Wednesday 16 July 2014

Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Title: If I Stay 
Author: Gayle Forman
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Page Count:  201
Publication Date: April 2nd 2009


“Just listen, Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel.

I open my eyes wide now.
I sit up as much as I can.
And I listen.

Stay, he says.”

Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?

Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it's the only one that matters.

If I Stay is a heartachingly beautiful book about the power of love, the true meaning of family, and the choices we all make.(Goodreads)

What I Thought:

So in the beginning Mia has everything going for her: Cooler-than-cool parents, an adorable little brother, a best friend and a boyfriend to boot. Then her whole world comes crashing down when her family gets into a car accident.

I can relate to Mia in many ways music-wise and as a teenager. She’s seventeen. I’m seventeen. She plays the cello. I play the double bass which is kind of similar. But the similarities end there I guess. Not that that’s a problem really. It would be weird if we had any more in common but it’s always nice to be able to relate to the protagonist in some way.

I’ll admit even though I’d known what was coming, the car crash was intense and I found myself tearing a little as she described seeing her parents whilst observing the result of the collision from afar in an out-of body-experience.

Mia’s character was nice enough. She was quiet and well liked among friends but for some reason, even as I progressed through the novel I never really connected with her. She was kind of boring. As a reader I was far more interested in the present but every other chapter we were transported back to the past. This seemed like a nice idea at first so we could get some background into her life but I found myself impatiently waiting to get back to the now. 

Something I do admire about Mia is her passion for music. She knows what she wants and will pursue it despite having to leave her loved ones behind. I just wished she was a bit more than a music-obsessed cellist. Her love for music was literally her whole personality and after we quickly got the point that Julliard was her dream school, I felt we should have seen more depth to her character.

It was pretty easy book to get through but there were some strange parts. For example when Adam (her boyfriend) asks her to ‘play him like a cello’. It made it seem like a cheesy romance novel which this really isn’t (it was only a small part anyway). Also when Mia dresses up for Halloween in a flashback and Teddy (her seven year old brother) says that if he wasn’t her brother he’d call her ‘sexy’. It’s true, kids say some crazy stuff, but it’s still weird. (It sounds weirder here out of context.)

I thought this book was okay. It’s different from what I normally read and it takes place in a day so there isn’t really much room for character development but overall it’s a decent book. If you want a tear-jerker I’d definitely recommend If I Stay because it’s a sad story, especially at the start. But if you want more action I wouldn’t suggest it. It’s more a collection of Mia’s life stories fitted around her observing herself in a ghostly form in a hospital.

Rating: 3/5
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