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If I Stay

A book by Gayle Forman

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A quietly powerful read, highly recommended

  • Jan 3, 2011
Rating:
+5

I read a review on Bibliophile Brouhaha's blog that made me want to immediately read If I Stay and I wasn't disappointed. This audio was just over 5 hours long and I listened to it from start to finish in one sitting. There was no way I could stop without knowing what was going to happen, so I'm glad, for this reason, that it wasn't a longer book. The narrator, Kirsten Potter, was wonderful, really expressing the emotional aspects in the book in a way that made you feel what she was saying.

I would describe this as a quietly powerful read, painful, haunting, bittersweet, and inspiring  We get to know Mia and her family through Mia's memories as she hovers on the brink of life and death, trying to decide whether or not she she should stay. There are many reasons for her to decide either way, and I fully understood her confusion. Just the fact that she had to choose, that she found herself in this position, watching events from outside of her body, I can't imagine how terrifying that would be. I felt fully involved in every step of Mia's journey, although I didn't shed many tears, only at the end and even then just a little.

I was surprised by how much depth each of the characters had even through such small glimpses into Mia's life. I particularly loved her Grandpa and best friend Kim. There were several points where I laughed out loud, once when her little brother Teddy says something along the lines of "Next year, I'll be 8, then I'll be a man and you'll have to call me Ted"  I loved the way the hospital was portrayed as well, it made me think of my nurse friends who always tell me that the nurses are the only ones who really know what's going on in a hospital.

Mia's family was engaging, funny, and lovingly attentive to each other. I wished that I had grown up with a family like that. Her father was a former rocker turned teacher with such charismatic self-deprecating humor. Her mother was a ballsy, strong and protective dynamo of a woman. And little brother Teddy was funny and adorable. Glimpsing their interactions through Mia's memories really made me understand what made this decision so hard for Mia.

Gayle Forman packed a lot of heart into this short novel. I cannot wait to read the next one "Where She Went" which isn't due to come out until April of 2011. My sincere thanks to Bibliophile Brouhaha for bringing this book to my attention with her wonderful open letter to the author  which is what made me decide to immediately grab this from Audible.


Of course I'll be rating this a 5. This is another book that will stay with me long after I read it and that I highly recommend to all.

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January 04, 2011
I started this book, but I never finished it. I've been meaning to get back to it purely because it's so engaging. School kept me away...but one of these days I will get to finish it! Great review!
 
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More If I Stay reviews
review by . July 22, 2009
On a wet, cold and snowy morning 17 year old Mia decides to take a ride with her parents and younger brother to visit family and friends. It's a Snow Day for them and they've decided to make the best out of this impromptu day off. They jump in their car and head off... in the blink of an eye, Mia is standing by the side of the road watching as her injured body is being pulled out of the wreckage. As she travels in this state, between life and death, she watches as her body is transported and treated …
review by . May 03, 2009
Life is complicated for Mia. She has two loves: music and her boyfriend Adam. And pretty soon, she'll have to choose between staying with Adam and her family, and perhaps pursuing a music career at Julliard. Her impending decision is only further complicated one winter morning when she and her family go on a drive that ends in tragedy. Now Mia has only one choice, the one that will affect absolutely everything; should she fight for her life, or let it all go?    If I Stay is …
review by . April 02, 2009
If I Stay is a bittersweet memory of a family and their loved ones. It's told through the eyes of Mia, who watches herself being treated in the hospital as her loved ones surround her. And she has to make the toughest choice of all...    I really love the way the story was told, while Mia is watching over her own body in the hospital she is reminded of memories of her family and friends and through that we got to know them better. It was beautiful how the story of her life unfolds. …
About the reviewer
Donna Smith ()
Ranked #763
What to say about myself? Well, I'm erratic, impulsive, chaotic, opinionated, and genuine. Most often you'll find me lost inside a book. My books are my escape, my refuge, and my safe adventures. … more
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About this book

Wiki

An Interview with Gayle Forman

Q: You started your career as a journalist and your first book is a travelogue about going around the world. Is YA literature a departure for you?

Gayle Forman: Actually, it’s more of a homecoming. My first writing job was at Seventeen, where I spent five years on staff and as a contributor reporting the magazine’s social-issues stories. I loved writing for teens then because—contrary to popular opinion—they really care about serious issues (from child soldiers in Africa to kids embroiled in the drug war here) and the engage in their reading with such passion. So, now that I’m writing young-adult literature, it feels like I’ve come full circle.

Q: This book explores some serious themes. Why is this a book for kids and not adults?

GF: It’s a book for kids precisely because it explores serious themes. Teenagers are grappling with choices about life and love as much as adults, so why shouldn’t their reading reflect that? I don’t set out to write YA. It just seems like I’m drawn to stories about young people. That said, I think If I Stay is for adults, too. I love the idea of teens reading this book and then handing it off to their parents.

Q: Many key characters are serious musicians, and songs are referenced throughout the book. Are you a musician?

GF: No. Except for piano lessons when I was a kid and a brief spate of guitar playing in my teens, I’ve never played an ...

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Details

ISBN-10: 0525421033
ISBN-13: 978-0525421030
Author: Gayle Forman
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile

First to Review

"Bittersweet Memory"
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