Friday, September 26, 2014

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Mia is a talented musician with a rockstar boyfriend and a family to envy.  Then one day her world is turned upside down.  Life gives us no guarantees, and Mia finds this out the hard way when she wakes up outside of her body in a state of inbetween.  Her body is not quite dead, but Mia doesn't know if she wants to go or stay.  The thought of staying after all that was lost seems impossible, but she wants to give this choice thought.  This is her story of a choice she didn't ask for, but one she still has to make.

I finally read If I Stay guys!!!  I had been wanting to read a Gayle Forman book for at least 2 years now, but it never seemed like I could get around to it.  When the movie came out I KNEW I had to open this book up.  I actually bought it 3 years ago and started reading it then.... but I had NO idea that all that sadness was going to happen right at the beginning.  I didn't really know what this book was about at the time, so I was completely surprised.... and I didn't like it.  Fast forward to today and I was well prepared for sad.  Except this one didn't make me sad like I thought it would.  Maybe it's a case of knowing too much about it, or maybe I have a cold heart, but I just wasn't FEELING the emotion like I expected to.

Mia is this girl who is going through her life's memories and is trying to decide if life is still worth living.  She goes through all of her memorable moments and realizes along the way that the people who made her happiest, may no longer be there if she decides to continue.  I really liked the picture of the family that was painted by this author.  It was nice to finally read a book that focused on a tight-knit, non-cookie-cutter family.  Mia's family did not have traditional values and do traditional things, but they had something better.  They had a closeness that made me feel all warm and happy inside.  I can see why she wouldn't want to be without them.  No one should ever have to live in a world without a mother.  A cold, cruel world it would be without that one person who is always in your corner no matter what.  I don't even want to imagine it.  So yeah, I can see why Mia was feeling the way she was.  I also liked that the romantic relationship DIDN'T take center stage.  Mia seemed to be wise for her age and realize that most high school relationships aren't going to last forever.  I liked that the sun didn't rise and set with Adam.  She had her own ambitions and that was nice to see.

I think the thing about Mia that I didn't get was that she didn't read teenager to me.  She seemed way too self-aware and too mature.  To me she thought about the present and the future as an adult would.  Just for example, her relationship with Adam.  While it was nice to see a teen relationship that wasn't obsessive.... I feel like she was too analytic about her feelings towards Adam.  Like she knew she loved him, but also knew it was absurd for her to think that love could be forever for someone her age.  I feel like most teens think their first love is forever and that they can't imagine it not being.  And besides from the one love scene I didn't really FEEL the passion or connection between them.

I really enjoyed reading my first (and not last) Gayle Forman book.  I didn't love it as much as I wanted to because I just didn't FEEL the things I wanted to feel.  But that's okay.  I still loved the beautiful way Ms. Forman writes and the strong family focus this book had.

OVERALL: A must-read for contemporary lovers.  I loved the writing and the family aspects of this book, but I wasn't blown away with emotion like I thought I would be.  It's not going in my favorites pile, but I really enjoyed it and would read more of this author.

This Book Contains:
  • Death
  • Love
  • A Yo-Yo Ma concert
  • An awesome love scene
  • A M/C who plays the cello
  • Band life
  • Family
  • Hospitals
  • Music
Add it to your To-Read List!!

My Rating: 3.5/4

How I got this book: I own it
Date Published: 4/2/2009


  1. I liked this book too and yes I felt like Mia was too old for her age
    You should read the second book too. It's much more mature
    GREAT review
    Your reader,

  2. I LOVE this book. I also think I read it at the right time, though. 2010 when it came in paperback. Twilight was the big YA book so this was a relief. I do think sometimes Mia felt old… but boy I loved her story anyway :) You should definitely pick up book 2 - it's Adam's POV and way way better.

  3. i felt so much reading this book.. cried buckets. I guess Mia did feel a bit mature? but i know some young people who are so this is normal. If I stay is one of my favorite books. a 3.5/4 is pretty awesome :D yeay!

    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf