If I Stay

4696466980 6fbc035443 If I StayBuy If I Stay
Special $7.49 (Regular price: $8.99)
Publisher: Speak
Format: Paperback
Reviewer: Melissa on July 28, 2010
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Mia is a 17 year old, who has everything that she could ever want or need: a great boyfriend named Adam, parents who understand her, a brother who looks up to her, and a virtuoso talent for playing classical music. In fact, the biggest choice that she has to make is whether she should follow her dreams of musical grandeur to New York City and Julliard or if you should stick around her hometown to be near her family, friends and boyfriend. Would she be able to make that decision? Who knows because in an instant, the need to respond to a simpler, lower level need becomes so much more important. Sounds like an example of contemporary YA? I thought so too until I realized that Gayle Forman‘s Mia spends the vast majority of the novel “living” an out of body experience and presenting her memories in emotion-filled flashbacks.

How much do I love If I Stay? I love this book way more than I can show you, so I might as well tell you. First, I really loved the easy, happy relationship that Mia and her family has with each other. How often do you read a YA novel in which the main character’s parents seem to understand their child’s needs so well? Even more rarely, how often does the main character actually want to spend time with her parents? I certainly didn’t have the type of relationship that Mia had with her parents, but I definitely admire it.

While the familial relationship that Forman depicts in her debut novel, IfIStay, is powerful and compelling, I have to admit that my love for each of the characters, including Adam, Mia, Kim and Mia’s family goes beyond admiring how well they get along together. Reading this novel, I couldn’t help but think how much I really would love to be friends with them all in reality. I even said to some people on Goodreads that they’re the type of characters you wish you could just hang out with. I’m not sure how often that happens to you, but for me, it’s rare. Sure, I get wrapped up in novels all the time – I feel their joys and pain almost as if they were my own. With this novel, however, my feelings were much stronger. Forman and her characters drew me into their lives and wouldn’t let me go, even after I finished the final page. I couldn’t help but root for them and ponder their experiences as if I had the same limitations. If the reactions of the few people I’ve recommended it to are any indication, then I think you will too.

You’ll find yourself teary-eyed or outright crying in public, but don’t think that this novel is all sadness. In other moments, you’ll find yourself laughing, feeling your heart swell with the swoon-worthy moments, or hoping that the conflicts which come up along the way are resolved. Through it all, the budding romance between Adam and Mia builds and blossoms in ways that are familiar, yet still original because it isn’t perfect – it actually feels real. In short, this novel will bring you the fullest range of human emotions that one teen girl can feel, and it’ll feel like you’re right there along with her.

Believe me when I say, you’ll love If I Stay and you won’t be able to shake the events of the novel from your head for quite some time. Do yourself a favor – add this novel to your to be read pile, go out and purchase it, read it and then if you have a site, review it. Once you’ve read it, you won’t be able to help yourself – you’ll NEED to add the sequel, Where She Went, to your reading list as well. However, you don’t need to take me word alone. Check out the two powerful trailers used to promote the book too!

Buy If I Stay today!

  8 comments for “If I Stay

  1. July 28, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    I love the review ;) Thanks for sharing.

  2. July 28, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    Thanks Michelle! Glad you liked it – I loved writing it. :)

  3. Layla Messner
    July 28, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    You’re right – I only had time to skim and that /still/ made me want to read it. Adding to shopping list right now!

  4. July 28, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    Hehehe…thanks for letting me know Layla! I’d already read If I Stay, but when I realized that there was going to be a sequel, it made me even more excited to read it. :)

  5. bibliophile brouhaha
    November 5, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Spot on, Melissa! I agree with you, and I was certainly one of those who cried.

    Holy crap, I can’t believe she tweeted me!!! Thanks for your post – I would not have known otherwise!


  6. November 5, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Thanks for your comment, Linds. I cried, too, and not always in the privacy of my own home – once I was on my way to work on the metro and people might have seen!

    Of course, she tweeted you. You had a thoughtful and engaging commentary on the book. She wants more people to read reviews like that! :)

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