If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Series: If I Stay #1
Published By: Speak
Published On: July 8, 2014 (originally 2009)
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Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?
Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it's the only one that matters.
On a snowy morning, 17-year-old Mia and her family go for a happy family, never expecting the worst to happen. However, when it does Mia sees everything, including herself lying unconscious on the ground. Watching doctors rushing to save her life, Mia must make one very hard decision.
I desperately wanted to love this book. As soon as I saw the trailer for the movie adaptation I knew I had to read this and love it. It is exactly the kind of thing I enjoy reading, something heart breaking but truly beautiful and inspiring. That is what I wanted from this book and unfortunately I was left a little disappointed.
I really liked our main character, Mia. Both in the hospital and in the flashbacks Mia is a very relatable character who can be seen to grow into such a strong character through the heartache she faces in the hospital. She was one of the only characters I managed to have some kind of connection with in this book.
Though I didn’t build a connection with them, I really liked Mia’s grandparents. They seem like such lovely people and there is just something about grandparents. I have really great grandparents and when I see them in characters, such as Mia’s grandparents, I can’t help but love the characters. The most touching scene in this book for me was with Mia’s grandfather, who in that moment reminded me so much of my own that it was almost painful. That, I think, is the sign of a great writer.
I really hate to admit this but I didn’t love Mia and Adam’s relationship. It’s not that I didn’t like the relationship, I just didn’t have any kind of feeling towards it. I felt no real connection with Adam, which may be why I had no strong feelings about his relationship with Mia.
As a musician myself, I loved the importance of music. I am a strong believer in music being more than just sound, but something that can bring people together and something that can really save a person. To read about characters who shared this belief was great.
I really liked the premise of choosing to live or die. I think this concept, being something that there are so many different opinions about, was a very good thing to tackle in a young adult novel. It’s very philosophical and I think it is a really great thing to get teenagers thinking about. It was a brave subject to take on but I think Gayle Forman did a very good job of it.
This is not a very helpful point in a review but my main issue with the book was the fact that I felt as though something was missing. This ‘something missing’ is the main reason for my slight disappointment with this book but I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is. I watched the movie after reading the book and I absolutely loved it. Whatever was missing from the book was not missing from the movie yet I still don’t know what it was.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book but I did have a few slight issues with it. Like I said, for me there was just something missing that meant this book did not live up to the expectations I had and resulted in me, unfortunately, not absolutely loving it like I had hoped I would.