If I Stay by Gayle Forman, published and available to purchase.
Read: September 2014
Genre: Young Adult/Romance/Contemporary
Get It Now: Wordery
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.
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.
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!