If I Stay by Gayle Forman


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.

Book Supplied by: Secret Santa present.

22 comments:



Robby said...

I loved this book! I understand why you feel the way you do about things, though. I guess it's not for everyone.

jessjordan said...

I loved this one. I think it was because I fell in love with Mia's family, so this one really devastated me. I get what you're saying about Mia not really feeling emotion, but I think that was one of the benefits of this in-between existence she had: she could stay in limbo, move on, whatever, and she wouldn't have to feel all of that pain. But if she choose to live, then she'd have to live through the heartache.

I really like the hardback cover, but the paperback doesn't do it for me. Especially since they felt the need to throw something about Twilight on the front. Come on, people ...

Kelsey said...

Sorry you didn't enjoy this more, I've been dying to read it! Thanks for your honesty, but I still think I may pick it up to see for myself :)

Sara said...

I'm a fan of this one... but I'm skeptical about the sequel. I'll definitely be reading it - I'd even go so far as to say I'm excited about it - but I'm worried. IF I STAY did so well that this one could flop. Plus, its called WHERE SHE WENT (or something like that) and it doesn't really sound right to me... :/

elizabeth said...

Thanks for the review. Too bad you didn't enjoy it more. I have been wanting to read it, so I hope I do in the future.

Patty said...

I'm reading this one right now! Thanks for the review!

jessjordan said...

Sara: a sequel?? This news is very concerning. But, of course, now I have to go research more about it. (I have a sickness.)

Dahlia (TheBookShopaholic) said...

Thanks for the honest review. I was suppose to buy this, this past weekend, but wal-mart didn't have it. So, I guess destiny doesn't want me to read If I Stay!?!?

Anna ♥ said...

Awww, I've heard such great things about this book. I think I even read a review where the reviewer stated she cried after reading this book. It was super emotional for her. That's sad this book didn't work for you. Thanks for the honest review, I'm looking forward to reading it and finding out for myself where I stand. :D

silverush said...

I was actually thinking about this book earlier today, and thinking about how much I liked it/why I didn't like it much, and what you said completely summed up what I was thinking. I liked it slightly more than you seemed to, but thank you for showing me that I'm not the only one who didn't completely adore this. =)

Badass Bookie said...

I was thinking about getting this book but I not really sure now, for it's not exactley in my genres but also I have been hearing mixed reviews about this one. However, honest review, I take your word for it ;P

Jennifer said...

I thought this book was amazing and gave it 5 stars. I was lucy enough to get to meet Gayle FOrman and she is amazing. I really looking forward to the sequel titled "Where She Went"

Anonymous said...

i do want to point out that in the book, mia actually does say that she hasnt felt anything since that morning when she was in the car listening to the cello piece, and she says she wants to scream but she cant and she wanta to cry but she cant. so i understand why she doesnt show alot of emotion for what is happening to her. but i do wish that gayle forman would write a book in between if i stay and where she went, that takes place right after she wakes up and gets home and everything. i think it would be a really cool read to see mia's reactions and how she deals with her life after something like that...but at the same time, it would be really hard to write something like that when you couldn't possibly imagine losing your entire family and being the only one to survive. but maybe where she went will incorporate that with flashbacks like if i stay did. i loved this book, i thought it was written beautifully. (also it is going to be made in to a movie with catherine hardwicke directing and i cant wait!)

Anonymous said...

I really like this! I read the whole thing in only a couple of hours.
I'm doing a report on it now, on why it should be awarded the black-eyed susan award. Anyone have ideas?

KM said...

I really wanted to read this one, but now I'm not sure. If I can't fall in love with the characters, I won't like it. Sounds like a check-out-of-the-library book to me! :)

Shy said...

Another book that I haven't read but am willing to give it a shot because I love books with heavy, emotional theme. I heard that this book is very good though but perhaps, it isn't work for just about everyone. Really looking forward for the time I get the chance to read it!

Thanks for your honest review =)

forgottenxautumn said...

This book is in my huge pill of "to be read" books. I've been debating on reading it for quiet sometime now but just haven't gotten around to starting it just yet. Thanks so much for your review on it :)

Tina said...

I like how your review was so honest! A lot of people really loved this book. A lot. So when I picked it up, I was expecting something AMAZING. I ended up enjoying it (mostly. Like you said, it is a pretty depressing read) but there was a let down after all the hype. I think I'll reread it again at some point, but it's not necessarily a book that I'll feel the need to own.

angelatarantula said...

great opinion of this book. But i must have to say in my opinion, I absolutely loved If I Stay. I thought it was heartwearming and touching, and the ending was so powerful! thanks for giving your insights on it, its always great to know what other readers have to say!

Christinabean said...

I really enjoyed this book but I appreciate your honest review. I didn't realize that there was a sequel? I agree with angelatarantula in that it is always great to hear others' opinions, even if they are not the same as your own.

Pink said...

I've read this book and it was so heartbreakingly beautiful. As you have mentioned in your review, it seems that Mia was hardly fazed by the death of her family, but I think that's probably she's too stunned or shocked. Anyway, through the flashbacks, I can feel Mia's pain and love. It's amazing. I love the book! :)

hiba008 said...

I was planning to read it....but now I guess I'll bail out.

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