Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 4233
Beautiful, haunting, unique, challenging
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
If I Stay alternates between Mia's flashbacks of her life and her out-of-body experience after the accident, watching her friends and family react to what has happened to her, her parents, and her brother. We get to see snippets of her childhood, her interaction with her parents and brother, and the evolution of relationship with her boyfriend, Adam, and her best friend, Kim. Meanwhile, we're also in the hospital, seeing how Adam, Kim, Mia's grandparents and other extended family members are coping. And through it all, Mia has to decide if she's going to succumb to her injuries or fight for her life; if the experiences she hasn't yet had are worth the pain of the world she'd be returning to.

This book hurt to read. While Mia is a bit of a detached narrator, it was still devastating to view the scene of the crash through her eyes, and to experience each of her revelations with her throughout the book. But although there is lots of sadness and hardship in this book, there is also joy and humor. Mia had an overall happy life. She had parents who loved her, a boyfriend who was devoted to her, and friends that cared for her. She had a creative outlet in the cello that the people in her life may not have totally understood, but still supported.

In a way, that happiness made what happened to her that much harder to read about. Her losses were large and meaningful, and it made it easy to understand why she would debate whether or not she wanted to return to a life that had been stripped of so much. There was no clear-cut right or wrong answer, and no matter what she chose, it would have made sense. It also makes her ultimate choice a double-edged sword. I simultaneously agreed with her choice and regretted, along with Mia, what she gave up by making it.

The few annoyances I had with this book were actually not problems with the book, just bits of added realism for the characters. While Mia adored her parents, and they loved her fiercely, as she looked back on her life, she would reflect on some occasions with her parents that she thought were awesome and I thought were questionable parenting decisions. But of course, that's because she's a teenager and these are her parents, and I'm an adult, and a parent, so our perspectives are going to be very different. (Of course, that also has a lot to do with your personal parenting -- and life -- philosophy, and we all know there are as many of those in the world as there are people. So other parents may think Mia's parents are the epitome of parenting, and that's fine too). There were also a couple instances with Adam in flashback that made me raise an eyebrow or two, but again, I understood why they made sense for the characters.

One of my favorite aspects of the book was the use of music, and how Mia, her parents, and Adam were all musicians, albeit very different kinds. Whenever Mia was talking about how she felt playing the cello, or about how her parents or Adam talked about music, I continually thought, yes. This is how musicians think (while I'm not the virtuoso Mia is, I still have a musician's brain). It made me want to go watch cello videos on YouTube (because there are some awesome cello videos on YouTube), or to sing, or to dust off my piano music. I loved how they all related through music, and while they approached it differently, they all understood that the music was the important thing.

If I Stay is a powerful and introspective look at life, love, family, friendship, and how everything we know can change in an instant. It was beautiful and haunting and sweet and sad, all at once. It's not like any other book I've read, and it stuck with me for a long time after I turned the last page.

[Oh, also, I have no idea why the cover blurb says it will appeal to fans of Twilight. While it definitely could appeal to fans of Twilight, it is absolutely nothing like Twilight, except that it features a teen female protagonist with a boyfriend.]
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

Comments

Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

The Final Chance
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Friends no matter what. At least that's what Beth Ann...
Wylder and the Almost Rockstar
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
How much trouble does it take to forget the boy...
Wylder and the Secret Rockstar
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
How much trouble does it take to forget your summer...
Nubia: Real One
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Can you be a hero...if society doesn't see you as...
Mary: The Adventures of Mary Shelley's Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Granddaughter
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Angsty teenager Mary Shelley is not interested in carrying on...
The Obsession
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
A classic sort of love story...except somebody might wind up...
The Project
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Lo Denham is used to being on her own. After...
Kingdom of Ink and Paper (The Betwixt and Between Chronicles Book 1)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Every book you’ve ever read. Every story you’ve ever ...
The First Holidays
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Lila Weston is a pro at keeping secrets, but this...
Wings of Ebony (Wings of Ebony, #1)
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
In this riveting, keenly emotional debut fantasy, a Black teen...
You Say It First
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
One conversation can change everything. Meg has her entire...
My High School Royal Boyfriend
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
ALEX A tragedy at Langley Estate puts my family...
The Forgotten World (The World Apart Series Book 3)
 
5.0 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
Clark thought he knew what grief was. Addie thought...
Tales from the Hinterland
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A gorgeously illustrated collection of twelve “lush and deliciously...
Sisters of Shadow and Light
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
From the acclaimed author of Defy, Sara B. Larson,...
In the Penalty Box
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Willow Figure skating was supposed to be my whole...

Latest Member Reviews

Solving for M
 
5.0
"SOLVING FOR M is a beautiful and enthralling middle grade novel about finding your way in a new school and..."
Zink
 
5.0
"Reader reviewed by Crimin Becky Zaslow has leukemia.  She has to sit through long hours of painful tests and chemo,..."