The Tears Won’t Stop Coming ~ Let’s Discuss If I Stay by Gayle Forman

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. 


Book Info:

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Format & Pages: Paperback, 226

Published: April 6th 2010 by Speak

Source: Providence Public Libraries

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars!

Will I Buy It? Yes.

Add to Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Thriftbooks

OK. So we’ve got, what, three big YA tearjerker authors right now? John Green, Colleen Hoover, and Gayle Forman (I apologize if there are more, let me know in the comments)? Well, I finally read a Gayle Forman book. She has a lot out there. And might I just say that I was extremely impressed, and at the same time a bit… sceptical.

If you are looking for a sweet, tearjerking (and I mean this in the STRONGEST sense) novel, than I would highly suggest this one. I enjoyed it a lot, it was innovative and immersing. All the feels, guys, all the feels. Actually, I’d recommend it to just about everyone! What I am about to say might seem to downplay the awesomeness of this book, but I promise you: if you came up to me and asked me if you should read If I Stay, I would start raving about it, and just go bananas. And I’ll probably reread it after every single breakup of my life. 😛

It’s going to be pretty difficult to write a review about a book dealing with a choice between life or death, without giving away any spoilers. But I’ll try! No summaries except the approved Goodreads one, people. I had some thoughts about the general ideals and philosophies being expressed, so those might a good place to start.

 I was really disappointed by the fact that religion played such an unimportant, even nonexistent part of this story. I know and accept that there are atheists in the world, and all sorts of different feelings about religion, but in Mia’s case I just wonder, shouldn’t there have been a little more questioning going on about her life and the big picture? Why doesn’t she wonder about God? The readers are not told specifically that she is atheist, so why couldn’t Gayle Forman have had her explore her mind a little? That would’ve been so interesting, and I feel like Gayle would be even more renowned for introducing some deeper thinking into YA literature! That might be a lot of pressure for her, and I’m not saying this has to happen, but thinking back on my overall experience of Mia and her journey, it seemed unrealistic and even obvious that she didn’t think about any sort of religion at all. Did she believe in the afterworld? Obviously, because she believed she was going somewhere if she chose death!

 Which brings me to my next point. I’m not really going to talk much about the whole ‘it’s really my choice to stay or not, the doctors don’t really help’ thing. I have a few issues with it, but on the whole it was an unusual ideal for Gayle to bring into play, and I applaud for that. But again, why couldn’t we see more of that decision-making that Mia had right then? She just understood that. It was a let-down. If Mia had maybe considered why it was her choice, and how she knew that so well, it would’ve engaged my attention more. Left there, unexplained and lonely, it was an inconsequential part of the story that could have been really explored and made interesting.

Now, before you guys just start hatin’ on me, let me just say that this book really did get me thinking. It was intense as hell, and I got into the story so MUCH. I cried buckets and buckets with the whole thing about Adam, her boyfriend. It was a sweet but crazy ride, and I don’t regret reading it in the slightest (except for the fact that I finished it at midnight and was therefore scared out of my mind for the rest of the night).

And I know that YA books are most of the time nowhere near the edginess and thoughtfulness of this one. The YA genre has a long way to go before it reaches my normal expectations. And I’m sure that’s true for many of us bookworms out there. YA is still the main genre that I read, and I love it with all my heart! I’m not some snooty classics-only reader (and there’s nothing wrong with reading only classics, as long as you don’t brag).

So, yeah. I had a few issues with the opinions expressed, but I adore this story and I want you to read it. And you probably won’t find so much fault with it. I dind’t either, really. It was just when I looked back that I saw a few oddities.



Gayle Forman is an award-winning author and journalist whose articles have appeared in such publications as Jane, Seventeen, Glamour, Elle, and The New York Times Magazine, to name just a few. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter. Visit her online.


5 thoughts on “The Tears Won’t Stop Coming ~ Let’s Discuss If I Stay by Gayle Forman

  1. I noticed my friend reading this book. I got really curious but she wouldn’t tell me what it was about. Couldn’t get a copy because I’m busy reading Myth of Sisyphus and Either/Or a fragment of life. :p

    I guess that makes me a snooty classics reader? haha, I wish. It’s one thing to read a classic and quite another to firmly grasp it :v

    Being an apatheist myself (someone who chooses not to think about the question of whether or not God exists and simply lives their life on their own terms) I believe Mia might have had a similar approach to religion.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Umm she could have just as easily believed in the Buddhist karma cycle, nirvana, TAO infinite soul, and whatever have you. If she thought she was a bad person then hell awaited her… if she thought she was a good person.. she would have a more positive outlook and might believe that she’d go to heaven… even if one were to believe in God, the question of whether or not we will go to heaven and hell arises. And sometimes since a person is both good and bad…
        hence the saying, “A saint has a past and a sinner has a future.”
        is is hard to predict what death holds for us.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes I know, but the thing is the book didn’t even touch upon those subjects, and I feel like that wasn’t realistic. All Mia thought about was her boyfriend, who admittedly was a big part of her life, but she should have thought about some kind of religion, even if it’s not Catholic. I am Catholic myself, and I’m not trying to say that she NEEDED to be Catholic to think about this stuff. She could be any religion she wants, I don’t care! It’s just that Gayle Forman left religion out of the way, and I think that was wrong because it would’ve opened up a more deeper level to Mia, and made the entire book a bit more interesting

        Liked by 1 person

      • For all I know Mia could have believed in Jediism :p there is actually a church for Jedis! it’s called TOTJO… they discuss philosophy there…

        Christianity has 43,000 denominations… interestingly her belief would have varied according to the church she attended and the Sunday sermons of the preacher…

        I think Gayle Forman deliberately did not shed light on Mia’s religious disposition so as to make the experience more or less uniform for people of various faiths.

        Liked by 1 person

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