If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Series: If I Stay #1
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Release Date: April 2nd 2009
Synopsis: 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 heart-achingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make, and the ultimate choice Mia commands.
My thoughts: I am a little lost for words. If I Stay is a beautiful novel about love, happiness, sadness, and choices. This book is able to make a person’s heart ache. If I Stay is a very stunning and poignant novel.
I loved the way Forman weaved the musical element to the story. The music played a very big role in the story. It brought the characters together and they felt a great passion for it. It made the book feel like a beautifully sad song. I also liked how the sadness in If I Stay is a pure kind of sadness. There is no meaningless melodrama and I appreciate that. The book doesn’t try to manipulate the reader’s emotions but tries to sincerely show the story how it is.
This book also has a unique story structure. If I Stay is told through the present and flashbacks of Mia’s life. I thought that this was done really well. The parts of the story that showed us what was happening in the present showed us the doubt and suffering Mia’s going through. We really get to see Mia’s pain. The flashbacks show the happiness Mia had in her life before it was all stolen away after the tragic event.
The characters in this novel are almost tangible. They had their own passions and they had a lot of depth to them. They felt very real and they all had their own purpose in the story. Mia’s best friend, Kim understood her in a way nobody else did. Mia’s boyfriend, Adam was loving and devoted. And Mia’s family was also wonderfully written. All the relationships in the novel are resonant and beautiful.
This book made me shed more than a couple of tears. It was sad and made me a little bit depressed but oddly, it was also uplifting. The ending was a beautiful one and I don’t think it could have ended better. If I Stay is one of those books that when you finish you whisper praise to the author.