Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 3828
Deep, engrossing, emotional
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Previously published on my blog: http://fictionfervor.wordpress.com/2012/07/24/review-if-i-stay-by-gayle-forman/

I’ve been letting this book sit in my head for the past few days because I really can’t put my feelings about this book into words. So I’ll settle for a very vague word: indescribable. If I Stay is purely indescribable.

The characters in this novel could be my best friend, your best friend, someone’s best friend’s best friend … They are so realistic that I think that if I tried to touch them, I’d feel living flesh. The complexity of these characters just astounds me. Mia is quiet, shy–but she’s incredibly dedicated to playing cello. I don’t often read music geeks in novels anymore, but I always love when I do. I’m a violin player myself, though I’m not very devoted to music; however, my best friend has been in love with her piano since she was 4. And since I don’t have that kind of connection with my own music, I’m curious: I want to know what that special kind of happiness is. So far, I’ve only been able to compare it to my love of reading and writing. I’d say that it’s this wonderful feeling that trembles in your body; it’s something you can cherish and makes your heart burst. Utter joy.

Mia’s relationships with others are also incredibly unique, and you know that I’m a big fan of unique. She and her best friend, Kim (who is the queen of sarcasm), were originally mega-enemies; they didn’t like each other just because everyone thought they should be best friends. But after one fight, they became instant buddies. Mia and her little brother, Teddy–who is absolutely adorable, let me tell you–are thick as thieves. And Mia and her parents are practically polar opposites; her dad was once a rock band drummer, and her mom is a total rocker chick. Obviously, with Mia’s interest in classical music, their tastes clash. But the four of them make a hilarious family.

Here is a description of the typical young adult book boyfriend: dark, steamy, handsome, hawt … you get the point. They’re supposed to knock you off your feet. So guess what the guy–Adam–does in this book?

No, he doesn’t knock you off your feet. But he is so incredibly sweet. Little things here and there just make you fall for him–like Mia did–before you even realize that you fell for him–like Mia realized. Their relationship is so un-clichéd that I want to leap for joy. Because they get in fights too. They have their differences too (Adam plays in a rock band). They are just a regular teenage couple–but the two of them are just so deeply in love I want to cry.

But the part I loved the most about this book: the lesson. ‘Cause the cover pretty much sums it up with that one question: what would you do if you had to choose? If you were in a car accident, if your parents were dead, if your little brother might be on the verge of death, if you were stuck in a coma, if you knew that there was nothing for you if you came back except for a boyfriend and a best friend and a few relatives … would you choose to live or die if you had the choice?

It’s a deep question. Right now you might say, “I’d choose to stay, of course,” but think about it. Take a deep breath and sit back and just think. You would be a seventeen-year-old orphan. Your life would definitely not be the same as it was before the accident. Would you really want to stay? Because, remember, you can’t take back your choice. You’re stuck with it.

And before you say, “Of course Mia chooses to stay; I mean, after all, there is a sequel,” I’d like to point out that the sequel takes place from Adam’s point of view three years later. But you might not want to read the synopsis for that, because it’ll definitely spoil If I Stay.

Deep and engrossing, If I Stay is a must for any reader. Such an emotional novel is guaranteed to kindle a response to the biggest choice one could possibly have: to live or to die.

Source: Paperback received from giveaway
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