Adaptations · Book Reviews

New York Times Best Sellers: September 7th 2014

Gayle Forman’s If I Stay

If I Stay by Gayle Forman is on the top of this week’s New York Times YA Best Sellers list.  The novel, first published in 2009, has been on the list for 21 weeks. It recently regained popularity when the movie adaptation was rumored to come out. The movie came out on August 22, 2014 and has been getting mixed reviews but made $15.6 million it’s opening weekend.  Below, you’ll find a synopsis of the book, my review and the trailer for the movie. Enjoy!

Synopsis: 

Life changes in the blink of an eye for 17-year-old cellist, Mia Hall. She can’t remember the accident but she sees what happens next. As she watches her body taken from the wreck to the ICU, Mia pieces together what happened and has to make the biggest decision of her life. Will she stay or will she go?

My take (spoilers [duh!]):

If I Stay is one of those books that I couldn’t put down. I finished it in about 3 hours. It’s a book that I didn’t expect to fall in love with but I did. Gayle Forman does a fantastic job in If I Stay. The blend of flashbacks with what’s going on in the present is well done and in no way excessive. Making a story progress through flashbacks is not easily done but it is pulled off beautifully in this novel. It was definitely a stand out creative choice for me. The ingenuity of the story is something I really appreciated. Mia’s out-of-body experience where she can see not only what’s happening to herself but to her family and friends is a brilliant concept. It also reminded me that tragedy happens no matter how old you are or where you’re from.  The emotional impact this book had on me was unexpected (It gave me feels and I was crying for a lot of it). Forman definitely knows how to tug at your heart strings and write scenes so filled with sadness and anguish and desperation and anger that you feel like those emotions are your own. And like any good book it made me think. What would I do if I was in Mia’s place? Would I stay or would I go? That definitely brought the book up in my regard. I was thinking about it for a few days after I read it. And don’t get me started on the characters. They weren’t characters made up of words on page; they felt like real people. I felt for them. The relationships were believable, especially Mia and Adam’s relationship. They had ups and downs. They weren’t the typical teenage couple in books that rarely fights. Before the accident, they were struggling on how to make things work if Mia went to Julliard and there was tension between them (and not the good kind). Those little details always bring character relationships to life for me because they’re raw and they don’t paint this ideal picture of the perfect couple. Well, anyway, if you’re looking for a good book with a fantastic story and real characters, I would recommend If I Stay (warning: make sure you have tissues).

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