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If I Stay #1

If I Stay

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If I Stay (View amazon detail page) ASIN: B007C5P72W

210 pages, Paperback

First published April 2, 2009

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About the author

Gayle Forman

36 books24.6k followers
Award-winning author and journalist Gayle Forman has written several bestselling novels for young adults, including the Just One Series, I Was Here, Where She Went and the #1 New York Times bestseller If I Stay, which has been translated into more than 40 languages and in 2014 was adapted into a major motion picture.

Gayle published Leave Me, her first novel starring adults in 2016 and her latest novel, I Have Lost My Way, comes out in March of 2018.

Gayle lives with her husband and daughters in Brooklyn.

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5 stars
306,547 (35%)
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3 stars
198,205 (22%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 41,304 reviews
Profile Image for Heather.
295 reviews13.9k followers
December 30, 2014
There are two kinds of books, those that you finish reading and leave you with fleeting memories of the attractive hero, the silly heroine, and the overall storyline, or perhaps all you noted was the glaring plot holes, inconsistencies, ridiculousness or flat characters. At any rate, it’s a book that you read, either like or dislike, but no sooner than you have turned the last page, it is out of sight and out of mind. Then there is the other kind of book that will touch your heart, or awaken a lingering memory or a potential fear that will haunt your mind so that even long after you’ve fallen asleep, your unconscious self is still wading through the details. Your dreams will be fitful and when you finally awaken, you will find yourself tangled up in sheets with puffy, swollen eyes from tears that you shed when you weren’t even aware enough to know you were crying. If I Stay is the latter.

Mia is eighteen and has the kind of family any of us would pray to be born to and the kind of boyfriend that can only exist in the fictitious world. Furthermore, she is a gifted musician and is about to be accepted into the prestigious Julliard. Mia has a choice, she can follow her love of music, go to Julliard and accomplish her cellist dreams, or she can stay with her family and the love of her life and follow her heart. Either way, she has something to gain and something to lose. Then, one fateful morning, Mia’s world is turned on its head and life as she knows it changes. The one thing that remains the same is the question that Mia has asked herself for the past few months, should I go or should I stay?

In art, the brightest colors appear beside the darkest of lines and in this book, the most endearing, tender and happy moments are surrounded by grief so palpable, that you will laugh through your tears and sob with a smile. If I Stay demonstrates the kind of beauty that can only exist alongside despair and shines all the more for it. It is filled with happiness and sorrow, laughter and tears, birth and death, love and loss. By writing a book filled with parallels, Forman proves that life has no opposite and thus leaves readers with an overwhelming since of joy and hope despite tears and grief that they are bound to feel.

**Update** I just re-read this book for the forth time and it continues to devastate and delight me.
61 reviews20 followers
June 28, 2014
My impression? It was good. Not fantastic, but okay. Decent. Tolerable. But I'm a bit irritated with this book right now, because it is one of those books that has been ridiculously overrated. Yeah, it was sad. But not 'devastating'. Not 'heart-wrenching'.This book was fine, but I honestly think that if I had read the first chapter and then read the last chapter I wouldn't have missed much. Yes, her parents were both beautiful people who will be missed. And I have to admit the whole story of he brother's life and death tugged at my heartstrings. But at the end of the book, I found myself feeling more bored than anything. This book wasn't new, or original, or groundbreaking. It was a way for me to kill time while I waited for my Mom to pick me up from school. I've seen stuff like this novel a million times before, and most of them were a lot more sad. Sorry Forman, but I'm not impressed.

EDIT: Guys, I wrote this review in 2010. Do you seriously feel the need to continue commenting on this, when I've been messaged by die-hard fans and fellow haters alike, had to answer every possible argument for or against it, and been criticized for ~daring~ to write a less-than-glowing review on a website whose literal purpose is to review, critique, gush about, and condemn books? Are you honestly that rilled up by a negative opinion?

If I Stay just isn't that great. My tastes have changed quite a bit since I read it, and I stand by my opinion. Why do you care? Why are you still whining about it when a simple read-through of the comments will show that I've already addressed your specific complaint? Go away. Write your own glowing review. Watch the movie version coming up (which also looks terrible, but what do I know). Go. Leave. I don't care. I do not care. I don't caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaare.

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jess.
974 reviews59 followers
March 30, 2012
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.
Profile Image for Watermelon Daisy.
186 reviews100 followers
March 4, 2012

In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen year- old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...

A sophisticated, layered, and heartachingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make -and the ultimate choice Mia commands.

- - -

I didn't like the book. I just thought it was completely useless. Nothing was really "sad" except times where Mia had to choose between staying/going, etc. And the plot didn't hold my attention -mainly because there wasn't much of a plot in first place.

I was a little reluctant to admit I didn't like it in first place. Mainly because so many people loved it, I felt as if I was bursting their bubble. But as time moves forward, a lot of people didn't like it either. So I'm not alone.

But before you completely screech at me for not liking such a "brilliant" book, I have my reasons.

- Mia is too dull for my liking. Sure, she likes music and it's supposed to "set her apart" from the rest of the world. Nuh-ah. It doesn't work like that. She's as ordinary/simple as possible.

- There isn't much of a plot. Just a girl wondering if she'd rather die or stay. Maybe for a lot of you, it's a wonderful plot. Not for me. Sorry, but recounting isn't my thing.

- Which brings me to the third point. This story is the wrong story which is being written. As a writer, I worship the rule, "If you have to add a lot of back-story to make your book understandable, then you're telling the wrong story." I agree.

This book is just memories stringed together. Maybe I'm the only one who has a problem with this, if so, forgive me. But I really, really didn't like this.

Oh and as for Adam, I didn't like him much either. He seemed the usual "dark" type. And one of the things I really hate in romance, is when I can't see why the boy and the girl fall for each other. I do understand they both have the passion for music, but so many other people do.

*rant over*

Comment all you like. My mind's not going to change. Sorry.
Profile Image for Kat Kennedy.
475 reviews16.3k followers
January 11, 2012
I played the violin for five years and the viola for three. It is the piano that only lasted for one year. My older brother and I began our lessons together when I was nine.

My brother was a smart kid, but he didn't know it then. It didn't help that his little sister was extremely competitive, precocious and bratty. I think he always believed he didn't have much going for him - but boy he has it where it counts.

