Publication: April 6th 2010 by Speak
Source: Own, bought from National Bookstore
Series: If I Stay #1
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
On a day that started like any other,
Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, admiring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. In an instant, almost all of that is taken from her. Caught between life and death, between a happy past and an unknowable future, Mia spends one critical day contemplating the only decision she has left. It is the most important decision she’ll ever make.
Simultaneously tragic and hopeful, this is a romantic, riveting, and ultimately uplifting story about memory, music, living, dying, loving.
Forgive me if I joined the bandwagon a little late. I know that many people have already read/loved/reviewed this book, and there’s a movie that’s coming out. Definitely a lot of buzz going on. So I’ll keep this review short and simple, for you guys.
If I Stay follows seventeen year-old cellist Mia Hall who got in a car accident that killed her parents and brother. Mia then awake but not physically. It’s kind of like an out-of-body experience that happened to her. You know when you’re just watching from the sidelines and nobody sees you or anything. And it’s all very tense and dramatic.
A great chunk of the novel is made up of flashbacks from Mia’s past or life in general. I was actually more invested with her flashbacks than what was happening in the now. You go through the novel without knowing anything about her like what was she like, who’s her best friend, what’s going on with her world right now. Nada. So I think the flashbacks were for the reader’s benefit. I know that some people aren’t really interested with her memories that much, but I think it makes the story even more compact and emotionally-charged.
What stood out for me in If I Stay is how the relationships were portrayed. They were genuine. I loved reading about her relationship with her quirky parents. I thought her parents were pretty cool. I mean, who doesn’t want a family surrounded by all that music influence? I loved reading about her relationship with Adam although I felt like I hadn’t really cared that much about their romance. I’m hoping I’ll get past it in the sequel though.
But most of all, I loved reading about her relationship with her best friend, Kim. The story of how their strong bond started was hilarious! But more than that, I know full well that it’s real. That what they have is something truly amazing and admirable.
Lastly, I couldn’t write an If I Stay review without actually commending the author’s writing. It was absolutely gorgeous. It was really mature coming out of YA. But I think that’s a good thing. YA needs more books like these.
Overall, If I Stay was a complete surprise. I was not prepared for this whirlwind of a journey though I didn’t cry ha. And Gayle Forman, wow. She sure knows how to write heartbreaking yet beautiful stories.
Sidenote: If you’ve read the book, you gotta watch the trailer man. It will tear you apart.