Title: If I Stay (If I Stay #1)
Author: Gayle Forman
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction
Goodreads Book Summary:
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 heart-achingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make, and the ultimate choice Mia commands.
Rating: 4.25 Stars
Who were the Characters?
Mia is the main character. She is a musician, probably headed toward Julliard. She is a mostly normal teenager, almost done with high school, and thrust into a horrifying and delayed moment of decision where she must choose whether to stay for her friends and family, or go and rest. She has reasons for both.
Mia’s family: each distinct, and a big part of Mia’s life
Mia’s boyfriend: a well-defined character, and a hot musician (always nice!)
I felt such a connection with her family, but I couldn’t get connected to her. Probably a personal thing. I liked everyone else, and it didn’t stop the reading process. I realize that not every character is going to be like me, and that not every character is supposed to be relatable and likeable. I loved all the sarcasm, the attitude, and the music. Her love story is beautiful, and I really liked Adam. All of the love and connectiveness that surrounds her story of growing up with her parents, their friends, and her little brother fills in the little cracks in your heart and then bursts it into little pieces over and over. But in a good way.
A story about death, dying, and the life of our main character. She is in the moment of decision, whether to stay or go. She is hanging in the balance, as it were. The book is outstanding, stunning, heartbreaking, poignant. It is different in its characters, its plot, its writing, and it is a great book so read it already.
I don’t read a lot of contemporary fiction, especially lately, so I don’t have much to compare it to. Perhaps there are a lot of things going on in Oregon lately. But it seems to me that other than being something that takes place or could take place now, it is unique because of the storyline and the writing.
Where is the setting?
This book makes me want to move to Oregon. Which I kind of already do, but I was just in love with the setting. I was like, why do you want to go to New York? It is awesome here! Of course, that question kind of becomes moot pretty quickly. Most of the book actually takes place in a hospital in Portland, although there are a lot of flashbacks into the main character’s life as she was growing up and falling in love.
When does this story take place?
This is a contemporary piece of fiction. So now-ish.
Why do I like/dislike it?
I loved this book and I highly recommend. I don’t know if I would buy it or not, it depends on the next book in the series, which I am very excited to read. My biggest problem with this book was the layout. Besides the big horror that happens pretty quickly, it was just back and forth, present and a memory or two, then back to the present, then back in the past. It started to bore me a little, even though I was so into the story and what was going on. I began to feel like I was a record, catching and stuck, and not able to move onward.
The thing I liked the most was that the author got the horrible thing that you know is coming out of the way quickly. Then after you know what happens, you get to know the characters. Doing it this way made me cry pretty much through the entire book. It was so good though. The writing was great: the descriptions unique and well thought out, the characters were developed and real, and the past scenes were so vivid and strong.