Back then I thought I was so much smarter than him, and taking up the piano was another chance for me to prove that. Unlike my brother, who had never played an instrument before, I could sight-play and was already studied in the necessary music theory aspects from the violin.

And, in form, I was better than him. For a while. Effectively speaking, I always was always going to be better at him in the technical arena. But he was better where it counted. When it came to the heart of the music, bringing a piece alive and making it beautiful - I was completely outclassed. I played like a robot and he played with his soul.

This book makes me regret that more now than I've ever regretted it before in my life.

If I Stay is a beautifully written, character-driven novel about a girl choosing between life and death. It was also one of the best narrated audiobooks I have ever listened to.

Mia's body is in ICU and she is waiting to die. As the events from her car crash unfold, she examines her relationships with everyone to determine whether or not it's worth staying or dying peacefully from her crash.

There were parts of this novel that had me weeping, my heart aching and my chest pounding with emotion. Mia's voice, her relationships, her struggles and her pain are so brilliantly related to the audience.

The writing isn't perfect. There are some parts that could have been a little more polished. Some paragraphs that probably needed another edit. However, the technical writing aspects are far and above overcompensated by the heart and soul of this novel.

This novel is like Mia's Cello. It is beautiful, resounding and emotional. Just as Mia can play Adam like her instrument, so too can Forman play her audience - strumming all the high and low notes with perfect, breathtaking clarity. Without a doubt, Forman has it where it counts.

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Profile Image for summer.
248 reviews298 followers
April 19, 2016
I was actually quite shocked to find that this book did not even make me shed one tear. Weird, huh?

Unless you count tears of boredom.


Me: Wait where was the part where I was supposed to cry?

Despite what you’re probably thinking, I did not base this review on whether or not I would cry. I gave it two stars because it did not affect me in any way. Rather, it bored me. Other than the fact that I was bored to tears, I had several major issues with If I Stay.

For one, I failed to empathize with a vast majority of the characters. The connection just wasn't there, slightly contributing to my disliking of this book. Identifying with characters is extremely important for me as a reader, especially with these types of books. I did not appreciate Mia’s emotionless voice -which I know was deliberate on the author’s part- because it did not fit this sort of story.

The characters in this book were much too perfect. It was palpable from that first scene from the beginning of the book, when the family was all together. It was like those perfect, unrealistic American families you see on T.V. It was pretty painful to read about. If you want to know anything about me, I loathe perfect things. Perfection is boring as hell.

Quite often, I found the story to be a bit… messy. It constantly jumped from one thing to another, much to my irritation. To sum the book up, If I Stay was just a jumbled mess of memories, lacking one necessary ingredient: cohesiveness.

I like to compare the plot of this novel to a lost dog. It wanders aimlessly, endlessly, not really going anywhere. More times than I would like to admit, I contemplated giving up the book altogether. I kept questioning why I wanted to continue with this endeavor.

One might argue that that was the author’s intent; to show this feeling of aimlessness to symbolize how Mia was feeling. While this is a good idea in theory, all it really does is bore the reader and make them question why they are reading this book.

But probably what bothered me the most was the very unsatisfying ending. Whilst reading this, I had inferred that maybe, just maybe, all this suck will cease because the author would write such a brilliant, beautiful, life-changing conclusion that would make me give this book 5 stars without a second thought. That I would be blown off my feet by the brilliance of the ending.

Needless to say, my inferring was smashed by how incorrect it was.

The one redeeming factor of this book that stopped me from giving it one star was Mia’s passion for music. You’d be hard-pressed to find a main character as passionate as her, which is one quality of her’s I admired greatly.

Maybe I expected the wrong things from this book. Maybe I’m reading into this all wrong, and missing the message by a mile. I’m sorry, I just didn't like the book. Besides failing to move me in any way, it failed to keep my attention, and for that, I simply cannot give this book any higher than 2 stars.

For the record, I don't exactly hate this book, but I think it was very undeserving of the hype and that it was merely descent. Not anything special.

Others can have If I Stay. I’ll be flaunting my copy of Before I Fall.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews44 followers
August 25, 2021
If I Stay (If I Stay #1), Gayle Forman

If I Stay is a young adult novel, by Gayle Forman, American young adult fiction author, published in 2009.

The story follows 17-year-old Mia Hall as she deals with the aftermath of a catastrophic car accident involving her family.

Mia is the only member of her family to survive, and she finds herself in a coma. Through this coma, however, Mia has an out-of-body experience.

Through this, she is able to watch the actions around her, as friends and family gather at the hospital where she is being treated.

We follow Mia's stories and the unfolding of her life through a series of flashbacks. Mia finds herself stuck between two worlds; the world of the living, and the world of those who have moved on.

Mia realizes that she must use her past and her relationships to make a decision for her future.

Her options are to stay with her grandparents and the love of her life, Adam, or to move on and avoid the pain of living without her mother, father, and little brother.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز سی ام ماه نوامبر سال 2014میلادی

عنوان: اگر بمانم - کتاب اول؛ نویسنده: جیل (گیل) فورمن؛ مترجم: فرزام حبیبی اصفهان؛ تهران، بهنام؛ 1391؛ در 206ص؛ شابک9789645668899؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 21م

عنوان: اگر بمانم - کتاب اول؛ نویسنده: جیل (گیل) فورمن؛ مترجم: مهرآیین اخوت؛ تهران، هیرمند؛ 1393؛ در 204ص؛ شابک 9789644083587؛

کتاب دوم این مجموعه با عنوان: «جایی که او رفت»؛ است

در یک چشم برهمزدن همه چیز تغییر کرد، «میا»، هفده ساله، به خاطر تصادف حافظه اش را از دست داد؛ ایشان تنها میتواند، آنچه را پس از آن رخداد روی داده، به یاد بیاورد، او بدن آسیب دیده ی خویش را مینگرد؛ به آهستگی تلاش میکند، تا تکه ها را، کنار یکدیگر بگذارد، تا چیزی را که از دست داده و ترک کرده، یا برگزیده، بفهمد؛ همین به شکلی زیبا اما غم انگیز، دیدگاه «میا» را به زندگی، عشق، و خانواده اش دیگر میکند

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 29/06/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 02/06/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,990 reviews298k followers
March 30, 2012

Despite the general hype about this book, I had my reservations because I had gone into The Lovely Bones with similar optimism and been highly disappointed by a story that never really took off and was simply drab and boring. After reading the goodreads description for this, I imagined something of the same and could only hope I wouldn't have a repeat performance.

