The first thing I thought while reading this novel was “I can’t read non-fantasy YA as an adult”. Well, the actual first thing I thought was “wasn’t tThe first thing I thought while reading this novel was “I can’t read non-fantasy YA as an adult”. Well, the actual first thing I thought was “wasn’t that whole plot set-up done by R.L. Stine as a Goosebumps?”. The point regardless is that I did not enjoy this novel.
Our protagonist is seventeen year old Mia. Mia’s got a lot of things going on for her; specifically a lot of things that can only be found in the pages of a novel (or tv show) aimed at teenagers. She has a super-rad set of parents who are cool enough to not give a shit if she drinks or sexes, an adorable little brother with a big enough age gap that there’s zero sibling rivalry, a prodigal musical talent that is going to take her IMPORTANT PLACES, and most importantly, a hot older boyfriend who also happens to be in a band with a rapidly rising star. That is, Mia has all of these things until she’s in an awful car accident with her family one winter morning.
This book follows Mia’s journey navigating the “in between” space that separates life and death as she tries to make the decision to stay in the mortal world and face a depressingly different life or to move on into the unknown ether. We don’t know what waits for Mia if she decides to peace out on the mortal coil but we do get to relive the highlights of her life so far with her as she hangs around outside of her comatose body as well as see her loved ones’ pain as they confront the accident’s aftermath.
“If I Stay” was blatantly written to tug at heartstrings and my heart of stone remained unmoved. If I read this as the morbid teenager I once was on a rainy night I probably would have liked it. However, reading it as a 27 year old on a rainy night with a fussy baby curled up in bed next to me, I was decidedly unimpressed. There wasn’t much in the plot or writing that resonated with me, even though the blurb sounded like something I would enjoy. I found pretty much everything about Mia’s life to be so wholly unbelievable, I couldn’t let myself be swept up into the emotional storm I think the author was trying to create. I read this book as a selection for the Goodreads Chicks on Lit book of the month and although I didn’t vote for it, I was intrigued based on the synopsis and so many high ratings here on Good Reads. After finishing it, I am reluctant to venture into YA territory again anytime soon. ...more
Sophie Kinsella novels have become my go-to choice when I feel like reading something fun and predictable with a happy ending. Whenever one I haven'tSophie Kinsella novels have become my go-to choice when I feel like reading something fun and predictable with a happy ending. Whenever one I haven't read comes up in the "little free library" at work or the thrift store, I grab it to have on hand. Although Twenties Girl is my definite favorite, I have generally enjoyed the other Kinsella books I've read. However, I was disappointed with The Undomestic Goddess. The predictable plot line in Kinsella's novels is something I'm used to and generally enjoy but the characters in The Undomestic Goddess were flatter than a freshly ironed collar and the story so implausible to border on obnoxious. In fact, the whole setup of this book made me uncomfortable-why did Samantha become a housekeeper to escape the demands of her high powered career? She could become a librarian or bus driver or garbage person and it would have been equally absurd, but her escape into domestic servitude makes me wary about what sort of broader message this book was intended to send. I certainly don't think women need to pursue careers they find unfulfilling for the purpose of breaking glass ceilings and personally, my career aspirations are minimal to non-existent but I was never able to settle into this novel because of my lingering unease with its central theme. ...more