October 8, 2013

If I Stay - Gayle Forman

If I Stay - Gayle Forman
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Series: If I Stay #1
Publisher: Speak
Publication Date: April 6, 2010
Source/Format: Bought || Paperback

Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, admiring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. In an instant, almost all of that is taken from her. Caught between life and death, between a happy past and an unknowable future, Mia spends one critical day contemplating the only decision she has left. It is the most important decision she'll ever make. (from Goodreads)

Thanks to the Gayle Forman Read-Along hosted by my friend Brittany, I finally got around to reading If I Stay. So many of my trusted blogger friends have talked about this book and its companion/sequel Where She Went, and so, I went in a little worried that the hype would make my expectations for this book too high. Thankfully, Gayle Forman's ability to write perfectly concise prose that still expresses all the emotions really came through. 

The novel is a phenomenally thoughtful story about what one girl decides to do when faced with the decision to stay or to go after an accident nearly takes her life. While the concept is so, so simple, the way that Forman tackles it in this book is beautifully done. It's a complex situation, and the sensitivity and surprising authenticity with which it is accomplished is wonderful.

Mia's life is introduced to the reader in bits and pieces. We gradually learn about her life before the accident: her strong family ties, her incredible best friend and her relationship with Adam. Interspersed with that is Mia's present state, which is post-accident, caught in a gray area where she can choose to leave or to stay. While the transition between past and present feels jarring and unsettling, it also feels like the right way to tell this story as it presents the reasons that Mia should stay and the reasons that she should go.

If I Stay is a great novel, and I personally consider it a triumph for Gayle Forman. She manages to woo the reader into becoming completely invested in Mia's choice with the sparest of words. That alone shot her to the top of my favorite authors list; the uniqueness of this story cemented her spot entirely. If you haven't yet, please indulge yourself and read this fabulous book.


  1. Beautiful review, Alexa! I'm SO glad the hype didn't kill it for you. Thank you again for hosting Where She Went in the read along!!! I'm so glad you enjoyed these books :) :)

  2. I've read this book twice. The first time I read it, I didn't get why it was such a big deal. I didn't understand why people cried, why people connected with Mia so much. On my re-read, I chose to audiobook listen while following along in print and it made it a little easier for me to like her, to connect with her - but I have to say that I still didn't really fall in love. Where She Went, however, is a favorite. FAVORITE. And I liked Mia better in that one too!

    I think I was swayed by the hype and just couldn't get over it either time. ):

  3. I really need to read this novel, they are making it into a film, right ?

    I accidentally listened to an audiobook sample of Where She Went not knowing it came after, so I kind of think I'm spoiled about what happens in this book, but I'm still going to get.

  4. I don't think I've read one negative thing about this book. I'm not such a contemporary reader, but I like to branch out sometimes and this book sounds like something I might enjoy :)


  5. I totally just read and commented on your Where She Went review before realizing you reviewed this one right before it. But all of my Gayle Forman/this particular duology stand. I love it. So much. So much amazingness. And you're right, you really do become so invested so quickly. I feel like I was drawn in and stuck in book-land within 5 pages or less.

  6. I'm SO glad you finally got the chance to read this one, Alexa!! It's def one of my favorites. I totally agree about Gayle Forman's ability to make us so invested in her characters. Great review!!


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