To be honest, if you're looking for fast-paced adventure and a really gripping plot then I'm not sure this book is for you. Gayle Forman uses subtleties and beautiful writing to tell her story in a deeply emotional and moving way. She creates wonderful moments from the most simplistic things as playing cello or going to a concert or the protagonist spending time with her grandfather. Where The Lovely Bones was a book about death, 'If I Stay' is very much a book about life and how the small things we overlook are so important. Forman creates the sense that life is always worth living, even when it seems that your whole world is falling apart - if you have nothing else, you still have a friend who'd risk their life for you. Still think your life isn't worth living when someone would disagree to such an extent?

The many different relationships in the book are told in varied but equally moving ways. The author shows the intricate relationship between mother and daughter, father and daughter, siblings, grandparents and grandchildren, boyfriend and girlfriend, and just that of a person's closest friend. Mia, a shy cello-player from Oregon with only one close friend, is shown in this book to have a life full of love and things to be grateful for. I found it truly inspiring and heartwarming. I will be reading the sequel, without a doubt.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.5k followers
June 28, 2019
dear, oh dear. this gave me major ‘before i fall’ flashbacks, which was one of the most disappointing books i read this year. this isnt as terrible as that, but i definitely have come to realise the whole ‘teen dies but given second chance’ trope is just not for me. which is a shame because there is a lot to be said for the messages and lessons taught within that kind of story.

but for this book in particular, it actually isnt the plot that bothers me the most (although it does, a little). its the constant switching between the present moment at the hospital and flashbacks to the past. only because i was more invested in what happened to mia after the accident and what was going on at the hospital, so the flashbacks to random points in her life distracted me from that. i appreciate that they are used for character development, but i often found myself skimming forward to the present day sections.

on a different note, i actually really enjoyed the ending and i thought it was well done! i quickly read the synopsis for the sequel and it honestly sounds a million times more interesting than this book. so i will definitely be picking that up, as it sounds much more like my kind of story!

3 stars
Profile Image for NickReads.
461 reviews1,196 followers
December 7, 2019
The book is kind of boring but there are some parts that are so very beautiful. Especially the part when Mia joins Adam and her father and they form a mini orchestra in their garden.
Profile Image for Carol Vickers.
265 reviews309 followers
March 24, 2023
What a tragic and deeply emotional story that broke my heart💔!! I was completely engrossed from start to finish. If you need a good cry then this is the book for you. Truly a story that I will remember forever.

This story starts with a catastrophic car accident that involves Mia's entire immediate family. Mia is the only member of her family to survive and is now in a coma. She is some how separated from her body and is able to watch as her friends and extended family gather at the hospital to possibly say their goodbyes due to her grave condition. We follow Mia as she realizes that it is up to her to make the decision for her future. Will she choose to live or to join her parents and brother who have moved on? Will she decide to stay?

It was shocking to me that the story started off with such a bang without really getting to know any of the characters. However, as the story unfolds it switches between two timelines that allows the reader to become fully invested in the characters.

This was such a powerful and thought-provoking read!! It makes you think about the choices we make everyday. Some of those choices are mindlessly easy and other choices are difficult. I will say to be prepared for an abrupt ending which is expected due to book two.


“I realize now that dying is easy. Living is hard”
Profile Image for Pavlina Read more sleep less blog  .
2,434 reviews4,593 followers
July 6, 2014

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

I decided to read this book because I noticed that the movie is coming out the next month!So I thought that finally I must read it!!!And now that I finally finished the second too I'm thinking..Why I didn't start this series sooner???Why???? The story,the characters and general all the concept was perfection!!It's a heartbreaking story about love,family and life!


This book deals with life and death.Mia is a seventeen years old girl who experienced a car accident with her family and now she is the one who is still alive and has to decide..

If she wants to stay...
If she wants to leave...

There are flashbacks from happy moments with her family,her best friend Kim and her boyfriend Adam.I loved so much the fact that music is a big part of this book!Music brought them closer!


If you read this book you will fall in love with Adam and definately like Mia!Mia was an interesting character!She was an average girl who cares a lot about her family,her friends and her boyfriend!And Adam was so sweet and so in love with Mia!!!He was willing to do whatever it needed to get Mia back..(The scene when he goes to the hospital and trys to go to she her and they don't leave him see her...omg :( I feel his sadness...and the scene when he finally can see her omg :(( I was crying...)

"It's okay," he tells me. "If you want to go. Everyone wants you to stay. I want you to stay more than I've ever wanted anything in my life." His voice cracks with emotion. He stops, clears his throat, takes a breath, and continues. "But that's what I want and I could see why it might not be what you want. So I just wanted to tell you that I understand if you go. It's okay if you have to leave us. It's okay if you want to stop fighting."

I loved their relationship how I see it in the flashbacks!!It is slow and deep!They are so comfortable together and this is what I love more about their relationship!

If you are looking for a unique story that will make you think about life,family and love this is what you need!!I highly recommend it!!!Can't wait for the movie!!!!


"I know,Adam said quietly.
But I'm still here.And I'm still crazy in love with you."
"Me too."
Profile Image for James.
Author 20 books3,716 followers
August 1, 2022
4+ stars to Gayle Forman's If I Stay, the first of a two-book series and recently made motion picture. I first stumbled across this book when I saw the movie promo last year, and I recall thinking "oh, that looks like a great story." I had just finished reading JoJo Moyes "Me Before You" series and felt they'd be similar in story and character. I went on my merry way, happily choosing from the physical books on my own bookshelf or my electronic digital subscriptions. (I always need to have 15 to 20 books on hand so it's like a surprise when I choose a new book each time) And then, one day, while waiting for the dryer to finish in my building's laundry room, I perused the small library next door (it's awesome, my building shares books all the time and I constantly find new things to read!), and this book was sitting on the shelf. I grabbed it, tossed it in the laundry basket and well, went on with my day... but yesterday I needed to choose a new book and landed on this one, as I need to read it before I watch the movie perhaps this weekend. And it was an AMAZING choice!

