Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

11 January, 2012 Reviews 2 comments

Review: If I Stay by Gayle FormanIf I Stay by Gayle Forman
Series: If I Stay #1
Published by Dutton Children's Books on April 2nd 2009
Pages: 201
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
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five-stars

In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...

A sophisticated, layered, and heart-achingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make, and the ultimate choice Mia commands.

I played the violin for five years and the viola for three.  It is the piano that only lasted for one year.  My older brother and I began our lessons together when I was nine.

My brother was a smart kid, but he didn’t know it then.  It didn’t help that his little sister was extremely competitive, precocious and bratty.  I think he always believed he didn’t have much going for him – but boy he has it where it counts.

Back then I thought I was so much smarter than him, and taking up the piano was another chance for me to prove that.  Unlike my brother, who had never played an instrument before, I could sight-play and was already studied in the necessary music theory aspects from the violin.

And, in form, I was better than him.  For a while.  Effectively speaking, I always was always going to be better at him in the technical arena.  But he was better where it counted.  When it came to the heart of the music, bringing a piece alive and making it beautiful – I was completely outclassed.  I played like a robot and he played with his soul.

This book makes me regret that more now than I’ve ever regretted it before in my life.

If I Stay is a beautifully written, character-driven novel about a girl choosing between life and death.  It was also one of the best narrated audiobooks I have ever listened to.

Mia’s body is in ICU and she is waiting to die.  As the events from her car crash unfold, she examines her relationships with everyone to determine whether or not it’s worth staying or dying peacefully from her crash.

There were parts of this novel that had me weeping, my heart aching and my chest pounding with emotion.  Mia’s voice, her relationships, her struggles and her pain are so brilliantly related to the audience.

The writing isn’t perfect.  There are some parts that could have been a little more polished.  Some paragraphs that probably needed another edit.  However, the technical writing aspects are far and above overcompensated by the heart and soul of this novel.

This novel is like Mia’s Cello.  It is beautiful, resounding and emotional.  Just as Mia can play Adam like her instrument, so too can Forman play her audience – strumming all the high and low notes with perfect, breathtaking clarity.  Without a doubt, Forman has it where it counts.

Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books. Find her on GoodReads.
Kat Kennedy
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