If I Stay by Gayle Forman (April 9th 2009—Dutton)
Grade: 4.5 stars out of 5
Summary: Choices. Seventeen-year old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?
Then one February morning Mia does for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it’s the only one that matters.”
Review: When I cracked open the first page of If I Stay I expected to go in crying my eyes out, snot running down my nose, and stacks of used tissues besides me. Well, call me the ice queen because that did not happen. But! I feel that I have to say that I did happen to read this book while in school…during an important test…in a classroom filled with silence and many many classmates. And I am a loud crier. So I held it in. So thus explains the non-waterworks.
Gayle Forman presents the reader an interesting question in her novel. What would indeed happen if I did decide to stay instead of letting go? What will I lose? What will I gain? What is there to live for? There were moments where the intensity, the heartache came full throttle at me that I needed a break. My eyes, teary, were blinking vigorously to stop the sobs from coming. I had to breathe in and out, close my eyes then venture back into Mia’s tale. I was that much of a sadist to be reading this in school.
The pace was exquisite. The way she switched back and forth from the hospital to the Mia’s past. She delved into Mia’s relationship between the family members—mother, father, brother, grandparents, her friendship, her love of the cello. Sometimes happy, others nostalgic, all great. Then it reverts back to the hospital—the painful experience of watching and waiting, hoping for the best in the end. Up and down, the emotions flew from page to page. What I love most about this method was the fact that I had a breather every few minutes. I could collect my thoughts and also the novelty of it all. If the hospital scenes were stretch out or if there were no “happy” scenes, I probably, most likely, will end up bored.
The characters were flawed—meaning it was well executed. Scratching your heads at that? Well how would you feel reading about a character who was so perfect? Annoyed? I definitely would be. So it was pleasant to read a book that had problems, people who aren’t so darn prefect, and ones that seem more human than a false image in your mind.
The writing style reminds me much of the stream of consciousness. I plan to not go into further depth of that—just pointing about something that I learned in school! Yay!
Overall: An amazing read that leaves me wanting and expecting more from Gayle.