Friday, March 18, 2011

Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Published by Dutton Juvenile
Date Published: April 9, 2009
Rating: 5/5
In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...

A sophisticated, layered, and heartachingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make—and the ultimate choice Mia commands.
Word to the wise, this one's a heartbreaker! Honestly, I didn't know what to expect when diving into it. I was told it was like Thirteen Reasons Why, which is one of the most heart-wrenching/amazing books I've ever read, so I knew it could be a doozy! I wasn't even completely sure of the premise of the story except that something sad happened. I just dove in awaiting what was soon to come.

The day starts out like any other, except it's a snow day! School's been called off and so has work for her parents. They decide it's been a while since they saw the grandparents so the hop in the car and begin heading down the road, over the river and through the woods. Little did they know what would happen on the way. The other car came out of nowhere and swerved into theirs, causing a terrible accident.

As Mia wakes up, she actually sees herself in the wreckage and thinks that she must be dead. As the ambulance comes, she sees the EMT checking on her parents and little brother Teddy and soon she is medivaced to Portland's hospital where she is immediately taken into surgery. This story takes Mia on a journey in an out-of-body experience that will change her life forever. As she watches everything going on in the hospital, she sees those she loves come to her bedside and beg for her to fight for her life. She must decide, whether to stay and fight for what she has left, or leave the world behind and stop fighting.

Wow. This story just blew me away! Gayle took me from high to extremely low and brought me back up again all in the course of 234 pages! That's impressive! Mia tells her story from an entirely ghost-like state as she recounts memories with her family and friends. Her story is truly heartbreaking and I easily felt sorry for everything that happened to her in the course of 24 hours.

I loved the way that Gayle told this story. Not directly from Mia's POV but from Mia who was on the outside looking in on her own life. Not in chapters or parts, but in different times throughout the day. I also loved that she tied in all of the memories that she had, which helped the reader become a part of Mia's fight to survive! I found myself thinking "Come on, Mia! you can pull through!" And I was clinging to each past destined for the end as I fought along side of her.

In the end, I was speechless. I closed the book and soaking it in for a minute or two before putting the book down. I was honestly amazed with this book and am not sure quite how to say it anymore then that. If you've read Thirteen Reasons Why but not If I Stay yet, you definitely need to! And vice versa! This book will leave you breathless. I promise.


  1. Love this review. I really want to read this book now.

  2. Thirteen Reasons Why is definitely one of the best books I've ever read, which is actually why I've resisted reading this book. I saw them (on amazon) on the same day, and I chose 13, and now I'm resistant to reading similarish books, because I'm scared they can't live up to it. But this review definitely made me want to try! I might have to pick it up! Thanks!
    new follower!

  3. I totally agree with you! Every time I see something related to this book, I feel like sobbing again. It's a beautiful book that everybody should read.
    Now we have to wait for Where She Went, and (probably) cry again


  4. I adored If I Stay, and the sequel, Where She Went, is definitely not a disappointment of a sequel either!

  5. Al, I really urge you to seek other, similar books to Thirteen Reasons Why. If I Stay was the first of those kinds of books that I happened to pick up and every book since, that has followed that "trend", has not disappointed me.

    Well said, Jeremy. It really is a uniquely told book that is so gut-wrenchingly (adverb!) heartbreaking that I was left torn at the end. This tiny book packs a damn good punch. This is one of two recent books I've ever, and coincidentally enough, the other book is 13 Reasons Why. :P I want to re-read STAY again for the release of WSW. <3 On NetGalley now -- how can I possibly resist?