Friday, October 22, 2010

Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

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.

Wow. I was completely blown away by If I Stay. This slim, wisp of a novel packs quite an emotional punch. Forman effortlessly balances humor, love, and loss in this unique twist on the traditional "teen death book". There are currently a lot of YA books out dealing with death; the loss of a parent, sibling, boyfriend, girlfriend or friend however, Forman has a unique twist on the topic.

In a dramatic twist of fate, the main character, Mia, has been in a car accident with her parents and younger brother. She is the lone survivor, barley holding on to a life she's not sure she can face without her family. With her physical body comatose, Mia is on the cusp of the afterlife. She's in a state of limbo with an impending life or death decision.

Through alternating flashbacks of her life and her present state, we learn about her relationships with those closest to her: her parents, brother, boyfriend, and best friend. We learn about her budding career as a cellist with a bright future at Julliard. We want her to choose to stay, to fight, to live. Our hearts break for her monumental loss and sympathize with her fear of a future without her family.

If I Stay is quite possibly one of the most touching stories about family, love, loss, and the resilience of the human spirit that I've ever read. My review is sparse and, I feel, inadequately conveys the emotional response that the book elicited from me. So I'll simply say that I would highly recommend this book!


One additional comment. I saw the paperback cover of If I Stay at Barnes and Noble and noticed that they quoted USA Today as : "Will appeal to fans of Stephanie Meyer's Twilight."

Um....okay?! This seriously irks me. While yes, I'm sure that many a Twilight fan would enjoy this novel, I don't really understand how, or why, the connection to Twilight was made. I don't think this comparison is fair to either book or to the possible readers. Why, oh why does every YA have to be in context to fucking Twilight?! Sigh. Anyway I just thought that was interesting. It gave me serious pause when I saw it!


  1. I want this book right now! I'm going to get it tonight, seriously! Great review!

  2. Thanks Wena, I hope you enjoy it! It's sooo good!

  3. Sigh, poor marketing. Well at least, it doesn't say "Will appeal to Harry Potter's fans."

    Sounds like a really, really good book. I check out my library, but they only have the french version, ugh.

  4. @nath I hope you can get ahold of it somehow! It's worth it!

  5. BTW I forgot to mention that they announced Dakota Fanning is playing Mia in the film version. I'm still pondering this. I think she's a good acterss, just glad it wasn't Miley Cyrus or...K.Stew :)

  6. 5 whole strawberries? I need to read this! I've heard such great things about this story and I love the books that are incredibly emotional and force you to feel which this one sounds like it does. Great review Mollie, I'm adding this one to my list:)

  7. 5 whole strawberries with whipped cream on top! It's a super quick read too, I hope you enjoy it !

  8. Thanks for the review on this one, Mollie. I'm going to try to find it at the library..


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