Book Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman


Choices. Life is absolutely full of them. Little ones, big ones, easy ones, difficult ones. They’re all important though in order to take you further down your path. Sometimes they make or break you. And sometimes they make themselves for you. This is exactly what seventeen year old Mia discovers in the heart-achingly beautiful book If I Stay by Gayle Forman.


Mia is facing a lot of decisions in her final year of high school. Does she stay true to her first love – the cello? Or does she choose a smaller path that will keep her with Adam – the boy she’s come to love? These are the all-important questions that Mia must answer in just a few months’ time.

But one February morning, Mia goes on a car ride with her family. Who knew that this car ride would lead to the biggest decision Mia would need to make? When Mia and her family are involved in a bad car accident, she goes into a coma with extensive internal injuries. She really shouldn’t be alive. But she is. And as Mia discovers by living a day outside of her body, it is her choice whether she stays or goes.

A Heart-aching Story

Chills and heartache. What’s better in a book, right? You get both in If I Stay. Forman has always been good at pulling on heart strings with her love stories. This is more than just a normal love story though. Even as Mia is deciding whether to live or die, it isn’t all about Adam. It’s clear that she loves music too. And as she decides whether to stay or go, this and many more things factor into her decision. What will her life be like when she wakes up? She encompasses it as a whole as she decides. It is not what you would expect from a seventeen year old. But it is clear that Forman has not created a normal seventeen year old. She doesn’t fit the mold. And it is her being so different and unique that makes her decision so heartbreaking. It’s what gives the story every ounce of its emotion. She’s a strong character and I was excited to see what decision she would decide to make.

Reviewer’s Thoughts

I was very surprised by this book. I added this book to my TBR list a long while back. But when I saw that it was being made into a movie, I decided to bump it up and get it read before the movie came out. And I was shocked at how fast I read it. I couldn’t put it down. I hung on every word Mia said. And it was definitely heart achingly beautiful. You could feel everything Mia felt throughout the entire book. Her shock, her sadness, her excitement, her tiredness, and her strength. Forman flawlessly threaded her characters and their stories together in If I Stay. I recommend this book to all teens and young adults. And I give it 5 out of 5.


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