12 April 2011

Book Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Release Date: April 9, 2009
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Recommended? Give it a try
Buy the Book: Amazon US 

In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...
A sophisticated, layered, and heartachingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make—and the ultimate choice Mia commands. - Goodreads page
 The story kicks off with our main character, , driving with her parents and younger brother to see her grandparents. All of a sudden they’re in a terrifying car crash when a truck hits their car and knocks them off the road. The next part of the scene describes the crash, and the victims. It’s quite hard to read, very disturbing and rather gross.

Through the rest of the books, Mia is left disconnected from her body. She watches her family and friends visit her in the hospital, and the reader is treated to a series of flashbacks as Mia looks back upon her short life.

The main focus of this book is Mia, and whether or not she should pass on. Her love story with Adam is also intertwined in this novel, and I felt that this came on a bit strong. I do understand that Mia didn’t have much else to live for, however she did have the rest of her extended family and friends. I think there may have been too much focus on this aspect of the novel.

Music also plays a huge part in this novel, as Mia is an outstanding cellist. Music is Mia’s universe.

Overall, this is an okay read, but I just didn’t find it as compelling as I thought I would. The story just wasn’t deep enough for me, mainly due to the fact that all Mia thought about was Adam. There wasn’t enough emotion there, and I honestly expected it to be a lot more intense.

The ending is a cliff hanger, which would have worked well as a stand-alone book and yet, it set things up nicely for the sequel. 


  1. I see what you mean. For me, some parts of the book were too intense (i.e., gory), but not really from an emotional standpoint. If I could have connected with any of the characters on an emotional level, I might've liked this book more.

  2. Thank goodness I'm not the only one who felt that the story & Mia's character were both a little lacking. I completely agree about her & Adam's relationship since at times I felt like all there was to Mia was her love for him & her music. I probably won't read Where She Went because I just thought If I Stay was okay. I'm interested to hear your thoughts on it though, if you decide to read & review it!

  3. Interesting review. In some ways I felt similar to that. I heard a lot of hype about If I Stay being a must, must read and I think that built it up a little too much for me. I did like it, but I think my expectations were too high. I just won a copy of Where She Went so I'm excited to see how that turns out.

  4. This is absolutely a beautifully written book and an unforgettable story with unforgettable characters. I read it too fast, I wanted to know what happens so I need to go back and read it again, slowly and just enjoy the characters, their life, and their family.
    I know it is labeled young adult, but I think everyone would enjoy reading it, if that is a word I can use. I shed quite a few tears along the way. Just a beautiful book.


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