Book Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

if i stay cover

View from the window seat:
Seventeen-year-old Mia has a good life with her rocker boyfriend Adam, her best friend Kim, a loving family, and a passion for playing the cello. On a drive with her family on a snowy day in Oregon, the unthinkable happens: a car accident that  has Mia watching as paramedics and doctors try to repair her broken body. Mia will have a choice to make, one that will change everything.

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: I have a new favorite YA contemporary author. I put this book down, and my reaction was just…wow. I’ll start with the writing itself. So beautiful, so perfectly evocative that every page made me feel something. Gayle Forman writes in such a way that on the very first page, I instantly got a sense of Mia as a character. Mia’s voice is so clear, I felt I knew her right away. At 201 pages, If I Stay is a quick read, but the spare writing fits so perfectly to this story that I didn’t find myself yearning for more. It’s complete as it is.

Now onto the relationships. I love how totally realistic they are and how different they are from other YA contemporary stories. Adam and Mia don’t suffer from insta-love or a perfect relationship. Their relationship starts off awkward, they argue, their friends don’t click immediately. It’s real and messy and they have to work at it. Mia and her best friend Kim don’t hit it off right away either. I love the hilarious moment when they actually became friends. Not only does Mia have a great relationship with her parents (unlike the absentee parents so common in YA), but her parents are hilarious and so very human too. Their relationship isn’t perfect either.

Overall impression:
If I Stay made me FEEL ALL THE FEELS. A lovely, heartbreaking story that now has a place in my favorite YA contemporaries. I will definitely be reading Where She Went, the sequel, as soon as I can get my hands on it.

Rating:
9

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3 thoughts on “Book Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

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