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Welcome to my book review of “If I Stay” by Gayle Forman
“If I Stay“ is a young adult contemporary. This is the first book in the duology by Gayle Forman. Mia Hall, seventeen year old, gets a snow day. A surprising day off with her little brother and wonderful parents. Deciding to go for a drive and arguing over what music to listen to like a normal day, a car crashed into theirs. Mia realizes her parents are dead … she doesn’t know if her brother is alive or now. She’s watching everything, including herself. No one can see what she’s doing nor can they hear what she says. She has a choice, to stay alive or die, as she floats in this out of body state.
Rating this book is really hard. Part of me really wants to say 5 and the other part wants to say a 4 … so I’m going to “cheat” and rate this one a 4.5 star. Gayle Forman wrote this book beautifully and I actually wanted to cry in various parts of this. For me, that’s very unusual. To get that extent of a reaction from me, something has to have been done right. I’m not sure if it’s the extent she want with the “out-of-body experience” that dropped the rating or what. However, I loved the perspective swap of the time stamp for present and the past memories giving us some context to the story. Gayle Forman did an amazing job at keeping in panic though. She didn’t down play any panic Mia should have had.
If I Stay also has a movie adaptation that I have not seen.
Even though they don’t know who we are, they pray for us. I can feel them praying.”
The above line hit me. Not because of the religious aspect, but because it was right after she was panicking. She just realized she was alone. Her mother and father were dead. She doesn’t know if her brother is alive or not … She just found her own body and now these random strangers are gathering around not leaving her alone.
This is the only book that has ever made me actually want to cry. I think it’s because of my connection to orchestra … and loss? I would have loved to have had that day in San Francisco with my grandpa like Mia did after her audition to Juilliard. Or maybe it was partially for the feeling of never quite belonging in whatever circle you’re in or belonging in your family.
It’s kind of scary when she realizes that coming back was her decision. She was panicking but she just went back and forth and it shook her.
I love Mia’s love for music and want to be better … and want to be better in honor for others.
When she realized that her little brother, Teddy, had died … it was so, so sad. It was so sad that she wanted to give Teddy a “magic kiss” to fix him like when he was a little kid. She went into more panic. I listened to the audiobook, so listening to her debate it she wanted to wake up was like listening to someone that was suicidal and not being able to help. It was awful.
I don’t like that she needed Adam to come back to reality. However, I do love that it was him saying “I’ll let you go if you stay” is what let her come back. I cannot believe that no one else thought of playing music for her. It’s really cliche for the girl to need the guy to live or want to stay.
I really enjoy that she woke up to music since music is important to me as well. A squeeze of the hand and that’s all that she needed to do to let him know she’s staying.
Have you read “If I Stay” by Gayle Forman? Have you seen the movie? What did you think of either of them? Let me know if the comments below!
In the meantime, keep calm and stay epic,