Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Title: If I Stay
Author: Gayle Forman
Release Date: April 6th, 2010
Pages: 259

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.

I got If I Stay as a Christmas present from my best friend, without having seen the movie. I trust her taste completely, so I decided to read it wrapped in a blanket by the fire on a cold January day….annnd finished it the next cold January day, by the same fire and under the same blanket.

Mia's family was not the normal family, with a dad who was a rocker-turned-teacher and a mum who was a groupie-turned-mother, but her connection to them and love for them reminded me of my own.
Although there were things that did not allow me to connect with the story as well as I would have liked, I was taken aback by how in detail and real it felt, for a story about a ghostly figure.

Mia is in a car accident that kills her mother, father, and brother, and leaves her as an outsider of her own body. She tells the story from her perspective during an out-of-body experience, as she watches doctors and her loved ones attempt to keep her alive. Although it was supposed to be mainly focused around her romance with her boyfriend, I felt that I was more intrigued by the rest of the book and the questions that it raised for me: how would I react if this happened to me, does this really happen to people, do people who are injured actually have an influence in whether or not they keep living?

The most important part for me was the effect Mia's accident had on other people. Just like John Green's The Fault in Our Stars, Mia's grenade went off and the people around her were affected. But that doesn't mean that just in case we might lost someone, we should block ourselves off from love and friendship. My favorite part of the book was the feeling that it left me with, knowing that although Mia had lost her immediate family, she still had a family of a mixture of blood relatives and people she had collected along the way through friendships.

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