“If I Stay” by Gayle Forman

I hear the nurse’s words again. I am running the show. Everyone is waiting on me.
I decide. I know this now.
And this terrifies me more than anything else that has happened today.

If I Stay is probably one of the (emotionally) hardest books that I could have chosen to read, and part of me suspects that’s what made it catch my attention in the first place. The situation in which Mia found herself is incredibly similar to something that happened to my grandfather years ago, and once I made that connection, this book took on so much more meaning for me than I ever thought it would. I’m not usually an emotional person; in fact, I pride myself on the fact that I can usually keep my composure… but I will admit that I did come close to tears on several occasions throughout the novel.

The major event in this novel occurs rather quickly, and, as some could even argue, rather early; however, I think that the timing was very good on the author’s part. Rather than giving us a chunk of background, a central event, and then the consequences that followed that event, Gayle Forman gave her readers the best possible chance at exploring everything that If I Stay has to offer. By placing that critical event in the beginning of the novel, she allowed room not only for character development, but for discovery as well.

Over the course of the novel, we as readers are taken through the organic flow of Mia’s thoughts, and most of the things we learn about the other characters in the novel come from her. I usually find this style to be intriguing, as long as it’s done well; in this case, I was not disappointed. Her character had a good voice, and reflected emotions that resonated pretty strongly (with me, at least.) However, I will say this: upon reaching the ending, I was expecting something a little different. Now, I don’t want to spoil anything, so I won’t go into detail; for now, I’ll just say that it wasn’t as impactful as I had expected.

Overall, though, I would say this book is worth reading.

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3 comments

  1. I do see how this can be an emotional read, especially for readers that can connect to it. I read this a couple of years ago, and I have to agree, the ending wasn’t as impactful as I wanted either. But great review! And welcome back to the blogosphere! 🙂

    1. It seems like a lot of endings from books like that aren’t quite as impactful as the reader wants them to be. At least, that’s been my experience; I usually end up loving a book, only to be slightly disappointed by the ending.
      Thank you for the kind words, and for the welcome. I really appreciate it. 🙂

      1. The good thing about this one is that there’s a sequel as well! 🙂

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