OVERALL RATING: ★★☆☆☆
Author: Gayle Forman
Series: If I Stay (book 1)
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy, YA, Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 297 (may differ from edition to another)
Mia is a seventeen-year old girl who has the perfect life any teen would wish for- outgoing, understanding and simply “cool” parents, a loyal BFF, a BF who loves her more than anything and an exceptional talent with her cello. Life couldn’t get any better, can it? Well, yes, in her case it does. Mia is on her way to Julliard and if she gets accepted, she is going to have to make some really tough choices about her future with Adam.
That’s before her life changes forever…
Mia wakes up with no recollection of what happened but it’s clear. A few feet away a car is crushed and her body is laying in front of her, blood seeping through her clothes. Is she dead?
Later does Mia know that she is presented with a choice. Should she stay and bear the inevitable suffering of living as the lonely orphan that everyone sympathizes with and give looks of pity? Or should she stop fighting and end this right now, relieve herself to the uncertainty of death and what could be after?
If I Stay is a beautifully written novel where Forman had outdone herself and really seemed in Mia’s character, connecting everything to her main character’s passion-music.
Then I hear something. It’s the music. I can still hear the music. So I concentrate on that. I finger the notes of Beethoven’s Cello Sonata No. 3 with my hands, as I often do when I listen to pieces I am working on. Adam calls it air cello. He’s always asking me if one day we can play a duet, him on air-guitar, me on air-cello. “When we’re done, we can thrash our air instruments,” he jokes. “You know you want to.”
I play, just focusing on that, until the last bit of life in the car dies, and the music goes with it.
It isn’t long after that the sirens come.
Now you must think I’m crazy, giving the book only two stars then proceeding to praise the author’s style of writing, right?
Nope, just wanted to start with the positives!
Now, here’s what I disliked about the book: It’s just a short story excellently exaggerated and stretched into 237 pages. No real thoughts are issued. A book with such deep topic could’ve been more thoughtful, in my opinion. Had I read the first chapter and then skipped to the last one, nothing would’ve felt missing. The whole book was like an extensive prologue with no real plot. Incomplete.
To emphasize, here’s my reaction after I finished the book:
No tears (maybe tears of relief the book’s finally ended, if those count), no feelings, no emotions, no nothing. The book was okay. But not devastating and certainly not “heart-wrenching” as the majority of those who read If I Stay claims. It differs from a reader to another, I guess.
The movie seems to be much better, though!
Believe me this is a really rare case, for a movie to be better than the book itself, so if you haven’t yet go ahead and watch it!