Book Review

Book Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Title: If I StayBook Review - If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Author: Gayle Forman

Publisher: Dutton Books

Genre: Young Adult, Romance

First Publication: 2009

Language: English

Major Characters: Teddy Hall, Kim Schein, Adam Wilde, Mia Hall

Setting Place: Oregon, United States

Theme: Sacrifice and Choice, Music and Harmony, Love, Family, and Relationships, Life and Death

Narration: First Person


Book Summary: 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.


Book Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

This is story about Mia, seventeen year old girl who gets into a car accident with her parents and her 10 year old brother. She survives the crash but is unconscious in the hospital and in critical condition. However, she is able to see and hear everything around her, even her own body. The story revolves around her making the decision to stay and live or let go and die.

“Sometimes you make choices in life and sometimes choices make you.”

The story of If I Stay by Gayle Forman is told in a serious of flash backs where we get to see that Mia is a normal teenager, living in Oregon, with a bright although conflicted future ahead of her. She is a brilliant cellist with the prospect of going to Julliard, across country in New York, once she graduates.

She has a boyfriend, Adam, with a common passion for music, albeit opposite genres. In fact, if it weren’t for music they probably wouldn’t have got together, Mia starts noticing him stare at her while they practice. Her with cello, him with guitar. Adam’s future is also on the rise but in a very different direction. He is the lead singer/songwriter of a rock band on the verge fame.

Mia’s family also plays a large part in the flashbacks. They are a close, quirky, lovable family and Adam fits right in with them. If I Stay is a reminder of how short and innately sweet life is, and about how at the end of the day, or at the end of your life, the one thing you are always going to want to hold on to is the cherished memories of the people you love. The people who make life worthwhile.

“Love, it never dies. It never goes away, it never fades, so long as you hang on to it. Love can make you immortal”

Also, the writing of If I Stay by Gayle Forman is simply lovely. Forman takes teenage love, teenage emotions, teenage dreams and writes about them in a way that is accessible to every age, and is still believable. The language is beautiful, the pacing perfect. It’s a short book, (about 200 pages) but I have to say this book was so hard for me to read. I loved it but I wanted to get through it as quick as possible. I am not the type who loves sad, bittersweet tales and this was one of them.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman was heart-wrenching, heart-warming and funny all in one. But, I’m a firm believer in having my entertainment be free of tragedy. I think we get enough of it in real life. That being said, I still loved this book! In August 2014, a film version of If I Stay was released in theaters, directed by R.J. Cutler and starring Chloë Grace Moretz as Mia.


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