Review “If I Stay” – Gayle Forman

August 11, 2014 Book Review, Initial Reaction 0

Review “If I Stay” – Gayle FormanIf I Stay by Gayle Forman
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Published on: April 2nd 2009
Published by: Dutton Books
Pages: 210
Series: If I Stay #1
Genre: YA Romance
Format: Paperback

Buy UK . Buy US. Goodreads

This book is part of the If I Stay series. You can find my reviews of the rest of the series via the links below:

If I Stay (If I Stay #1)
Where She Went (If I Stay #2)

If I Stay (Movie Review)


(summary from Goodreads)

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.



This book, in its most basic form, is a story about a seventeen year old girl who has to make the choice whether  to live or to die.

As humans our most basic instinct is to survive so I went into this book very much wanting Mia (who I didn’t know at the time) to survive, I mean how could someone with that choice chose any different? But as you read Mia’s story you start to understand what she is going through and how sometimes the decision is not as easy as you think.

“Sometimes you make choices in life and sometimes choices make you.”

I think the thing I loved most about Mia was that she was real. It probably seems a bit strange saying that as for most of the book she is having an out of body experience, but Mia the girl, the character, she was very real. She is a normal teenager with normal dreams, normal dilemmas, a normal family and even as her story becomes more extraordinary then ordinary she still manages to keep that normality. Even from the start this book is all about Mia’s choices. At first she is struggling over the decision to leave home, her family and boyfriend to pursue her love of music and this is for her the most important and toughest decision she has, and thinks, she ever will make.

“I realize now that dying is easy. Living is hard.”

As I said before, this book is very much an out of body experience for Mia, but no worries there are no other ghostly people walking around the hospital or grim reapers trying to snatch her up. It is mostly Mia’s chance to see what is waiting for her should she decide to stay. The story is a mix of present day and memories of the most important memories that make up Mia’s life. Each of her memories shows her how amazing her life is and how many people she has that love her, giving her reason to live. But at the same time they show her what she has lost, and what would be missing from her life if she returned to it.

“I’m not sure this is a world I belong in anymore. I’m not sure that I want to wake up.”

Mia has a whole family of people supporting her, but the one that deserves the mention here is Adam, her boyfriend. The lengths he goes to just to get into her hospital room to see her shows his love and dedication to her, and in flashback memories of Mia’s we get to see even more of that. I was totally in love with him after only a few pages. He is so special in the way that he understands Mia perfectly, even when she is unconscious, and though he wants her to live you get the feeling that he understands that the decision she must make is not an easy one, and may not end the way he hopes.

“Love, it never dies. It never goes away, it never fades, so long as you hang on to it. Love can make you immortal”


Final Thoughts

This book brings on all the feels, there was laughter, tears, smiles, a whole rainbow of emotions. But it was beautiful, and it was humanity at it’s rawest, dealing with the most important choice of all. I can’t say that I would know what I would do in Mia’s position, but going on this journey with her really opened my eyes to the important things in my life. You often loose sight of which things they are and it’s extraordinary books like this one which are there to remind us.

Re-Readability: Definitely

I would recommend this book to: YA contemporary, YA romance, inspirational reads, books with great quotes, books about love


Have you read If I Stay? Have you read the sequel Where She Went?

What about the film adaptation?

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