Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

If I StayIf I Stay
by Gayle Forman
If I Stay #1
Publication date: 02 April 2009
Dutton Juvenile, Hardcover, 201 pages
Source: Library

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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.

Rating: ★★★★½

Beautiful, would be the most accurate word that would summarize If I Stay. Usually, I’m the sort of reader that obsesses over a book’s pacing and action but every once in a while, I come across one that will make me pause and simply experience the story. If I Stay was one of those books and every time I opened it, I was seeing the world through Mia’s point of view.

The gist of the story is basically Mia, the protagonist, falling into a coma after an accident and being faced with the choice of whether to stay – and live – or pass on. Sure, it doesn’t sound like much but the beauty of this novel lies not within the ‘main story’, but in the writing and the parts of Mia’s life shown.

I took half a star off because I could not fully connect with Mia. However, I still found the way she saw the world utterly stunning and it’s amazing how Forman can make characters who were so different seem equally beautiful, in Mia’s eyes. Despite loving If I Stay, I now find myself at a loss of what more to say about it because all I want to do is hug it and roll and the floor. Maybe cry a little too.

But I will try to elaborate a little more instead of simply yelling at everyone to “READ THIS BOOK, NOW.”

The characters – they were magnificent. Every single one of them were gorgeous and such real human beings. Even though this is a really short novel, the people in it are still bursting with life no matter how fleeting some of their appearances are. The build up to the conclusion was also poignant and incredible. I felt that with the introduction of each person and/or event in Mia’s life, I was being handed jig-saw puzzles piece by piece and slowly forming the simple yet vibrant image that was her life.

Unsurprisingly, I cried at quite a few scenes and some was not even because they were sad, it was because they were – yes, here comes that word again – beautiful. Touching, endearing and memorable, If I Stay is undoubtedly a spectacular novel of epic proportions. After having read it, I’m definitely looking forward to reading its sequel, Where She Went, even though its synopsis broke me as soon as I saw it. I also can’t wait for the movie adaptation coming August 2014, starring Chloë Moretz as Mia. Here’s to more tears and an un-botched bookish film!


6 thoughts on “Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

  1. I’m so so glad you loved this <3 I think it was one of the first YA contemp books I read. And I'm excited for the movie too! Crossing my fingers that it turns out to be as amazing as the book (or close to it, anyway).
    Great review, Adel!



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