Nicole Hewitt's Reviews > If I Stay

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
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Dec 31, 2010

I really wanted to love this book. And, honestly, if I was judging it on the ending alone, I would probably give it 4 stars, but I can only give the full book about 2 1/2 stars. Why? Well, first of all, I found myself being uninterested in many of the characters. Mia seemed interesting enough, but her parents just bugged me. They were drawn as these way too-hip people (even when the dad turns into a more conservative professor type, he does it in a cool hipster sort of way). I guess if I was a teenager, I might like the idea of parents like these - and, to be fair, this is a young adult novel - but as an adult, I just found them annoying and a little too ultra-liberal.

Another thing that bothered me about the book was that the main character constantly talks about how different she is from her family - one main detail that she gives is her dark hair and eyes when everyone else in her family has blond hair and blue eyes. I couldn't get past the fact that, genetically, two blue eyed parents CAN'T have a brown eyed child - and I couldn't decide if the author was ignorant of this basic fact or if there was supposed to be an implication that Mia's dad wasn't her biological father (UPDATE - I stand corrected, this is genetically possible, but rare). Throughout the book, I was waiting for this to be addressed, but it wasn't.

But, I think what bothered me most was that, since the main character was suffering from a certain level of emotional unattachment, I found that I was as well. I couldn't bring myself to care much about the characters or even about Mia's final choice of whether or not to stay. I do love how she was brought to her final decision, though, and I thought the ending was great.

But, overall, this book was just okay for me.

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Reading Progress

December 31, 2010 – Shelved
Started Reading
April 23, 2012 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Stacey Oh, sad. I love this book. I did listen to the audiobook, however, so that might make a difference. It was really well done, with cello music and everything. I read the sequel and thought it was really good too.

It's funny that you didn't like the eye color thing because I have the opposite issue. I learned a few years ago that it actually is possible for two blue eyed people to have a brown eyed child. It's not common, but eye color is actually driven by a lot more than the basic Punnett square stuff we learn in junior high biology. I read a book where this was a main plot point (that the kid had brown eyes so couldn't be the child of the parents) and it made me so mad!

message 2: by Nicole (new) - added it

Nicole Hewitt Interesting about the blue-eyed/brown-eyed thing - I knew that eye color wasn't as cut and dry as the Punnet square (after all, how would we have green, hazel, etc.), but I had always heard that brown eyes couldn't come from two blue eyed parents (I've actually personally known someone who discovered something about themselves this way). Reading the article you gave (and some other articles), I guess I was wrong! Still, they do say that it is very rare - and I would imagine it would be even more rare for a family who is all blond and blue eyed to have a child with dark hair and dark eyes - apparently she was a genetic anomoly, but it seemed strange to me that her dad's paternity was never even questioned considering that they dwelled on her differences so much in the book.

Anyway, that was just one nagging element - my real issue was just that I found myself wanting to get through the book rather than enjoying the ride. That and all the super-cool characters - I guess I just don't feel cool enough and couldn't relate! :-)

message 3: by Nicole (new) - added it

Nicole Hewitt Ironically, Stacey, I went and read the summary of the second book (and read your review) and I'm curious enough to read it - if I don't like it, I won't even bother reviewing it. That would just fall under the category of "should have known better" (or maybe "glutton for punishment?"). I'll let you know if my opinion changes with the second book, though. I also decided to take my complaint about the genetics out of my review since I'm basing it on incorrect information - thanks for correcting me!

Stacey :) It's my goal now to spread the word. I know what you mean about not being cool enough. I definitely don't know much about the music scene. But I really liked the characters and that carried over for me to the second book. I hope you like it better!

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