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Saturday 5 March 2011

If I Stay by Gayle Forman Review

    If I StayTitle: If I Stay
Author: Gayle Forman
Pages: 210
Publisher: Dutton/Random House)
Release Date: January 1st 2009 US / May 6th 2010
Source: For Review (thank you :D )
Rating: 4.5 out 5 stars

What if you had everything:

A gorgeous boyfriend who was madly in love with you?

Quirky hip parents who totally got you?

A musical talent that could take you anywhere?

What if your biggest problem in life was choosing which path to take?
Follow your first love--music-- to New York City?
Or stay with your boyfriend, friends, and family?
What if one day, you went out for a drive...
And in an instant everything changed?
What if suddenly all the other choices were gone?
Except for one--the only one that truly mattered?
What would you do?

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. 

What a beautiful and moving story. It may have been short but it definitely had an impact. There seem to be a lot of YA novels about death and making choices. Gayle Forman approaches it in such a respectful way. For me, death wasn't even the main point of the story. I felt it was about Mia finding herself and understanding how to be her one person.

Mia's narration through the novel was beautiful. It was so moving and so emotional. I could feel all her pain, all her happiness and sadness. Everything she felt, I felt. It felt so personal, like I was an onlooker into her life. She was a very easy character to like and despite her situation she seemed strong and I   really liked her. I also really liked Adam. He was a great secondary character and really helped me to understand Mia more. He was so sensitive and he obviously cared a great deal for Mia, making her choice that much harder.

The relationship between Mia and Adam was very real. They were great together but faced a lot of hardships, like all couples do. it made it a lot for realistic and therefore I respected it more.

The use of flashbacks was incredibly effective. It brought light relief, intensified the present scene and just heightened every emotion I was feeling.  It was a wonderful way of getting to know the secondary characters and how important they were to Mia.

The inner battle Mia faced was intriguing. I understood what a difficult choice and she had be constantly jumping back and forth until the end. I was never sure of her choice. I love that there was a little mystery in it. 

The ending was sublime. I haven't read that good an ending in a long while. It was just perfect. It concluded beautifully and left no immediate cliffhanger, yet left some things to the imagination.

Overall it was a really moving book that I thoroughly recommend! 


  1. I completely agree. If I Stay was such a gorgeous and moving book. Sigh! Where She Went is just as good, too!

    Very thoughtful review, Alice. Thanks! :)

  2. I am hopefully getting that one for review (fingers crossed) Thanks Lauren, you are always so sweet!

  3. Hi Alice. That was a great review. Although I didn't enjoy it quite as much as you, when I look back and listened to what you were saying, you totally hit the nail on the head. Great stuff!

  4. Just read it on my Kindle because I had heard good things about it. And though I did enjoy it, it wasn't one of my favorites. The flashbacks were a little hard to get used to, but I don't think there was any other way for her present that information otherwise. I did appreciate her relationships with all the charcters, very real and genuine.

    My only complaint: what the heck was with the sex/music love type scene? Strumming bodies? I know they were muscians and all, but really? I felt slightly uncomfortable with that. Not because I'm a prude, but more in a "You say you own 54 cats and live with your parents? Ahhh...hey I need to use the bathroom. I'll be back in a jiffy" *slinks out back door*

    Anyway, great review.

  5. I do understand what you are saying. It took a while to get used to the back and forth of the flashbacks!

    I know! I was a bit like "is this for real?" It was a little too cheesy for me and I don't know if it would have really happened. I did feel a little uncomfortable reading it too!

    Thank you :)

  6. This book break my heart so many times. I really love this book. Great review! I am a new follower. Keep blogging. :)

  7. Teens and young adults might enjoy this book. It didn't have enough substance for me. Some cute, funny moments in an otherwise tragic story, but none of the characters nor the story really made me care what was happening. Not particularly interesting or well-written


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