This is the hardest part to write in the review, as I'm not sure where to begin. This book was about so many things, so many, many things. I'll keep it simple:

Mia is a beautiful, caring, intelligent and warm seventeen-year-old in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon, sharing her days with her grandparents, parents, younger brother, best friend, boyfriend and mentor. She's an accomplished cello prodigy nearing graduation with a choice in her soon-to-be future: move to NY for Julliard or stay closer to her boyfriend who needs to remain in Oregon. The thing is... Mia is the teenager we'd all love to meet and be around; she's just amazing as is her family and everything else around her. And you know the cliff is coming, as you've read the book jacket cover and know there's a terrible accident. But then it happens when you least expect it -- and everything changes. Mia is somehow separated from her body and she watches as she's rushed to the hospital for surgery. As she sleeps in a deep coma, her separated self wanders the hospital halls to learn what else happened in the accident (no spoilers here, so I won't say who was with her when it occurred, nor what happened to anyone else). One by one, her remaining friends and family visit her bedside, possibly to say goodbye given her grave condition, and as each person sits near her, Mia's separated self tells readers who they are, how they met, exploring key moments in her life... you fall deep into this tragedy as Mia must make her own choice: to stay or go -- but it's not about moving to NY anymore, it's about whether she will stay alive or go [die].

1. Writing: It's simple. It's direct. It's evocative. It's endearing. It's thought-provoking. You won't be able to put it down.

2. Characters: The entire story takes place over one day's events, but through the story-telling, Mia recounts how she knows each person over her 17 years... and every person is wonderful and stunning and real. I want to be a part of this group.

3. Emotions: You will feel a lot. You will want to know what happens beyond the last few words of the final chapter. Good thing there is a book 2, but your imagination will think a lot about what could have been.


Too short and I wanted more? (~235 pages)

The only reason I didn't give this a 5 of 5 stars is because I felt like it should have gone on longer... I want to know more about her struggle to decide if she stays or goes... to know how each person feels other than thru her eyes and ears. Maybe it will come in book 2, but as its own unit, I wanted more.

Final Thoughts
This is what I call a "contained" book. The story could be read on its own, or it could have sequels and prequels. Your emotions will be contained by the bounds of what you've learned in its 235 pages, and you will walk away from it as a changed person. Not in any magnificent way, but in a subtle way... one where you think about your own life and how you'd make a choice of staying or going, assuming you were in a similar situation as hers. This book makes you think for a few minutes, hours or days... and you won't forget it. Contained because you'll experience a journey in the time you read it, put it down, and after you're on to the next book, it'll feel like the impact was contained to just those few days where the pages were in your hands and the words in your dreams... but far into the future, it will pop back in your head as you wonder how you would have handled it.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.
Profile Image for Natalie Monroe.
595 reviews3,584 followers
January 11, 2021
3.5 stars

Welcome to another exciting fight-to-the-death conversation between Nice Natalie and Cynical Natalie.

Nice Natalie: Here we are again, about to rag on another beloved book.

Cynical Natalie: It's called having an opinion. If you wanna play nice-nice, go stand in the corner with the Stop the GR Bullies people.

Nice Natalie: But you did like If I Stay. The writing sent shivers down your spine, remember?

"And there was so much noise. A symphony of grinding, a chorus of popping, an aria of exploding, and finally, the sad clapping of hard metal cutting into soft trees."

It was just gorgeous the way the writer meshed Mia's love for music with stuff.

Cynical Natalie: Yes, but there's a very big difference between liking something and loving it. We like ketchup, but we looove tartar sauce. And writing isn't the only thing that makes or breaks a story. Marissa Meyer is, for all her accomplishments, a mediocre writer. No offense honestly, but her writing just doesn't sing. Yet I love the hell out of Scarlet and Cress because the characters were fantastic.

Nice Natalie: But you thought the characters in If I Stay were great! They were fleshed-out, distinguishable from one another, and the relationships between secondary characters other than the main characters, like her Mom and Dad, were addressed and developed as well. Do you realize how rare that is in a YA book?

Cynical Natalie: Harry Potter.

Nice Natalie: HP is technically middle-grade.

Cynical Natalie: I don't know... I think it stopped being middle-grade four books ago.

(screenshot taken from this video)

Nice Natalie: Regardless, you can't use HP as an example. It's like telling the Pope that he'll never be God. They're incomparable.

Cynical Natalie: True that. But I still remember Celestina Warbeck even though the last time I visited Hogwarts was in January, but I'm 99.9% sure I won't remember any of the main characters from If I Stay two weeks from now. Speaking of which, what was up with that awkward, albeit beautifully-written, sex/groping scene between Mia and Adam? He was all like, "Play me like a cello."

Nice Natalie: It was meant to be a beautiful moment of bonding.

Cynical Natalie: You mean like Hazel and Gus making out in Anne Frank's house was supposed to be romantic and poignant? Yeah, all I got from the cello scene was awkwardness and moments of suppressed laughter. Try as I may, I can't picture two socially-conscious teenagers doing what they did.

Nice Natalie: First loves are supposed to be awkward.

Cynical Natalie: Not to the point where they make me laugh at the ridiculousness. And I didn't cry at all during reading. Nor did I feel sad actually. I only felt guilty because I hadn't reached my writing quota for the day and I was behind on my reading challenge.

Nice Natalie: But it's about a girl dealing with the deaths of her parents and brother! And whether she should stay because her life will be miserable if she wakes up.

Cynical Natalie: Eh, been there, done that. I don't get why Mia didn't try touching her body to see if her soul would get sucked back in. It always happens that way in movies. That's what I'd do, regardless of everything. But I guess the storyline wouldn't make Mia try that so she can Contemplate Important Life Choices.

Plus, the whole book just felt like a very long prologue. It was just a string of memories with a few strays thoughts on whether she should stay. After she finally makes her decision, the book ends, like, "You wanna find out what happens next? Buy the next book, sucker!" There's no real closure.

Nice Natalie: Do you want to read the next book?

Cynical Natalie: Sort of. But I don't like feeling suckered into it.

Nice Natalie: If you want to read the next one, that means it did its job!

Cynical Natalie: Meh, I guess it did. Still, I won't be rating this higher than a 4.

Nice Natalie: Remember those days when we'd give a 4 as long as we enjoyed the book?

