Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

 If I Stay book coverIn the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen ­year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces- to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make. Heartwrenchingly beautiful, this will change the way you look at life, love, and family. [Amazon]

Initial Thoughts by Sophie

I joined a newly established book club at my local library. Being in a teen book club, I knew I was going to read young adult. Sometimes it’s hard for me to get into a young adult book because I would always be used to a lot of detail, description, character development and characters internal conflicts/thoughts from adult books. Having said that, I hoped this book would live up to its status as a movie made book. In our generation, many books have been made into movie. You would expect a good book, right?

“Stay.” With that one word, Adam’s voice catches, but he swallows the emotion and pushes forward.

“There is no word for what happened to you. There’s no good side of it. But there is something to live for. Maybe I’m just talking shit. I know I’m in shock. I know I haven’t digested what happened…” His voice cracks and an avalanche of tears tumbles down his face. And I think: I love you.

Mia is the main protagonist. She never really had any faults that I really saw as conflicting. She is musically gifted , loved by friends and family , and opportunities awaited her when she graduated. To me, she is very passionate and caring. She was on the right track in the sense that she knew who she was and she didn’t try to be anyone else.

I like how there was a lot of backstory yet the story’s main plot continued in a good pace. From her musically gifted parents to her innocent little brother. It is really sad what happened to her. Though I couldn’t help but think how calm she was through the whole thing. Maybe she was in shock but to me, she didn’t have her “breakdown” moment with all that has happen to her. She was sad, angry. Maybe she went through the stages of grief faster than I could read.

I like how she didn’t automatically want to live. We read through her conflicting choices. Mia struggled between dying to be with her family and living to to be with Adam. This bring out one of my favorite scenes in the book (which I will later talk about way below). Our book club discussed about what would we do if we have a choice like hers. Interestingly, the vote was equal. The will to live would ultimately waver because of the loss of your whole family yet being alive gives hope and second chance to live out our lives.

I had to remind myself this was a love story type of book. I should not nitpick her lack of utter devastation and her complete obsession to see/feel/ be in the presence of Adam but I still do. Also, this story had a lot to do with music. The love and the essence of music brought a rock musician together with a classical cellist.

A Favorite Part

Many people would say their favorite ending is the parts with Adam and Mia. I don’t really want to spoil things for you so I won’t talk any further.

My favorite part of the book was the intimate conversation between Mia and her grandpa , Gramps. It was very sweet how Gramps was tearing up and telling what he thought and what everyone else didn’t want to say.

“It’s okay,” he tells me. “If you want to go. Everyone wants you to stay. I want you to stay more than I’ve ever wanted anything in my life.”

His voice cracks with emotion. He stops, clears his throat, takes a breath, and continues.

“But that’s what I want and I could see why it might not be what you want. So I just wanted to tell you that I understand if you go. It’s okay if you have to leave us. It’s okay if you want to stop fighting.”

Final Thoughts

Again, the story flowed very nicely. The backstory did sneak up in many parts of the story. I enjoyed fleshing out the characters but it did get bothersome when you wanted to read what happens next and then a whole other backstory scene was placed. I did tear up in some parts especially the part with Gramps.

What brings this book together is the relationships. The display of love, personality, and self comfort. This books has more to do on the love aspect. With the “will she leave earth or won’t she” and the reflection of what the reader would do in their own situation.

Rating or Recommendation

3.5 out of 5. [Note: One time book, Will not re-read]

Would this be considered a sick-lit? She wasn’t sick but she was severely injured. The topic of death, moving forward, and love was mentioned. This reminds me of The Fault in Our Stars. Man, did I cry in that one.

Googling the title of the book before I read the book ruined the ending of the book for me. Not because I was looking for the summary of the whole story but because I wanted to know more about the history of the book and author. I tried to avoid the summary like the plague yet my eye caught on a line – or rather – link.

It was a link to the sequel. So through inference, I concluded what happened.

 

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