Jess's Reviews > If I Stay

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
4643578
's review
Mar 29, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: fantasy
Recommended to Jess by: Heather
Recommended for: Young teens
Read in June, 2010 , read count: 1

This book could have been great, but it was almost embarrassing to read at times. I know that sounds pretty mean, but c'mon.

I can appreciate any novel that mentions Kathleen Hannah and Courtney Love in positive context (it also earns points for being set near Portland!), but I can't respect a novel that is full of cliches, unrealistic characters, and CHEESE. I almost had to stop reading when one character "played the other character's body like a guitar", and I actually did stop reading for awhile when the girl brought out her damn cello bow and started running it along her boyfriend's body. Seriously? Would this ever really happen? I know this is fantasy, but the author doesn't write it like it is supposed to be a dream.

The parents were the worst part of the book for me. They were the parents absolutely every teenager in the Western world wishes that they had- cool, young, know music, laidback, had wild young adulthoods, act like teenagers, and are just so damn awesome it hurts. There really is no happy medium in teen fiction- parents are either antagonists or sidekicks these days.

The premise was a great one- being able to choose between life or death. And it could've been awesome. But this book was sadly not awesome, it was poorly written and cheesy.
390 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read If I Stay.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

01/30 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-50 of 69) (69 new)


David Gallagher I completely agree with everything you write! I can't fully understand why people go on and on about this book's awesomeness, when I found very little of it.


Jess David wrote: "I completely agree with everything you write! I can't fully understand why people go on and on about this book's awesomeness, when I found very little of it."

Exactly! I could've been full of awesomeness but it tended to fall flat.


Laura Yes! Thank you! And what parents let the boyfriend of their 17 year old daughter spend the night?


Mirella V I agree with all. It was to unreal at times.


Katrina Crichelle Good thing I'm not the only one who thinks this way.


message 6: by Anjali (last edited May 18, 2012 12:01AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Anjali I agree with you completely on the unrealistic charactes. Especially the parents and the family. The author describes them as being the perfect family, great parents who are so easy-going and cool and who take the family on outings and everything and let their kids do whatever they want.
I'm probably wrong, but maybe the author made the family seem so great, happy and perfect so that when they all died we would feel more sad.


message 7: by Lee (new) - added it

Lee Coleman LOL...yes! the ridiculous sex scene with the bow. that had to be my favorite WORST part of the book. great review...i couldn't agree more.


message 8: by Amy (new) - rated it 2 stars

Amy playing each others bodies ...that was ridiculous


Kelly yes! i remember reading the cello bow part and rereading it, trying to understand how this was sexy. All my friends who read this book thought the same way too. And even though it might be unfair, it completely threw this book off for me. Plus, I felt nothing for Mia. In my opinion she put too much emphasis on her boyfriend as compared to some of her other relationships. Maybe just me?


message 10: by Cara (new) - rated it 1 star

Cara I almost couldn't finish because it was so cliche and predictable. And boring.


David Gallagher And now it's a cliche, predictable and boring movie!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2agNe...

(too bad I otherwise really enjoy Chloe Moretz)


message 12: by Cara (new) - rated it 1 star

Cara Ugh. If they say that the book is better than the movie, the movie is in real trouble.


message 13: by Lola (new) - added it

Lola I haven't read it, but when I read the cello bow part I laughed so hard. Doesn't she know that you shouldn't put the bow hairs on skin, because it will get all oily?


message 14: by Pau (new) - rated it 2 stars

Pau Oh, same. When I was reading the cello part, I was literally crying. It was awful.


message 15: by Sana (new) - added it

Sana I haven't read the book, but can u read them on this app? I mean I just downloaded it and idk if u can.


message 16: by Dominique (new)

Dominique 'Liked' for learning that the book mentions both Kathleen Hanna and Courtney Love!


Narjes OMG!!! You completely robbed every single thought I had in my mind!! So true.. I completely agree with you, couldn't be said in any better way.


message 18: by Christy (new)

Christy Campbell I am so glad David described the movie that way. I am so disappointed they've made it into one when I can't even see myself finishing it. I'm glad that I'm not the only one who feels that way about the movie. Thank you David :)


Tessa Black Wow that is a lot of books


Holly Nease I know this is an old review, but I completely agree. I expected it to be more powerful. The only time I felt anything was when she found out about Teddy and her Gramps said she could go. The ending was the worst. It was predictable and very underwhelming. I don't think ill bother with the sequel.


Kristie Yes! I love this review too. This book fell short for me, incredibly short. That's the saddest thing about it. :(


message 22: by Doreen (new)

Doreen great review. the cheese bugged me big time.


message 23: by Tracey (new)

Tracey Hook Love your review!


Kristi Aponte Wow I so agree with this review!


Kristin Pollard Agreed!


message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

I did really enjoy the book, and it is actually one of my favourite contemporary novels, but I completely agree with you on the "sex" scene. I played the cello for three years and when it mentioned they "played each other like their instruments" it disturbed me.


Bianca You know, perfect families and parents like Mia's exist I real life too. They are very rare though, but they exist.


message 28: by Jess (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jess Bianca wrote: "You know, perfect families and parents like Mia's exist I real life too. They are very rare though, but they exist."

I consider my mom pretty much perfect...she's patient, understanding, a good listener, funny, and all-around an awesome parent. But she doesn't try to be the Cool Mom, which I feel is what Forman tried to make Mia's parents into.