Cynical Natalie: Yeah...

Nice Natalie: I miss those days.

Cynical Natalie: Go stand in your corner. Now.

Other Nice Natalie/Cynical Natalie brawls reviews:
A Girl Like You
The Fault In Our Stars
Dreams of Gods & Monsters
The Martian
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Catching Fire
All The Rage
An Ember In The Ashes
Harry Potter & the Cursed Child
The Hammer of Thor
The Ship of the Dead
The Last Namsara
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,404 reviews11.7k followers
March 2, 2011
Update 3/23/2011. The sequel is a fabulous cryfest. Better than "If I Stay."

Update 3/2/2011. While I didn't love this book as much as many of my friends did, I still think that it has a lot of heart. Looking forward to the sequel.

Original review
It is always difficult for me to write reviews for books that do not have any flaws. "If I Stay" is one of those books. This story of love and family, of choices and happiness, is just so superbly written, I am a little lost for words.

I think the genius of this book is in the realness of the characters and emotions they experience. Not even once do you feel that you are being emotionally manipulated. The story, while tragic, never crosses over into melodramatic or sappy.

Another aspect of the book that I enjoyed (to my surprise) is music. I am not really a musical person and can't normally relate to music-centered stories, but music is a very vibrant and important player in this book. It brings people together, it changes people's lives, it makes one want to continue living when a person thinks she can't go on. In that respect this book reminds me a little of a movie "August Rush" that I also enjoyed to my surprise.

Gayle Forman has definitely earned my respect with this book. I don't know if she will be able to duplicate this success, but I am curious to check out her future books.

Reading challenge: #17
Profile Image for Wendy Darling.
1,631 reviews34k followers
April 2, 2011
If I Stay is beautifully written, with characters that feel solidly real. I pick up any novel like this with a great deal of trepidation, because the potential for treacly, overly dramatic, cliche scenarios abound--but this one exceeded just about every expectation I had and avoids pretty much all the usual YA pitfalls. Mia's relationships with her parents, with her brother Teddy, and with her grandparents were all wonderfully vibrant, in a way that reminded me of Madeleine L'Engle's complicated, close-knit Austin family. Her music, her plans for her future, and her relationship with Adam were all compelling as well.

Even as I appreciated the writing and was engrossed by the story, I was still taken by surprise at the tears that welled up at a pivotal moment near the end of the story. This is a quiet, deep book filled with a stunning depth of emotion.
Profile Image for A.
58 reviews1,435 followers
July 26, 2014
More reviews @ The Beautiful World of Books

Initial reaction upon finishing-

When I heard Seventeen call If I Stay "new TFIOS" I should have turned tail and run in the opposite direction as fast as I could.

But like always my curiosity won.

If I Stay is a boring story that can be told in few sentences but has been dragged into a 200 page book. If this book were any longer, I would have marked it DNF right after reading the first few chapters. This book is about a girl named Mia who experiences a car accident which kills her parents and presumably her brother. Mia gets stuck in a limbo-like state soon after the accident takes place. Later, she realises that it’s up to her to choose if she wants to live or join her parents while she recounts moments with her family, friends and boyfriend from the past.

Here are the problems with the book.

The author fails to make this story interesting. I felt detached from the story and constant shifting of Mia’s memories and her present limbo-like state in the hospital. This book offers nothing new; it is filled with clichés and has a very predictable plot right from the beginning to the end. Mia’s flashbacks of her past just show me that she’s one of the greatest Mary-Sues I’ve read about.

Mia is a Mary-Sue. She has no flaws and depth whatsoever. She’s an obedient and perfect child to her parents, she has a too-perfect-to-be-real boyfriend (who too is another cardboard cut-out crawling through the novel), she has a very happy and problem-free life, she is excellent at academics, she is excellent as a cellist and she has an awesome best-friend (who’s a real meanie to her parents and screams at her mother when the latter started crying upon hearing of Mia’s condition…Ugh! What’s wrong in expressing your sadness over someone’s accident? Are adults not allowed to show emotions?).

Not to mention that Mia’s parents were shown to be extremely perfect and cool people whom all teens would love to have as their own parents. They love rock music, they give their children everything they want, they allow them to hang out with their friends and go to parties, they allow Mia to date Adam and barely bat their eyelashes when Mia brings Adam to their house for the first time and takes him to her room alone. I felt that the author deliberately made Mia’s parents all nice and awesome so that readers would feel very sad when they die.

And what on earth even happened to Mia’s brother? The author tells us nothing about him other than Mia’s assumption that he must've died too. As if he was just there in the story to let Mia play her very-kind-and-loving BIG SISTER role.

This book is full of cheesy scenes like the one where Mia brings the bow of her cello and “plays it” on Adam's body like an instrument.

It also had one of the most unbelievable and emotionally manipulative ending ever.

I gave this book two stars because-

a. I liked the way music was incorporated in every single page of this book.

b. The writing was beautiful.

c. I liked Mia’s grandparents who were good-natured people.

The rest of the book can go in the dustbin.
Profile Image for Lyndz.
108 reviews346 followers
May 8, 2012
The Lovely Bones? I am sure I am not the first person to make the comparison. And yes, in some ways they are similar.

In my opinion, If I Stay accomplished what Lovely Bones set out to do but didn’t. So let’s put that comparison to bed right now.

Mia plays the cello and listens to classical music and she doesn’t care that most people think she is a little odd.

I actually quite liked Mia. I can’t seem to put my finger on what it was about her exactly that I found so endearing, but I liked her none the less. I also liked her friends and her crazy parents. Actually, all of the characters were well written, with depth, and seemed like real people.

Plot: well, see, here’s the kicker. Is there a plot? I really didn’t think so. Does a bunch of stories compiled together in an artful way a plot make? Sorry, but no. Not entirely. Despite the mostly absentee plot, the book was actually quite well written. It was artful and even poetic at times. I would say it is worth a read just for the fact that it was so well written.

“And that's just it, isn't it? That's how we manage to survive the loss. Because love, it never dies, it never goes away, it never fades, so long as you hang on to it.”

This book is short. Maybe too short. At the end I was left feeling like the book had been chopped up and I was missing the last couple chapters. I understand that the author did that for dramatic effect. But that knowledge doesn’t help the off-balanced, dizzy feeling I had when I finished, like a rug was whipped out from under me.

