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.
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.
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.
READ THE BOOK, PEOPLE.
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.