Wednesday, November 9, 2011

IF I STAY by Gayle Forman

Initially, I wasn't going to do a review of this book.  It's been about two weeks since I read If I Stay by Gayle Forman, and I still can't think of a way to review it without having some kind of spoiler L.  So, knowing that, if you don't read on I'll totally understand (but I don't think I'm really giving away much). 


Near the beginning of the book, there's a tragic car accident.  Mia loses her entire family as a result, but she survives, somewhere between life and death.  What I didn't realize was that Mia would be caught in this state throughout the book.  *smacks self in head* If I'd read more carefully, it clearly states that in the summary--but sometimes ninjas are known to skim J.  I have to say I'm glad I didn't know b/c it would've most likely stopped from getting the book.  Tragedy, melodrama, angst.  That's just not my thing.

But this book had something I can't resist.  The characters.  Oh, the characters were wonderful.  I loved Mia's parents; though they weren't physically in the story very long, we get a great sense of them through Mia's memories.  I loved how the mom wasn't afraid to get pissed and stand up for the ones she loved.  I loved how the dad called his daughter "Mia-Oh-Mya."  Forman managed to make them real/fully fleshed out, a near impossible feat considering they were in about a fourth of the book.

Mia's friend Kim was another favorite.  She wasn't just a stock character thrown in for kicks.  With her sarcasm, strength, loyalty and frizzy hair, she was a true friend to Mia.  No backstabbing gossipers in this book.  Kim stayed strong for Mia, two girls who really were friends.  I loved that.

Adam, Mia's boyfriend, was what actually made me want to read If I Stay.  I read a blog post with a few quotes of his and knew I had to know more about this character.  The rising-star rocker was more perfect than a teenage boy has any right to be.  Again, the loyalty and love he had toward Mia didn't waver.  Their affection/relationship rang true, more so than many of the love-at-first-sight YAs.  Adam's devotion to Mia made my heart melt.

And the best thing about all these characters?  They give us a sense of who Mia must be.  In addition to being told from her POV, Mia is surrounded by good people that love her.  Therefore, I had to love her, too.  Her feelings ran deep; she deserved a great friend like Kim b/c she was a great friend herself.  She deserved a guy like Adam b/c she had a heart as pure and open as his.  Mia was a decent person with an insurmountable inner strength--and I believed her.

That's one of the best things about Forman's writing.  All her characters were believable and likable.  I'm glad I got to meet them (even if this really isn't my kind of book).  Like others have said, the book is beautiful.  But I'll take it a step farther and add, that the book is beautiful because the characters in it are beautiful.

Happy reading everyone!

Ninja Girl


  1. So glad you liked this one!! I loooveed this book and the sequel is good as well!

  2. I have had this sitting in my TBR for the longest time but haven't been able to pick it up. Possibly because I'm afraid the ending will be too sad. Great review!

  3. I loved this book so much, but I adored the sequel even more!

  4. I have this book on my will be read next year! Your review is awesome, and I don't consider your spoilers major or anything. You have to give a little something away with a book like this! And aww. Reading your review makes me want to read it NOW. Just to see if I have the same reaction you did. :)

    Molli at Once Upon a Prologue

  5. Fabulous review! I loved this book. One of the things that touched me most was just how wonderful Mia's life was. Not perfect, but happy. It made her tragedy seem even worse.

  6. If I Stay is a truly beautiful book composed of numerous parallels that gives this book a depth I couldn't ignore and couldn't help but respect. Even with the sorrow that accompanies this book there is plenty of smiles to be found in the flashbacks of memories. Despite the life-changing events and when nothing seems worth it anymore, there is hope found to grasp onto. Even having no clue which decision is ultimately the right decision there is solace found in knowing that love awaits you no matter which way you go. If I Stay is truly breath taking and despite it's size bares an impact that will follow me... follow you.