I read this on audiobook. And the narrator, Kirsten Potter, did an exceptional job. I don’t know if she has such command of her voice to cause it to sound like it was cracking with emotion when the book was at an exceptionally moving point, or if the she was ACTUALLY crying while she was reading those parts. But either way, it was really quite stirring. I haven’t looked to see if she narrates the 2nd book Where She Went, but I have it on hold at the library either way.

The audiobook gets 5 stars, the actual story gets 3ish stars. + a little extra credit for a exceptionally well written book and likable characters = A strong 4 stars from me.
Profile Image for Adele.
270 reviews146 followers
August 31, 2009
I have had a continuous stream of tears running down my cheeks for the last few hours. Between Jenny Downham (Before I Die) and Gayle Foreman, I have cried a lifetime of tears in the past week. My house mate asked 'why do you put yourself through it?' I had to think about it, for a fraction of a second, before I answered 'because every word is worth it'.

Simply, this book wouldn't be the emotional cruncher it is without some superb writing from Forman. Without giving to much away, she makes all characters in this story extremely real. It starts off as many YA stories do, some froth and a lot of great dialogue between Mia and her family. Once that chapter's done, the tone completely changes. Mia and her family are involved in an accident and Mia's trapped in limbo, witnessing the lives of those who care for her, and those she cares for in return, without the power to do anything but watch.

Forman walks the line between Mia's recollections and the present with ease. To often a book similar in intent would be manipulative, but I didn't feel this at all. I felt Forman's love for each one of these people, as if they were her own. That Mia's loss, was her loss. The empathy that courses through this book is both inspiring and astounding.

Despite the somewhat dark subject matter this is a story of hope, life affirmation and all that it brings. The relationship between Mia and Adam is honest, they might be in love but they have real problems and they aren't all solved with a snap of the fingers. Kim is an amazing best friend, sarcastic and strong her appearances in the book are bold and bursting with love. I particularly love an incident in the playground that was the inception of the girl's friendship. Mia's parents made a huge impression on me, they sounded familiar, as if I had met them but avoiding anything resembling a cliche. The hospital staff, particularly Nurse Ramirez with her biting wisdom and infinite care, also made an impression on me. How much did she really know? Mia's grandparents melted my heart, I have always heard how to outlive one's children is the worst thing imaginable but these two transcend the situation with some honesty and hope. I was shocked by how quickly this story and girl sucked me in as the tears by the second chapter would attest.

Music has a large role in this book but it's never clunky or awkward. Mia's somewhat of a cello prodigy and her boyfriend, Adam fronts a band called the Shooting Stars (Lauren might like that). Her father is a former punk and her mother was one of those feminist rock chicks, both parents still retain their rockin' sensabilities. When reading the acknowledgements I wasn't surprised to see that Forman had been listening to Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova's 'Falling Slowly' (from the movie Once) while writing this novel, you could feel the song's influence throughout each page. I think that could be the best comparison for this novel, it is to the written word as Falling Slowly is to your ears - emotive, heartwarming, stirring, powerful and memorable.

This novel is about love. Love for your family and the family you make for yourself. The strength to follow your passion, to love your parents unconditionally and they for you, to have belief in people, to embrace music and life. It is also about choice, when no two options are easy, what would you do?

I ask: how long will it take for you to get your hands on this book?
Profile Image for Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ .
1,261 reviews8,752 followers
October 24, 2015
Reviewed by: Rabid Reads

This is the first time I've reread If I Stay . . . and I'm happy to report that after five years, it's still a fantastic book.

It's amazing to me how, in just a few short pages, Forman is able to make you care about the Hall family. REALLY care. REALLY feel it when Mia begins to watch from outside herself, as her life, her world, is completely destroyed.
My dad smiles and taps on his pipe. He started smoking one recently as part of this whole 1950s Father Knows Best retro kick he is on. He also wears bow ties. I am never quite clear on whether all this is sartorial or sardonic---Dad's way of announcing that he used to be a punker but is now a middle-school English teacher, or if becoming a teacher has actually turned my dad into this genuine throwback. But I like the smell of the pipe tobacco. It is sweet and smoky, and reminds me of winters and woodstoves.

And just as Mia is never certain about which her father is being---sartorial or sardonic---I'm never certain on which Forman is being either. It's been so long that I can't remember what my first impression of this book was, but when I started reading this time, I was worried . . . worried that this older-and-wiser me was going to hate the book that I previously loved, b/c several times Mia and her parents come across as nothing more than pretentious hipsters, who are too damn cool for everyone, but as I continued reading, more and more insights about Mia's perspective and preoccupation with her own (lack of) coolness were revealed, and instead of being irritating, in this one, singular situation it made sense.

Mia's parents really are that cool. It's not pretense. It's not affectation. Her mother has moxie, her father is geektastic with a formerly punk twist, b/c he played drums for a punk band, not b/c he listened to it on the radio. Her seven year old brother has "verve," and says things like:
"I'm gonna be eight in December. Then I'm a man and you'll have to call me 'Ted,'" Teddy reported.

And Mia . . . well, Mia plays cello.

Not that there's anything wrong with playing the cello . . . but comparatively . . . it could give a teenager issues. Especially when her father makes jokes about Mia being switched at birth, b/c she doesn't even look like the rest of her blonde-haired, blue-eyed family. AND b/c Teddy was born at a birthing center where a mix up was impossible---neither intended to be in any way hurtful to Mia, but come on . . . you remember what it was like . . . scrutinizing off-hand comments, psychoanalyzing conversations . . .

If I was the brunette counterpart of my Arian family, and my parents refused to let my kid brother be born in a hospital, I could definitely see myself wondering . . . if they were wondering . . .

The point is despite the inherent coolness of Mia's family, it's a real family, and Mia's recounting of them is full of bittersweetly recognizable truths.

And in this story . . . one of those truths is that Mia has to decide if she will stay.

That decision is a painful process. I'm not going to lie, I sobbed audibly while reading this book. But Mia's story is as beautiful as it is heartbreaking, as hopeful as it is bleak, and I would not give up getting to know Mia and her family for anything. This is one of the books that will stick with you for years.

