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).
ONTO REVIEW WITH SEMI-SPOILERS
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!