Harmony Book Reviews

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Posted on: May 19, 2009

 If I StayTitle: If I Stay

Author: Gayle Forman

Rating: 10/10

Good If… You’re looking for a short and powerful novel.

Summary: (Taken from Amazon)

The last normal moment that Mia, a talented cellist, can remember is being in the car with her family. Then she is standing outside her body beside their mangled Buick and her parents’ corpses, watching herself and her little brother being tended by paramedics. As she ponders her state (Am I dead? I actually have to ask myself this), Mia is whisked away to a hospital, where, her body in a coma, she reflects on the past and tries to decide whether to fight to live. Via Mia’s thoughts and flashbacks, Forman (Sisters in Sanity) expertly explores the teenager’s life, her passion for classical music and her strong relationships with her family, friends and boyfriend, Adam. Mia’s singular perspective (which will recall Alice Sebold’s adult novel, The Lovely Bones) also allows for powerful portraits of her friends and family as they cope: Please don’t die. If you die, there’s going to be one of those cheesy Princess Diana memorials at school, prays Mia’s friend Kim. I know you’d hate that kind of thing. Intensely moving, the novel will force readers to take stock of their lives and the people and things that make them worth living. Ages 14–up

My Thoughts: If I Stay completely blew me away. I was expecting a lot out of it and it delivered every little bit and more.

The beginning, right after the crash, was a little bit confusing to me. This may not be the case for everyone but I remember looking at it and going “Wait, WHAT?!” but instead of taking away from the story, it actually helped me delve deeper into the story line. Once I had everything figured out, I was completely pulled into the story it. Most of the time I didn’t even realize that I was reading – it was just that good.

Mia was a character I felt completely connected to. Her voice was unique and heartbreaking and kept you attached to the story line. Anyone who has every felt lost and unsure what the point of life is or who is attached to music in a way that no one seems to understand will connect with her immediately. The rest of the family and other various characters were only developed in bits and pieces but that’s only because it takes place in the course of a day or so and most of them are only present for a chapter or two, if that.

The plot, as I said before, takes place over a short period of time which makes the pacing a teeny bit awkward but there’s tons of flashbacks to help us get a better understand of the story which helps balance it all out.

As for the ending…well, it’s beautiful and crazy and sad and perfect.

This really is a powerful story and I look forward to seeing what the producers can do to make a decent movie out of this.


5 Responses to "If I Stay by Gayle Forman"

This book is out of this world good!

I just recieved an ARC of this one in the mail. I can’t wait to read it! I also love that it’s set in Oregon, for that’s where I live and not many books are set here.

I’ve been wanting to read this one for ages! Does anyone reckon it could get a person out of a reading slump? =D

This is another book I think I’ve looked at countless times and passed by it because I wasn’t in the mood for a “real” book, but I think it’s high time I add it to my list of books to-read. Thanks for sharing your review on this one!

I don’t think I’ve heard a single bad thing about If I Stay, so I really want to read this one, even though it involves the afterlife (I don’t usually care for afterlife books.)

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