So please . . . do yourself a favor and read it before going to see the movie when it comes out on Friday. You won't regret it.
Profile Image for Kristin (KC).
251 reviews25.1k followers
October 11, 2014

*4 Stars*

If I Stay takes us on the extremely touching journey of a young girl teetering on the edge of death.

When a disastrous car wreck lands Mia in a coma, she is faced with the ultimate decision: To live or to die.

As difficult as that choice is on its own, there are certain elements swaying Mia in each direction that stand to complicate matters even further.

She is confused. She is broken. She feels lonely…

But she is not alone.

This story is told through Mia’s emotional perspective, so we not only learn of her situation firsthand, but we are able to feel every piece of its heartache. This author does a phenomenal job bringing these scenes to life—so entirely that I caught myself cringing at times while shaking off an intense visual, or wholeheartedly delighting in one.

The writing is fluid and unique; simple yet profound, with little pinches of humor. Although the plot is intense, there is nothing over-the-top or unbelievable in its content. The setting weaves seamlessly through past and present, gradually introducing us to the pieces of Mia’s life leading up to her accident. The romance in this story is just as gentle, and equally captivating.

The fact that the storytelling was applied with some reserve complemented the book’s darker tone. The strong family bonds and vast addition of music were interesting elements that I very much enjoyed.

Beliefs on an "afterlife" aren't shoved down readers’ throats. There are actually none. Instead, we are presented with uncertainty, and pockets of hope. But one thing is clear: This story builds the theory that we are in control of ours lives … and, quite possibly, even our deaths.

Although I was hoping for just a little bit more where certain (spoilery) issues are concerned, this was still a very enjoyable, expertly-written, addictive read!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Book Stats:
▪ Genre/Category: Romance/Young Adult/Paranormal elements
▪ Steam Caliber: Mild
▪ Romance: Young love. Sweet but strong.
▪ Characters: Well developed and rounded. Lovable.
▪ Plot: A young girl in a coma must choose between living and dying.
▪ Writing: Impressive. Fluid. Beautiful.
▪ POV: 1st Person: Heroine
▪ Cliffhanger: Mild
▪ Next Installment: Follow up. Published.
▪  HEA?

Profile Image for Anna.
483 reviews373 followers
April 16, 2014

MOVIE TRAILER ❤️❤️❤️❤️ I'm so excited. I loved this book hard !!!!
Major goosebumps while watching and of course I bawled my eyeballs out !!!

Here's the link to the trailer :


This book was beautiful. Packed with so much living, dying, loving, crying....Not necessarily in that order.

This is a book about Mia told from Mia's point of view, which by the way was heart-breaking and gorgeous. On a normal day in the normal life of 17 year old Mia and her mom, her dad and her little brother Teddy...Life derailed and took a different course.....a beautiful snow day turns tragic

The story begins. She is a cellist. Extremely gifted and Juillard bound. Mia is in a coma from the accident and the story is her having an out of body experience. It is beautifully written. I was emotionally invested. I only took a break to wipe my tears away. Life is a gift that sometimes we take for granted. Reading this story truly made me realize that its important

If I stay. If I live. It's up to me
All this talk about medically induced comas is just doctor talk. It's not up to the doctors. Its not up to the absentee angels. It's not even up to God who, if He exists, is nowhere around right now. It's up to me

As "she" is wandering the halls of the hospital she is looking for her boyfriend Adam. Adam totally won my heart. Singer, song writer, lover of music and most of all totally in love with Mia. Full-throttle, intense, can't-erase-that-goofy-smile type of love.

But now that Adam is here, I'm paralyzed. I'm scared to see him. To see his face. If he is crying it will kill me. Forget this is my choice business. That alone will do me in

I don't care. I only need a second. So I can show her that I'm here. That someone is still here

Like I said, this book provoked a lot of thoughts for me. Lots of emotions. Steady trickle of misty-eyed moments and then some outbursts of full-out WAILING. Anna-Style....where I scare my hubby and he thinks I'm having a seizure. You've been warned.

In the quiet corner of the ICU I start to really think about the bitter things I've managed to ignore so far today. What would it be like if I stay? What would it feel like to wake up an orphan? To never smell Dad smoke a pipe? To never stand next to Mom quietly talking as we do dishes? To never read Teddy another chapter of Harry Potter? To stay without them? I'm not sure this is a world I belong in anymore. I'm not sure that I want to wake up

Adam~ Its okay. If you want to go. Everyone wants you to stay. I want you to stay more than I've ever wanted anything in my life. But that's what I want and I could see why it might not be what you want. So I just wanted to tell you that I understand if you go. It's okay if you want to stop fighting

Adam is mumbling something now. In a low voice. Over and over he is saying: Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Finally he stops and looks at my face. "Please Mia" he implores. "Don't make me write a song."


If you stay, I'll do whatever you want ......And that would suck, but I'd do it. I can lose you like that if I don't lose you today. I'll let you go. If you stay

And then he takes her hand and she has visions. She sees a future. She hears music. She sees visiting a cemetery with three graves. She sees New York City. She sees her cello......She feels the pain....She




Im diving right into book 2

Told from Adams point of view. My heart is ready .........bring it !!!!! ❤
Profile Image for Candace.
1,176 reviews4,330 followers
September 24, 2015
Prepare to bawl your eyes out. This one is a tearjerker. If you are in the mood for an ugly-cry, look no farther.

While I expected this book to be sad and beautifully tragic, which it most definitely was, I wasn't prepared for the emotional blows to start so early-on and then continue for the entirety of the book. Usually, you bond with the characters and read about the happy times before the bottom drops out and you have to make a dash for the Kleenex. That wasn't the case with this book at all.

A fatal accident claims the lives of most of Mia's family members right off the bat. As she lies in an ICU bed, she has an "out of body" experience while stuck in a sort of limbo between this world and the afterlife. The story is told from Mia's perspective through flashbacks and observations of her loved ones as they gather in the hospital, hoping she'll wake up. All the while, Mia struggles to decide whether she wants to return to her remaining loved ones and a life forever marred by the unjust loss of her family, or if she wants to let her life fade away.

Needless to say, this story had me turned into a snotty, sniffling mess in no time! Yet, I was also intrigued and captivated. I had some masochistic need to keep reading until I had finished the entire book in a single sitting.

