, , , , , , , ,

If I Stay
If I Stay #1

by Gayle Forman

genre: literary fiction

I’m starting to think that reading books because I want to see the movie is a bad idea. It’s led me to move negative reviews than positive ones. Though it was a New Year’s resolution, I’m starting to think if I want to see the movie, I should just go see the movie.

Summary from Goodreads

If I Stay

Just listen, Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel.

I open my eyes wide now.
I sit up as much as I can.
And I listen.

Stay, he says.

Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?

Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it’s the only one that matters.

If I Stay is a heartachingly beautiful book about the power of love, the true meaning of family, and the choices we all make.


Why I Chose the Book

As you may have guessed, I wanted to see the movie.

Initial Thoughts

Though I haven’t read The Lovely Bones, I’ve been told about it. The writing style of If I Stay sounds similar; it’s told from the point of view of a car crash victim while she experiences an out of body experience and works through whether to stay alive or move on to the after-life.

Final Thoughts

I should have realized that reading an entire novel about a girl trying to figure out if she should live or die would be depressing. Somehow wanting to see the movie blinded me to that concept. Finished the book but probably can’t bring myself to see the movie now. It was 5+ hours of depression, well written depression, but depression.

I sobbed like a baby, sometimes so hard that I put my hand to my chest trying to get the pain to stop. I felt heartbroken, and that’s amazing writing, but the book was not for me. I didn’t realize until writing the review that there’s a second book. While I’m hoping it will be less depressing, I doubt it. She’s become an orphan and her body is in pieces after multiple surgeries. Whatever happens next for Mia, it’s not going to be an easy journey.


I was not expecting to learn anything, but as a result of reading If I Stay, I’ve learned it is possible for two blonde haired, fare skinned, blue eyed parents can have a brown haired, brown eyed, darker skinned child. It’s rare, but possible. An unreasonable portion of the book was about how Mia thought she never fit in with her family and they joked she was switched at birth. I spent so much time wondering if it was even possible for her parents to have given birth to her that it distracted from the story rather than enhancing it. It would have been enough to highlight her different taste in music. Maybe downplaying the physical discrepancies but leaving them in there would have been better… but then I wouldn’t have learned anything.


3 out of 5 stars

-Eliabeth Hawthorne

To see what other books we’ve reviewed, check out our book reviews page.