This is my take, though. I'm glad cool parents like that do exist (and if you have them yourself, awesome), I personally just didn't find it realistic


message 29: by Jen (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jen McLeod I'm almost half way through this and you took the words out of my mouth. I like the story, but I have a feeling it'll get two stars from me, too. AS IF he said "play me like your cello" and she jumped up and did it. I actually did skim over most of that because it was the most uncomfortable, awkward thing I think I have ever read.


Margo It's like you read my mind


Pupu830 Thank you, so glad to know that I'm not the one who find the whole body music thing was completely weird.


message 32: by Ckuz (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ckuz Thank you! My sentiments exactly!


Heather As someone who has experienced a lot of death in their life this book touched close to home... wasnt as deep as it could have been like others said, but it wasnt as cheesy if you could actually relate to the emotion.

Also, I do think the sex scene was more metaphorical than literal.... most books Ive read that talk about teenage sex don't really get too much into detail about it anyway.


Mallory Emerson I recently finished this novel and I feel it was supposed to be portrayed as a cliché romance novel. Even though some parts were "awkward" they really related to the characters and fit their personalities perfectly. Mia and Adam had a very typical relationship with a few odd things about them. When she played him as a cello, it made it very clear they loved each other.


Leonardoaz I do not know if it's because I do not play any instruments, but it bothered me a little bit on every page name one thing that took the story to the music, I think it was a little forced, until the hot parts, but otherwise this is an exciting story and good reading.


Molly I agree too with every bit of this review


Molly I agree too with every bit of this review


message 38: by Jas (new)

Jas This review convinced me not to read this book. Your reactions are essentially how I would have felt and now I can spend my time on a better book! Thanks!!


message 39: by Jas (new)

Jas This review convinced me not to read this book. Your reactions are essentially how I would have felt and now I can spend my time on a better book! Thanks!!


Camilo Bueno I tought exactly the same when i watched the movie, but the i said maybe the book its better (the book is always better) yet when i read it i know the movie and the book were equally disappointing, pretty much the same, yet it has (for me) one big difference: in the movie you get the feeling that she chooses to stay (for stupid reasons, but she takes the decision) and in the book you get the impression that she didn't decide she just run out of time and suddenly she's awake, that ending it's just neh.


Camilo Bueno I tought exactly the same when i watched the movie, but the i said maybe the book its better (the book is always better) yet when i read it i know the movie and the book were equally disappointing, pretty much the same, yet it has (for me) one big difference: in the movie you get the feeling that she chooses to stay (for stupid reasons, but she takes the decision) and in the book you get the impression that she didn't decide she just run out of time and suddenly she's awake, that ending it's just neh.


message 42: by Emanooz93 (new)

Emanooz93 I dont know about the book but the movie was cool xD


Amiel James My exact thoughts. I just cannot figure it out why most people are on to this book. I also had to stop when I found myself taking a nap and eating comfort food better than reading its every slow-paced chapters.


Amiel James My exact thoughts. I just cannot figure it out why most people are on to this book. I also had to stop when I found myself taking a nap and eating comfort food better than reading its every slow-paced chapters.


message 45: by [deleted user] (new)

The parents really got on my nerves. They were NOT very responsible parents at all. The bow part was absolutely ridiculous. And there was NO PLOT WHATSOEVER! It was just her telling stories about her horrible yet good life the whole time. Predictable and disappointing. I was looking forward to more.


Savannah Durham Absolutely agree! It could've been such a great book! It had such a great plot; choosing life or death. But it was soooo cheesy! Like really, tattoos, guitar player, then the innocent chelloist? And the sex scene was SOOO weird!


Glynis Jane Yep. Completely agree. A disappointing read although I'm sure the teens in the library I run will enjoy it. Think they'll also be weirded out by the musical sex scene too, ha.


message 48: by Rowan (last edited Nov 23, 2014 03:40PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rowan I'm not one of those people that thinks that If I Stay is the best work of literature ever written, but I did really like this book. I play the cello (I have for over 6 years), and I can somewhat agree that the sex scene was strange (and a little awkward to picture in your head). But I don't like that this review (and most of the comments) are all just harping on this one scene. There are SO MANY other better scenes in this book, ones that make you stop and just absorb the beauty of the moment, and quotes that will sit with you for a long time. Now, don't get me wrong, this book definitely had its flaws– her parents really did annoy me at times, with their constant happy-go-luckyness and trying so hard to be "cool". But they say that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and that could not be more true with this book: it's not something where you can dissect each part and expect perfection, but rather a book where the all-embracing experience you obtain from reading it is unequaled.


Jennifer Chiu The truth is, everything is cliche. There isn't a single non cliche unlesss you want to write about a book where paper clips are in an zombie world where they learn to dance until their mommies come home and then they cry all night while licking lollipops. There! That's what you want, non-cliche right? Stop hating.


message 50: by Caia (new) - rated it 5 stars

Caia In Neverland I don't understand the hate. I've read the edition where she mentions how she witnessed the tragedy of losing her friends (couple) and their 2 kids in a car crash and how she went over and over their life's and possibilities, and how maybe there was unsure if he should go with the others or stay, and how suddenly one day she found Mia the cello player and decided to write about them. So maybe some cheese parts as you call them, like her super cool parents and amazing family vibe is actually based in a real people. Anyway I loved the book and the cheese is part if life. Loving is chewy. I love cheese so...


« previous 1
back to top