Author: Gayle Forman
Series: If I stay #1
Genres: young adult, romance, contemporary
Length: 5 hrs 4 min
Narrator: Kirsten Potter
My rating: 4 stars
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
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 heart-achingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make, and the ultimate choice Mia commands.
If I stay is one of those books I’ve been putting off forever for no good reason and with the movie version coming out this year it was way past time to read it. It’s one of those generally beloved YA books everyone keeps raving about, so my expectations were pretty high, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Mia is a great character, one I couldn’t help but feel for. What happens to her and her family is truly heartbreaking, and an unwelcome reminder that everyone and everything you care about can be ripped away in a matter of seconds. Her journey from her initial confusion after the accident to the moment she realizes she has the power to decide her own future had me ‘glued to the page’ and rooting for her all the way to the end.
“And it’s while contemplating this that I think about what the nurse said. She’s running the show. And suddenly I understand what Gramps was really asking Gran. He had listened to that nurse, too. He got it before I did.
If I stay. If I live. It’s up to me.”
Her previous life, her relationship with her family and her boyfriend, Adam are described through flashbacks. I felt like the author did a good job of presenting both sides of Mia’s dilemma: all the reasons that made her want to give up on life (her parents and little brother gone) and all the reasons worth staying for (her grandparents, Adam, a possible future at Juilliard). I especially loved these flashbacks, to be honest it was kind of nice to see a functional family dynamic for once. Also, major bonus points for music as an underlying theme. Mia’s passion for playing the cello, and classical music in general shines through, and I could relate.
The ending is fairly predictable of course, but it doesn’t take away anything from the overall reading experience. This book is a great emotional read, and I honestly recommend it to everyone. There’s also a sequel, Where she went which takes place a few years later and it’s told from Adam’s POV, I will be reading hopefully soon.
The audio version of this book is pretty great, complete with cello music (Mia plays the cello), I listened to it in one sitting.