Wednesday, January 26, 2011

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Photo taken from Barnes & Noble

Book Info

Title:  If I Stay

Author:  Gayle Forman 
Publisher:  Speak
Language: English
Format:  Paperback
Pages:  272 pages
ISBN-10:  014241543X
ISBN-13:  978-0142415436
Source:  Purchased, Powerbooks

From Barnes & Noble:

"A critically acclaimed novel that will change the way you look at life, love, and family.  In the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen­year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces- to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make. Heartwrenchingly beautiful, Mia's story will stay with you for a long, long time."


Dear Ms. Forman, 

I read and finished your book in just one sitting, and if that's not enough of a confirmation that you have written a really good book, I don't know what else would convince you that I really enjoyed the story.  It was compelling, touching, and exciting.  It was sad most times, but even then, the story never felt dull or lacking.

I was pulled inside Mia's world and watched as she fought with herself to choose.  Mia was wrong when she said she was alone.  I and other readers were there with her, watching her come to terms with what had happened to her and her family.  The readers were given a good grasp of what kind of person Mia was. I like how you incorporated those flashbacks about Mia's family as she struggled to make a decision on whether to live or die.  Some have commented on the fact that Mia seemed to be more focused on her boyfriend Adam and best friend Kim more than the death of her family.  I disagree.  The fact that most of the stories revolved around her family - her mother's rebel personality, her father's transformation from punk dad to role model dad, her brother's boundless energy, and especially the life of music that they shared - showed how much she cared.  But like most people who lose very important people in their lives, they at first could not quite comprehend their lost, are still in denial with what happened to them, that they could not immediately face the fact that they are now alone.  They appear all right, but everything about them betrays their real feelings.  The memories that Mia recounted while deciding betrayed her loss, betrayed her grief, betrayed her true feelings.

The characters were very unique and very human.  The parents were a bit sketchy - I admit I was a bit skeptic about them not minding that their daughter and her boyfriend are locked up in the bedroom.  I'd have thought that no matter the time nor age, parents are parents and they would rather die than know their young child is engaging in sexual activities in their house.  Their loose and permissive attitude towards their children is a bit too 'utopian' for teenagers.  But maybe I was just seeing it that way because it was Mia talking, and she could only observe what her parents may be outwardly expressing, but who knows?  You would know, I guess.  But it could be that they might be really very worried and concerned about her but just thought that the best way for her to learn was through experience.  Other than that, the characters were very 'there' and alive.  

As for the writing, I enjoyed the humor that you combined into Mia's voice.  The lyrical quality of her narration were both subjective and objective at the same time which was actually one of the reasons I could not put down this book.  The flashbacks alternated with the present time but it still provided a seamless account of what Mia was going through.  I never felt a touch of confusion while reading, because I knew that each recollection of a past memory was related to what was currently happening to her.  Everything was related, and I guess Mia was that kind of person who had an easier time of expressing herself through telling a story about herself wherein she felt the same way.  The stories emphasized on her thoughts and her fears and grief, that even though she was not openly grieving about her loss, her stories showed how much she was ravaged by sorrow over the death of her family.  The ending was exquisite and very simple it bowled me over.

I really look forward to reading more of your writings, and I would especially watch out for the second book you have written about Mia and Adam, and I am sure that like this book, I would be again be captivated by your heartfelt writing.



If you have any questions on this particular rating, please refer to my ratings system here.


All opinions expressed in this book review are my own and not influenced by any party in any way.


  1. Love it! So fun and creative! Oh, and the book sounds good, too :)

  2. Thank you! And this book's really good, you should read it :D

  3. I can't beleive i still haven't read this book. What is wrong with me? Fantastic review Nina! I think i'll have to pick this one up next time i visit my local bookstore :)

  4. Gotta love this review. Did you actually send this to the author?

  5. Thank you! I haven't actually sent this to the author. I guess I'll work on that next :D

  6. Ok this was an awesome review. loved the letter form. :) I agree 100% with what you said. I loved the characters, and the book. It made me think of how I would react to a situation like that. I love the part with her grandpa in the room. I wanted to cry.

  7. To quote Mia's dad: "I did not cry. I teared." :D

  8. haha, great review. sounds heartbreaking...after reading Nicholas Sparks' The Last Song, I'm not sure I want to be sad again yet lol!

  9. It's not totally sad. But it does have its moments. :D


I just have to tell you, ARGH feeds on awesomeness, so if you can, drop him some awesome here, and I promise to give some awesome back :D

Right now, because of my really busy schedule, I'm cutting back on receiving awards. So until further notice, me and ARGH would not be accepting awards. But thank you for thinking of us, we really appreciate it!