Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 5026
Beautiful and Heart-Wrenching
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
On setting out on my reading journey for If I Stay, I was full of anticipation, because I have heard a lot of good buzz about this title, but also a bit cautious, due to the Twilight comparison on the cover. Let me state for the record that this book is nothing like Twilight. All they really have in common is that both are YA novels aimed primarily at a female audience.

The opening of the novel definitely worried me as to whether I would like the book (which, just so you know, I did). The first page includes a description of the snowfall: "It isn't even an inch, but in this part of Oregon a slight dusting brings everything to a standstill as the one snowplow in the county gets busy clearing the roads" (3). This sounds like a description of the reaction to snow in Atlanta, not Oregon. As a northern state that, to my knowledge, gets a pretty good amount of snowfall, there seems to be no way they could be so unprepared for the inclement weather. Or the kids would just never have school.

That section aside, I really, really likes this book. It deals with a serious topic, but does so without being preachy or heavy-handed. The writing is fairly simple and even distant in places, but this fits perfectly to the tone of the novel. The whole story just came together beautifully.

What really made the book work for me (and made it completely different from a book like Twilight) was that it did not focus only on Mia's romance. She is in love with a fabulous boyfriend, yes, but he is not all she thinks about. She also spends her time, as she makes her decision, contemplating her family, best friend and love for the cello/classical music. The flashback sections of the novel were definitely my favorites. They just burst with life and I could really feel the love Mia had for those people in her life, even in the times where everything was not as happy. Plus, they felt like real relationships, not like melodrama.

My suggestion to you, dear reader, is to put on a CD of gorgeous cello music and enjoy, although perhaps not on a day when you're sad. For a somewhat similar read (in mood more than anything else - I kept thinking of this book as I read) try The Adoration of Jenna Fox, which I read earlier this year.
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