Book Review: If I Stay

If I Stay

Gayle Forman


272 pages

Mia is your typical teenage girl.  She lives with her mom and dad and younger brother.  She is occupied with school, her boyfriend and her cello, which is her true passion.  And then, it all changes (I swear this is how I start off my review for any YA novel!).

Mia and her family wake up one morning to a snow day.  School is cancelled and they have the whole day ahead of them.  They all decide to pile into the car and go visit friends and family.  Next thing Mia knows, she is waking up on the side of the road.  She finds her parents, gruesomely twisted amidst the wreckage of an accident.  The strange thing is, Mia is not physically a part of herself.  It is as if her soul and her body have split and she lingers in the hospital as her physical self lingers in a coma.  Herein lies the most interesting part of the book . . .

Mia has the choice whether she will live or die.  She realizes this almost straight away but she doesn’t make her decision right off.  Instead, she watches as the love of her family and friends pours out.  Even her family is conflicted–some people urge her to hang on, while others gently tell her that she is free to go.

I loved this book.  I read it for the read-a-thon and it was the perfect choice.  I could not have put it down if I wanted to.  The whole idea of will she stay, will she go? really intrigued me and I found myself taking sides.  I actually was convinced Mia should choose death because I could not imagine how she could get on with her life after the horrific accident that took her family.

I had a few small issues with this book, despite my gushing review.  I really disliked Mia’s parents.  They didn’t seem “real” to me and I thought they seemed like posers.  Like maybe they were trying too hard to be “cool” parents.  They didn’t seem like real parents to me.

Also, Mia was very into playing the cello and classical music in general.  I found that to be really boring and the sections that examined her cello playing and her love for it I found really boring.

This is an example of YA fiction at its very best.  If you haven’t picked it up yet, you definitely should consider it!

Other Reviews:

Presenting Lenore

Maw Books Blog

Bart’s Bookshelf

Books and Movies

S Krishna’s Books

I borrowed this book from my local library.

16 Responses

  1. This is one of those books I feel like I should try a second time. I tried reading it once and utterly failed only 10 or 15 pages in.

  2. You’ve convinced me to add this book to my to-read list!

  3. I loved this book too. It kept me guessing what Mia’s choice would be until the very last page.

  4. I’ve been meaning to read this for ages – thank you for reminding me of it. It sounds moving and very difficult to put down.

  5. Was this book horribly sad? It sounds horribly sad. Or at least, very emotionally difficult. Not that I have issues with sad, but I do like to know going in.

    A very intriguing premise, though, I must say.

    • There were parts I couldn’t stop crying when I read this book – but I think I was missing my family at that time (I live in a different country from them and hadn’t seen them for 5 years) so part of the story really spoke to me. I don’t mind sad books though, most of the time I like them better than happy books!

  6. This sounds like a good book.. I will add it to my wish list.

  7. I don’t read a lot of YA, but this does sound good – great review.

  8. I’ve been back and forth about reading this one. It sounds fantastic, but also very sad. It also sounds really very good, so I think I’ll give it another go. Thanks!

  9. Yep, it’s on my list! Thank you for the great review Stephanie.

  10. I loved this book too, and I actually liked Mia’s parents and really enjoyed the musical aspects of the story. Lovely review!

  11. Sounds like a complicated plot that’s worth reading!

  12. Everyone seems to really like this one; I’ll have to run over to Good Reads to see if it’s on my to-buy list for my Not-So-Bebe Girl Autumn’s Christmas book box (that box is going to be HEAVY!)

    Julie @ Knitting and Sundries

  13. This is one of those that is on my TBR(soon) pile… I didn’t realize the storyline was so much about her deciding what to do… I thought it was more like she’s already dying and can hear everything going on around her. Sounds really intriguing!! Now I want to pick it up even more!!

  14. I really liked this YA out of the ones I’d been reading. Since I read this last year and before I blogged, I don’t quite remember the details. But now that you mentioned it, her parents were quite atypical. I think she’s working on a sequel or companion book, written from the boyfriend’s perspective, called Where She Went, to be released in 2011 according to my notes.

  15. I haven’t read this one yet, but I recently read Before I Fall which has (kind of) a similar premise, and I couldn’t put it down.

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