Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Book Review: If I Stay (If I Stay #1)

Release Date: April 2, 2009
Author: Gayle Forman
Publisher: Speak
Length: 262 pages

The critically acclaimed, bestselling novel from Gayle Forman, author of Where She Went, Just One Day, and the forthcoming Just One Year.

On a day that started like any other,

Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, admiring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. In an instant, almost all of that is taken from her. Caught between life and death, between a happy past and an unknowable future, Mia spends one critical day contemplating the only decision she has left. It is the most important decision she'll ever make.

Simultaneously tragic and hopeful, this is a romantic, riveting, and ultimately uplifting story about memory, music, living, dying, loving.



Protagonist: When we meet Mia at the beginning of this book she is going with her parents to visit some friends of theirs when a car swerves and hits theirs killing her parents seemingly instantly and leaving her and her and her brother is critical condition. After the crash Mia wakes up outside her body and finds that she can hear and see what's going on around her body and later learns that it's her choice whether she stays alive or passes on. I really liked Mia's character, she came of very realistic which just made her situation that much more emotional. She's a very loyal and passionate person and while we did get a bit of development in this book, given her situation and the fact that the book's so short it wasn't that much, though that's not a bad things just something to think about.

Romance: Once again given the fact that this book is so short and the situation Mia is in, we really only learn about her and Adam's relationship through flashbacks, which in this book read more like tangents than actual set aside flashbacks. This made it a bit hard for me to gauge how I felt about the relationship at least based on how fast and serious it got. Mia does give approximations of time during her tangents but most of the time those went over my head, so in situations where near the beginning/middle of the book Mia talks about her first time together or when they first say "I love you" it comes off a bit awkward, but that's mainly due to the fact that their relationship isn't something I'm all too familiar with. But all in all I really liked their romance, it's simple yet intense and their feelings for each other are very genuine and mature.

Emotions/Feels: So I'm not a big crier when it comes to books. Really, I mean I didn't even cry when I read The Fault in Our Stars, though that might have been because that book was easier to predict the more emotional parts. Nevertheless, this book really tugged at my heart strings, when I was about halfway through this book I decided to take a break and watch the trailer again, hoping that this time I would have a bit more context (which I did) and I'm not sure what changed but this time I watched the trailer I found myself honest to God crying. Again, I'm not a crier, but I nearly broke down. At first I just thought that maybe it was because watching something is much more emotional than reading about it, but as I got to the end which I will not spoil, I found myself crying again. Again I didn't cry while reading TFiOS, so just a friendly warning.

Predictability: So as I said this book wasn't as predictable as another super sad book, but just knowing that it's sad or will probably make you cry does not make the book any more predictable like it did with TFiOS. At the beginning of this book I thought I knew the choice that Mia would make, but as the story went on everything became much harder to read (as in guess not that the book itself became harder for me to physically read), I didn't know what was going to happen and it was kind of amazing. I think I had this expectation that I would know part way through what was going to happen but it really was up until the very end highly unpredictable.

Ending: Speaking of the end, Oh my... I can't even... I mean... it was incredibly powerful. So just so you know I did listen to this book of audio, and while I wasn't a huge fan of the narrator (she sounded way too old to play a 17-18 year old) there's this moment at the end while everything is wrapping up that classical music comes on in the background of the narration and it just made everything so much more intense. So I highly recommend that it you don't listen to this on Audiobook that you have like a classical music station on Pandora up or something because it makes all the difference.


So as I've already insinuated, this book is incredible. It's short, somber, and masterfully written. It had me guessing up until the very end and is the only book to date to make me full on cry. I seriously cannot wait to see the movie, though tissues might be necessary.


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