Wednesday, June 23, 2010

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Published: 2009
Pages: 199
Genre: YA fiction

Mia is a normal seventeen-year-old girl. She has problems dividing her time between family, her boyfriend, and music. But one day, on the way to visit some family friends, a tragic accident happens. From that moment on, Mia's life is changed forever.



For such a small book, If I Stay is an emotional powerhouse beyond its size. At just under 200 pages, I flew through this book in a few days - but that wasn't just because it was a short read. I love the characters, I love the concept, I love the structure. Even though parts of this book are on the brink of being depressing, it doesn't matter. If I Stay is delicate, intricate, and poignant.

Some people might consider this a spoiler, so read the rest of this paragraph with caution. Judging by the summary, I think it's fair to assume that even without reading this book you can deduce that Mia and her family are involved in a terrible car accident. Because of this, the majority of the book is, essentially, Mia having an out-of-body experience in which she reminisces about her old life and memories. At first I was a bit turned off by this; it seemed a tad on the cheesy side. I soon realised, however, that there's no other way to write the book and still have the same effect as this provided. I grew to accept it, and I even loved it.

It's also fair to assume that If I Stay is an extremely emotional book. And it is. I think this is due not only to the nature of the accident, but to the authenticity of the characters. They're certainly not generic, predictable clones like the people in some of the books I've read in the past. Mia, her parents, Adam, Teddy, Willow, Henry, and Kim feel like they could be based on real people - they're that life-like. Each of them have a personal way of displaying their inner feelings, and this makes If I Stay so much more special. After spending only a couple of days with this book, it already feels life I've known about it for years.

And the ending - oh, then ending. I have to admit that I saw it coming, but who wouldn't? If it ended any other way, the book would have been a complete contradiction. So yes, while it wasn't a shocking ending (which, might I add, would be out of place in a book like this), it was a perfect one. Just the right amount of positivity, curiosity and hope to end the book on a good note.

Recommendation: If you're an avid YA reader you won't want to miss If I Stay. But even if you aren't, pick it up for a quick yet inspiring read.

21 comments:

Sara said...

Yay I'm so glad you liked it Emidy! I loved this one too. I totally agree the characters are really lovable and realistic. And did you know there's a sequel coming out from Adam's point of view three years later?! Can't wait :D

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Great review :)

Nely said...

This is one of my favorite books. I actually got to meet Gayle a few months ago and she was the sweetest thing. There's a companion book coming out (next year?) that relates to Adam... if you remember in If I Stay he prays that if Mia survives he'll do anything, including giving her up.... well, it relates to that. Although we begged Gayle for more info. she couldn't say more. Glad to see you enjoyed this one, I know I did.

♥Nely

lisa (the little reader) said...

yay, i'm so glad you loved it! this has been one of my favorite reads this year.

Sasha said...

Glad you loved it! I started reading it but couldn't get into it. I might try again :)

Jenn (Books At Midnight) said...

Ahh, I've heard so many raves about this book but STILL HAVE NOT READ IT! I'll definitely have to remedy that error. Thanks for the great review. :)

Nymeth said...

I have to say I'm not too crazy about the concept either, but it sounds like it was executed well.

Kate Evangelista said...

YA Book Giveaway at: http://kateevangelistarandr.blogspot.com/

Emidy said...

Sara - Ohh, really? Thanks for telling me, I'll have to keep an eye out for it!

Juju - Thank you. :D

Nely - You got to meet her? That's great! I'm so excited to read the sequel.

Lisa - That's no surprise; it's such a great book.

Sasha - Yes, give it another try! You'll end up loving it.

Jenn - You've got to read it, I can see you enjoying it.

Nymeth - That's it exactly!

GMR said...

Great review! I've seen this one around a bit and have wondered whether or not to pick it up for a read. I've heard both good and not so good things....adding your review to my memory bank of GOOD things...which I believe might be out-weighing the other side. Might need to add this to my Wish List. Thanks for sharing...and happy reading!

Shy said...

This is indeed a book I always wanted to read. I've heard of how great this book is and the fact that it talks about some serious issue make it somewhat very worth to read, I think. Thanks for the review. I'll surely gets my hand on this one very soon.

Medeia Sharif said...

This is a recent purchase and I can't wait to read it, hopefully this summer.

Emidy said...

GMR - Thank you! Yes, I'm sure it has been getting some mixed reviews. It's worth a read, though!

Shy - Exactly! It does deal with some serious topics. You should read it!

Medeia - That's great to hear. Hopefully you'll get around to reading it!

Jan von Harz said...

What a terrific review. This book sound amazing, I will definitely have to check it out. Thanks!

Beverly said...

Now I really want to read this one!

Emidy said...

Jan - Thank you so much! Yes, you'll have to read it sometime.

Beverly - Great! You should.

Aths said...

I've been curious about this one for a while, but never felt compelled earlier to add it to my TBR. Wonderful review!

Justine said...

Ooh, I've yet to read this (and I've got to soon!). Isn't this the one that's going to be turned into a movie with Dakota Fanning as the MC? I forget. But this one sounds like an emotional read...perfect for when I want to cry.. :)

Michelle Berg said...

Great Review! I don't usually read YA books but now I'm interested in this one. Nice job!

Linna (21 ♡ pages) said...

Lovely book, and lovely review. If I Stay was extremely affecting- and the ending, it was so amazing. Perfect, I agree. Can't wait for the sort-of sequel!

Emidy said...

Aths - Thanks! I think you should read it. It's short, so you can probably finish it in a day or two.

Justine - Oh cool, it's going to be a movie? That's great!

Michelle - Thanks so much! You should give it a try.

Linna - Thank you! Yep, the "next" book will be great, I'm sure!