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Book Review: If I Stay

Saturday, June 4, 2011
Title: If I Stay
Author: Gayle Forman
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile (Imprint of Penguin)
Pages: 196
Buy: Amazon, Book Depository
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 heartachingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make—and the ultimate choice Mia commands.


The buzz for If I Stay is incredible. People are saying things about it, left and right—good things. I was really hyped up for If I Stay and I couldn’t even wait for the paperback to come in stock and just bought it on my kindle.

I’m still confused about how I feel about this book. On one hand, Gayle Forman’s writing is beautiful. I read through the entire book effortlessly and the story grew on me as I read on. It’s an intriguing situation, with Mia in the state she’s in, but there just wasn’t that oh-my-god-I-have-to-turn-the-page-NOW feeling.

The constant flashbacks into memories and Mia’s thoughts made me feel kind of detached from the story. It was interesting, but I didn’t really feel as if I needed to know everything that had happened since Mia’s parents were teens. Sure, I wanted to know more about Mia—she’s an interesting main character, all things considered—but as I went on and as I dove deeper into her history, I started getting this “yeah, yeah, whatever” feeling. I cared about what happened to Mia, but not enough to drink up all the words.

I did like Adam and Mia though. They felt real, they had a history, they had their quirks, they were human. The side characters were real too, and I really liked this about If I Stay. Teddy and Brook Vegas in particular, I loved the two of them. Teddy was adorable and Brook was… memorable, to say the least. I did feel that Mia’s parents were a bit too perfect though. They were cool: her father played in a band, he wrote songs, he wore vintage stuff, her mom was a tough chick. But they were still totally supportive of Mia when she decided to play the cello. They didn’t mood swing like middle-aged people and they were as perfect as parents came. I found it a bit unrealistic.

After I finished the book, I was left with this “huh? What?” feeling and it was as if something was missing. I realised I had been waiting for something important slash drastic to happen that would set the story into motion. It never did happen, which was why I was left feeling lost after my kindle told me I’d read “100%” of If I Stay.

I guess I’m just the sort of person who likes action and high stakes. If I Stay was an awesome read, don’t get me wrong. Gayle Forman’s writing is beautiful and the book pieced together perfectly. I’d recommend it to most people. But if you’re an adrenaline junkie like me, who live for the thrill of turning the next page and finding out What Really Happened ASAP, then I’d say that If I Stay is a mismatch. It’s good, but I’m still waiting for something to happen!
3 comments on "Book Review: If I Stay"
  1. Great review! This is the first one I've read by someone who didn't loooooooooooooove the book. I'm planning on reading this book next and I'm wondering if all the hype has given me too high expectations of it, so it's good to see a different perspective!

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  2. Wow, I felt like you said exactly what I was thinking. Wonderful review!

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  3. Great Review! I remember seeing this book everywhere but I would think it wouldn't be that good so I never payed much attention to is but I did end up reading it and LOVED it. I so glad I read it :D

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