on me.
I think there was a lot of missing substance in the book, it needed more "meat". Mia's whole family is DEAD...she's a freakin orphan - yet she barely even lets that faze her. She's too concerned with other thoughts involving her boyfriend or bestfriend, etc. I think the story would have been more realistic and heart-wrenching if the author had actually spent time showing Mia's heartache or breakdown of her terrible loss. There was almost no emotion.
One thing I did love about the book though, was how the author incorporated music in it. Mia's punk-rock and quirky parents were what I enjoyed reading about, and I recognized some of the classical pieces that Mia plays on her cello. Overall, it was a quick and semi-enjoyable read. It wasn't dreadful, but definitely not a favorite either.
Cover Thoughts: I really like the simplicity of this cover, and the light blue color with the red contrast of the flower. I personally think that it has hidden meaning behind it - like the blood that was shed in the book. Also, the texture felt right in my hands as I read.