Review: If I Stay

If I Stay Book Cover

If I Stay by Gayle Formanpublished and available to purchase.

Read: September 2014
Genre: Young Adult/Romance/Contemporary
Source: Purchased
#Pages: 304
Get It Now: Wordery

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Goodreads Synopsis: In the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen-year-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. Heart-wrenchingly beautiful, this will change the way you look at life, love, and family.

The Review

This was an interesting read for me, and this review will likely be completely incoherent, because I don’t know what to make of this book. On the surface, yes – this was a good read, but when I try to pinpoint what I liked or disliked, I get kind of stuck. The relationship between Mia and Adam is thankfully not an instalove, and I adored the parentals and family dynamic. it was nice to see a family that wasn’t falling apart at the seams in a YA Contemporary, along with characters who didn’t have complete crises happening in their lives. Well, prior to the accident anyways. I guess this book is the “before” when it comes to damaged characters with issues in their backgrounds…

I know Jamie @ The Perpetual Page Turner absolutely adores  this book, and everything else by Forman, so I went into it with pretty high expectations, which may have been my downfall. If you want to take a deeper look at this novel then it is a very poignant read, and I found some elements of it to be a trigger for me. Having had a mother who was in intensive care, and literally made it to the edge and back, I can tell you that those elements of the story were very real. Which is possibly why this book didn’t impact on me the way it did on others. You’d think it would be the other way around, right? I tend to block those thoughts and feelings a lot, not necessarily in  a negative way, just in a “let’s not think about that sort of thing for too long” way.

Outside of the novel, the story really makes you think about those moments that seem insignificant at the time, but end up being the moments you dwell on most. It makes you think about those uncontrollable scenarios, that can be as brief as a few seconds, that really can and do change the rest of your life. And that’s a pretty big (and scary) thought to come from any novel, let alone a YA.

I enjoyed the flashbacks to learn more about the other characters in the story. Forman writes some great characters, who all have a unique voice, and not only did I love the parents (which resulted in just a smidge of heartbreak *sarcasm*) but I loved Mia’s best friend too. Oh, and her grandfather, some of his scenes with Mia were particularly gut-wrenching.

The Rating


Although there is little I would pinpoint as being “wrong” with this story, when I finished it I questioned if I really wanted to read the companion novel, Where She Went. I have heard that the second novel is even better but I don’t know if I would buy it, or loan it just so I can find out what happens in the story. Some mixed feelings on this one, that I find hard to put into words. I just watched the trailer for the movie having read the book, and it killed me. A two minute trailer. That song! I love that song!! If the movie is done well, it could really do the book proud.

Have you read If I Stay? Link me up to your reviews if you have! 

About Rachel

Avid reader & #bookblogger. Lover of all things business. A fan of drinks & dancing. Ever optimistic. Feminist.

19 Responses

  1. I actually loved Where She Went even more than I did If I Stay. And not only because it talks about the aftermath of that pivotal scene in the first book but also because it was for me, the fulfillment of the whole story line, who went in a direction that I really, really appreciated. I hope you’ll still be able to pick up the sequel. Thanks for the review, Rachel! 🙂


      1. Yay, I hope you can read it soon so I can hear your thoughts on it. 🙂 I haven’t seen the movie yet but from what I know, the movie covers only the first book.


  2. I’m glad you enjoyed the book, I think once I finished I kind of expected to absolutely adore it like everyone else, and I enjoyed it and do tell others it’s good when asked, but it’s not a favourite it was just a good read. I finished Where She Went a few days ago. I’d avoided it because I wasn’t in love with this book, but I can tell you now it seems like a completely different book. It’s written in a similar way to If I Stay, but it’s from Adam’s perspective and there was just something about it that I enjoyed more. I would definitely say it’s a book you should read if you get a chance if you can borrow it whatever and thanks for the great review, always nice to see someone with a different opinion about such a talked about book.


  3. Carol

    I loved If I Stay and Where She Went. I thought they were both amazing but I was disappointed by the movie. I didn’t find it to be as powerful or as poignant as the book.


      1. Carol

        See I’d never heard anything about the books before I read them, maybe thats why I enjoyed them so much. I was in your position when it came to We Were Liars – it was good but man was it over-hyped!
        Throne of Glass can never be over-hyped. It is worth all the hype and more!


      2. Carol

        I know and everyone says it amazing and I was just like, “It was alright, come on now lads let’s not exaggerate…” still likely to pick up more by E. Lockhart though.

        Oh I was the same! When I started reading Throne of Glass I thought it was good but I wasn’t overly obsessed but the second I finished I bought the Crown of Midnight ebook and started reading straight away. I’m actually devastated that I don’t own a physical copy of it! It’s definitely on my to-buy list! The novellas are just wonderful too! The only dodgy one is the Assassin and the Healer but the last one if just heartbreaking…you’ll love it (You’re soul will be crushed but you’ll still love it.)


  4. Brandie

    I wish I could remember this book – I read it a long time ago. I remember reading the second book, too and I wasn’t all that impressed with it. I would like to see the movie sometime. Glad you enjoyed it enough. Great review!


  5. I really enjoyed this book, but the first time I read it I had 0 expectations. I’d got it for £1 in Sainsburys and there was no hype surrounding it at all. I don’t know what my experience would have been like if I had read it after hearing all the hype. I did really enjoy the sequel too, it’s very different to If I Stay though.

    Saw the movie and really didn’t like it. It was okay but it was nothing special and far too cheesy.


  6. […] just half-quoted Mean Girls, this tag will haunt me. I was cautious about reading Paper Towns and If I Stay, and for good reason, as both underwhelmed me. I’m always cautious about Colleen Hoover books […]


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