Publish Date: April 26, 2010
Series: If I Stay #1
Synopsis: In the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces – to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make. Heart-wrenchingly beautiful, Mia’s story will stay with you for a long, long time.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I have heard nothing but great reviews about Gayle Forman’s If I Stay and Where She Went. From the reviews and the people who raved about them, I should have picked up the book then and there. But I didn’t. It wasn’t until months later, the other day in fact, when I read a post about Swoontini‘s post about a swoony boy name Adam, written by Melissa, from White Blank Pagers, that I decided to read about it.
Boy, was I missing out.
When I heard about the book, I only heard how amazing it was and how well the story was written. I had not read the synopsis, nor had I read any of the actual reviews written about the book. I went in with a blank slate. I wanted to embrace what I was about to read without any predetermined notions of how the book was supposed to be.
***If you haven’t read this book yet, I say some spoilers. Just please trust me to read this book. You will not regret it.***
If I Stay is about Mia Hall, and this is her story. Mia is seventeen and plays the cello. She is good. Like, applied to Julliard and might get in, good. She has two parents who are oppositely (that’s a word, isn’t it?) rock to her classical self. She also has a younger brother, Teddy, who is probably more mature than you and I. I mean, he knows what sexy means! Her life is not normal, but why would it need to be when you have so much love in it?
One sunny day, Mia, her parents, and younger brother decide to take a family day-cation, skipping the responsibilities of school and normal life. They all get into the car and head on to their destination. Unfortunately, and tragically, they never get there. They get into a car accident which results in fatalities. Mia has an out-of-body experience that has her watching from the sidelines.
She sees everything. She sees how her mom and dad died. She sees the pieces that is left of their car. She even sees what the paramedics are doing to her body. It is a lot to see. And for Mia, she struggles to piece together what is happening in real-time as well as trying to figure out what she is. While her body is fighting to survive, her mind, and corporeal self, is observing what happens around her. Then something happens. She questions if she should stay or go with her family. It’s a hard question to answer, one that takes her all book to think about.
Throughout the book, Mia glimpses through her life. In an unorthodox way, Forman introduced me to all of the characters through Mia’s eyes. Each moment with her father and mother, showing how they each grew up from a crazy lifestyle to settle down for their family. Other moments that include Teddy, her grandparents, or Henry and Willow, and her best friend, Kim.
And then she relived the moments with Adam.
Adam who she slowly fell in love with her and she in love with him. It was these chapters, these sentences, these words that had me loving the book. It was these moments that were so carefully written by Forman that had me questioning if I have ever felt love like this.
The emotion was real. It wasn’t just words on a page, it was my heart being torn apart only to be picked up and bandaged. It was the grief of loss, but also the happiness of love. It was everything and nothing all at the same time. It showcased love in its purest form. Through Mia, Forman showed me about who one chooses to be when you have everything and you have nothing.
It was a masterpiece that only Gayle Forman brought to me.
I will forever remember this story, Mia, and Adam. In this lifetime, or the next, I only wish to hope to feel love that Mia did.
I suggest you read this. And while you’re out buying the book, buy a box of tissue while you’re at it. Trust me, you will need it.