Author: Gayle Forman
Series: If I Stay #1
Published: April 2nd 2009 by Dutton Juvenile
Seventeen year old Mia has an amazing life. She has a strange, but very loving family that consists of her parents, her little brother and herself. She also has a great boyfriend, named Adam, who is in a succesful band. Mia herself also loves music, but she loved classical music and she plays the cello herself. She is about to get accepted into Juilliard, a private conservatory in New York. All in all, Mia is extremely happy and has nothing to worry about. Until one snowy tuesday morning, when her family decides to visit some friends. They are in a car accident and Mia’s parents and little brother die. But Mia survives. She is in a coma but she can see herself as if she were someone else. She has an out-of-body experience, and she can walk around and hear people talk. While her body lies in the ICU, Mia has to make the choice. Will she stay?
What I liked about the book
One of the main things that I like about this book is the writing style. I already knew Gayle Forman can write beautifully, but she blew my mind again. There are so many beautiful quotes in this book, which you can see at the end of this review. But also the way the story was told is something I really liked. The story starts of chronologically, until Mia gets in the accident. From there on, there is an alternation between parts that Mia experiences in the hospital and flashbacks to memories that are evoked by experiencing that. This way, we really get to know who Mia is, what her personality is, and we get to know about the relationships with all the people she sees in the hospital. This book was a little over 200 pages, but Gayle Forman managed to create a fully developed character in just so little pages.
Another thing that I really like about this book is the large role that music plays. Mia plays the cello and she is very good at it. An her boyfriend, Adam, is in a band that is getting quite popular. Also, Mia’s father used to be in a band as well, so music plays a large role in Mia’s life. I love how Gayle Forman used the music in this story, and also in the details. An example of this is that Mia is listening to Beethoven’s Cello Sonata 3 on the radio when the accident happens. The radio still works after the crash, and she realizes she isn’t dead by still hearing this sonata.
What I did not like about the book
I have been trying to write this review for a few days now, but I didn’t really know how to start. It’s not that this book wasn’t good, or that I didn’t like it. It is just that I feel like I read this book at the wrong time. I just had really high expectation for this book, but I somehow didn’t feel it. I know this sounds vague, but I didn’t feel connected to the story. I really don’t know how that happened, because this book is amazing in all imaginable ways, but somehow it just didn’t touch me or anything. Like I just said, I think this has to do with my timing of reading this book. I am very thankful for the fact that I have never had to deal with the dead or illness in my family or with friends,, but I think that is one of the reasons this book didn’t touch me as much as it might have touched someone else. I am not sure if that is the real reason, or if there is something else, but this book, despite its amazingness, just didn’t touch me.
Would I recommend this book?
I find it really hard to decide whether or not to recommend this book and to whom. Because it just didn’t touch me as much as I expected it would, doesn’t mean it won’t touch anyone else. I think that if you’re looking for a serious contemporary book, you should definitely try this book out! It was definitely beautifully written and has a great story line. So if you’re in the mood for something serious, I’d say give it a try!
“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.”
“All I can think about is how fucked up it would be for your life to end here, now. I mean I know that your life if fucked up no matter what now, forever. And I’m not dumb enough to think that I can undo that, that anyone can. But I can’t wrap my mind around the notion of you not getting old, having kids, going to Juilliard, getting to play that cello in front of a huge audience, so that they can get the chills the way I do every time I see you pick up your bow, every time I see you smile at me.”
“All relationships are tough. Just like with music, sometimes you have harmony and other times you have cacophony. I don’t have to tell you that.”