BOOK REVIEW: If I Stay, by Gayle Forman

Released: April 9, 2009 (Dutton Juvenile)
Series: If I Stay, #1
Source: Purchased
Buy Now From: Amazon

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.

My Thoughts (May Contain Spoilers)

 This was an interesting book. I can’t remember what made me pick it up in the bookstore (OK, I lie – the comment that fans of Twilight would love this book pretty much sold me), but I’m happy I did. Gayle Forman’s If I Stay was emotional, touching, and wrenched the heartstrings – not something I’ve been getting in my latest reads of vampire fiction and chick lit.

If I Stay begins with a car crash in which Mia’s mother and father and little brother, Teddy, are killed. Mia is in a coma, but her spirit is sticking around. Through the course of a day the reader enters the life of Mia, before the accident. We learn of her relationship with her parents, her friends, her one love Adam – the ups and downs that have happened thus far in her life. Interspersed with the past is the now – the 24 hours at the hospital. Mia watches as her remaining family and friends visit her, giving her well wishes and telling her to choose whether she will stay or go.

While the majority of the book focuses more on Mia’s life rather than her choice, in the final pages Mia is thrown into a decision – do I come back? Or do I leave? I’m not sure it’s something that many people think about—actually having a choice—but it’s something that Mia has to deal with for one day. The ending is kind of silly – coming back for love – but there is one line in the story that really got to me. Mia, having lost her parents and her little brother in the crash, is listening to one of her many visitors talk to her as she lays in the hospital bed and is told that she still has a family.

Death might be a touchy subject for some, but this sometimes-lighthearted, sometimes-heavy read makes sure to not make it the only focal point. It makes the reader realize that no matter what happens in life, there’s [usually] always someone there for you, whether it’s a friend or a distant relative. It’s easy to say you have nothing when something so horrible happens and sometimes it takes a miracle to pull you back to reality—the reality that the word “family” is sometimes extended past the people you’re related to by blood, to the people you never thought would be there to care.


One thought on “BOOK REVIEW: If I Stay, by Gayle Forman

  1. Pingback: Where She Went, by Gayle Forman « Reading in Winter

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