Friday 11 February 2011

Review: If I Stay - Gayle Forman

'Just listen,' Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel.  I open my eyes wide now.  I sit up as much as I can.  And I listen.

'Stay,' he says.

For seventeen-year-old Mia, surrounded by a wonderful family, friends and a gorgeous boyfriend, decisions seem tough, even when they're all about a future full of music and love, a future that's brimming with hope.

But life can change in an instant.

A cold February morning . . . a snowy road . . . and suddenly all of Mia's choices are gone.  Except one.  As alone as she'll ever be, Mia must make the most difficult choice of all.

If I Stay is currently available in the UK.  The sequel Where She Went will be released on 5th April 2011

Visit Gayle Forman's website for more information.

At seventeen Mia has everything to look forward to.  She has a supportive family who she loves to spend time with, a fantastic boyfriend who is crazy about her and a budding career as a musician ahead of her.  Then one one cold snowy morning a horrific accident changes everything and Mia is left facing the most difficult decision of her life - can she stay or should she go?

I had heard really good things about If I Stay so was looking forward to reading it but I hadn't expected Gayle Forman to make me feel so emotionally invested in a story in just over 200 pages.  The characters jumped off of the pages and it literally felt like you have met each of them in real life.  That level of connection is one of the things that makes the story such a heartbreaking read - be warned this is a book that you will need tissues on hand when you're reading.  That isn't to say that it is a depressing book overall, there were still moments when I laughed out loud while I was reading and the message in the story is an uplifting one about not taking anything in life for granted.

I loved the fact that Mia had such a happy family life, yes they may have their arguments but on the whole they are a solid family who care for each other deeply.  It makes a nice change to read a story where the main character actually wants to spend time with her parents and brother.  Talking of her brother I have to tell you that Teddy was adorable!  There is a 9 year age gap between me and my brother and Teddy really reminded me of how my brother was when he was that age.  If I could have reached into the book and adopted Teddy I would have done, he stole my heart from the very beginning.

The story takes place in a short space of time after the accident and is told from Mia's perspective as she watches what is happening around her in hospital from outside of her body, completely unable to interact with the friends and family members at her bedside.  We get to learn about her life before the accident through flashbacks and this was a great way to see more of her family, friends and Adam and the relationships between them all.

This is a story that will make you think about how lucky you are, after reading I was left wanting to hug everyone I care about and tell them I love them.  It makes you want to make the most of every moment you have as you never know what could happen in the future.  You realise how much you take for granted every day and to me that just shows what a powerful book it is.  I don't want to say any more for fear of giving away the story so I'll just tell you that you should read this book.  It really is a story that everyone can learn something from reading and one that isn't to be missed.

Source: Received from RHCB in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
Insanity, Table for Four
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.


  1. I absolutely adored this book when I read it. I loved Mia completely. This book really does churn up your emotions. Glad to hear you loved it too.

  2. Great review. I thought this story was very good. So heartbreaking. I cried at the end. The character felt so real.

  3. Hello

    What a lovely review - I'll definitely put this on my list.


  4. I've had this book ages and haven't read it yet...I'm really going to have to change that soon. It sounds so powerful and with a strong message too. Loved your review Sarah!

  5. I know what you mean about wanting to hug everyone. That's how I felt too. I think this was one I read before I started blogging so I don't think I have it reviewed yet on my blog. I really must sort that out.

  6. Great review! So happy you enjoyed it, can't wait for #2 Where She Went

  7. @ Vivienne - Mia is such a fab character isn't she! I felt so bad for her with the decision she had to make & am really looking forward to seeing how she is doing in the sequel!

    @ Nina - This one made me cry too but it was such a good read :o) I'm glad you enjoyed it

    @ Lynn - I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did!

    @ Vicki - I can't wait to see what you think of this one, I hope you love it!

    @ The Slowest Bookworm - It really helps you appreciate what you've got doesn't it, that was one of the things I loved about it

    @ Natalie - I can't wait to get my hands on Where She Went, I really want to see how Mia is coping now

  8. @ Veggiemomof2 - I'm glad you enjoyed this one as much as I did :o) I've added a link to your review for you

  9. The story is beautiful. The writing is beautiful. There is just no other word for it.
    One of the things that I loved about this book is how it did not just focus on Mia's relationship with Adam. Mia's flashbacks covered all the aspects in her life family, her best friend, Adam, music, her future. I thought it was pretty cool that Mia and her family were all musically talented. In fact, I actually felt a little jealous and guilty that I don't play an instrument. I tried to learn how to play the acoustic guitar a few years ago, but I just didn't have the patience. Now my guitar is sitting in the corner collecting dust and waiting for me to pick it up again.



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