This is a thought-provoking, life-changing type of story that makes you ponder your own life and what you would want in a similar situation. You will be compelled to evaluate your own life, your priorities and your mortality. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to do some soul-searching.

Prepare to be emotionally gutted and to shed buckets of tears. In fact, this book should come with a disclaimer advising readers that some Prozac might be required to get through it because this book is DE-PRESS-ING.

Profile Image for emma.
1,866 reviews54.3k followers
April 3, 2022
once upon a time, i read a book called where she went, and was like, this is weird.

and then it turns out it was actually a sequel, but whatever.

then i watched a movie called if i stay, and realized it was a book first.

so i read the book.

and then realized i had read a sequel.

as it turns out, it is possible to not enjoy a book for the reason of having too many expectations.

part of a series i'm doing in which i review books i read a long time ago
Profile Image for Chloe.
64 reviews39 followers
July 30, 2015
This book is an emotional roller coaster but I loved it!
Profile Image for Dannii Elle.
2,063 reviews1,473 followers
June 21, 2018
What an absolute beauty of a book. I made the terrible faux pas of watching the film before I read the book (please, forgive me) so I was already armed with some understanding of the plot and the ending... and I was still left breathless after reading this. Some phrases and moments in the book evoke the most beautifully, painful imagery and I was so emotionally invested in the characters that this became a one-sitting book (a very rare breed these days)

WARNING: Do not attempt to read this book without a supersize box of Kleenex beside you!
Profile Image for Kristi.
1,192 reviews2,900 followers
March 29, 2009
Although I’d read the synopsis multiple times, I never really “got” what the story was until I read the first chapter when it all happens. When you find out Mia is making the choice as her body lays waiting in the ICU. She becomes an invisible observer, watching and narrating her tragic ordeal from the time the accident happens. And it is here that we join her on her quest. To ultimately decide to stay or to let go.

The choice is resonated through flashbacks, that feature Mia’s parents, brother Teddy, boyfriend Adam, her love of the cello and her best friend Kim. While the prose of the novel would seemingly be depressing, these glimpses are filled with hope, love and often times laughter. Helping the reader better understand Mia’s struggle between life and death.

Though the novel is clearly small in its mere 208 pages, it doesn’t seem inadequate in any way possible. Forman’s writing is gripping, demanding that the pages are turned. The story is exceptional.

Despite the solemn tone, I didn’t find myself shedding any tears until the last three pages of the novel. Not that I didn’t feel my emotions stirring throughout the entire novel, especially a scene including Mia and her grandfather, but I think my emotions bubbled until the last moment when they finally spilled over the edge.

A powerful novel, intense, and moving. You can’t help but find yourself taking note of the people and things that make your life worth living, after this experience.
Profile Image for Karen.
1,393 reviews201 followers
July 16, 2023
This is a story about 17-year-old Mia who is in a car accident with her parents and 10-year-old brother. She survives but remains in a coma in critical condition. As readers, we see her watch everything around her as she decides whether she will stay or let go and die.

The story is told in flash backs, showing her life as a normal teenager living in Oregon with a brilliant life as a cellist and her prospects of going to Julliard before her.

We also see her relationship blossoming with her boyfriend Adam, who also has a passion for music.


We are also aware of her close-knit family.

'If I Stay' is a reminder of how short and innately sweet life is, and how we can’t take advantage of those people who matter most to us in our lives.

Some reviewers saw this as sappy, and full of teen angst.

At the time I read it, I guess I was up for just letting the feelings flow. I could feel the emotion. Sometimes it was… heart-wrenching and heart-warming, and at times funny. 3.5 stars.

The movie version was released in August 2014.
Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,356 followers
August 14, 2016
A powerfully emotional novel, If I Stay is a journey through life and death, in the eyes of a young girl who has lost just about everything.

After a disastrous car accident, Mia finds herself looking down at her own battered body, barely alive. This is one case where, immediately, you get a feel of who these people are, their realness, the love they have for each other. With only a few minutes of getting to know them before the accident, I already felt a connection with Mia and her whole family, turning an already emotional novel into a gutting one. Mia's loss and grief is tangible through Gayle's effortless writing style. It's a tragic tale of unimaginable life changing loss that will make you thankful for everything and everyone you have in life.

This novel is not a story, there is not even a plot per se; in short, it is a chronicle of Mia's life. While she's lost in this sort of limbo, we relive her life with her. She sends us through the ups and downs of her past years. Her relationship, fun family anecdotes, talents, dreams, everything she has ever had, and everyone she can still lose. Mostly, you can see how fast a life full of potential can be changed so drastically. You know that even if she does get through this, nothing will ever be the same. She will not be the same person that we're being introduced to. Through her stories and her time at the hospital, we also get to know other people in her life who love her so fully that you feel their pain for Mia's uncertain future. What got me the most emotional was not Mia's reminiscing, but the reactions to others towards her. There's an especially powerful scene with her grandfather that… ugh *clutches chest*. It shows exactly how talented Gayle is; to be able to render so much sympathy for characters you have only just met, in a book with a mere 200 pages at that, that is some outstanding writing. This is not just Mia's story, it includes everyone that has touched her life as well.

Brilliantly written with as much love as there is sorrow, with as much life as there is death, If I Stay shows us the importance of family and friends that, together, make up our lives. A must read that I would recommend for all fans of YA contemporary novels such as Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall.

Audiobook note: I wasn't the biggest fan of the music between certain chapters, but the narrator was truly amazing. Her voice authenticated all the emotions coming off of Mia wonderfully. A+!

Cover Blurb Note: "It will appeal to fans of Twilight" O_O This book is not even close to being anything like Twilight in any way! What the eff?


For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
Profile Image for Mo.
1,362 reviews2 followers
December 3, 2014

"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."

This one has been on my Kindle for ages. I read some NA/YA but not a lot as the characters sometimes annoy me with their immaturity. I know, I know, I am 30 years older than the characters, I should give them some slack!! But I think if an author is THAT good she can transcend the "age" thing and reach out to all audiences, no matter what age they are.

Of course this one had a music theme, which is right up my alley!

But seventeen is an inconvenient time to be in love …

I really did not read many reviews before starting this one. I knew it was supposed to be heartbreaking. Honestly, I don't think I would have started it if the second book had not been available for me to dive straight in to.

A really good read. I will be checking out more by this author.
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