If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Book 1 in the If I Stay duology
Genre: YA contemporary
I’m not really sure what I think of this book. It honestly has my mind jumbled. I liked it, but it was far from what I expected.
I went into this thinking it would mostly be about Mia recovering from the accident and coping with the loss while she tried to continue living her life. I didn’t expect her to be in a coma for 90% of the book, and if I’m honest, it was boring. After the crash, not much of anything happened and it kind of dragged out. The synopsis interested me, but the execution didn’t live up to the expectations I’d developed between that and the hype surrounding the book (and movie).
When I first started reading, all I knew was that the main character was named Mia, her boyfriend was named Adam, and they both loved music. I didn’t know what sort of music, and I didn’t know of any other characters. I was expecting a fun array of unique characters that I’d fall in love with, and while there the former was true, the latter was not. I didn’t fall in love with any of these characters, or even form any sort of feelings for them. Mia was a very plain lead, and really her only defining characteristic was her passion for classical music and playing the cello. Her family was cool and quirky from what I could tell, but obviously I didn’t get to know them very well because they all died early on. Her best friend was Kim, a Jewish girl that didn’t take her religion too seriously and wanted to be a photographer. Her boyfriend was Adam, the lead singer and guitarist for a band of rising popularity called Shooting Star and he seemed to be very emotional. That’s about as much as I picked up on both of them. Like I said, I didn’t really have feelings for anyone, although I’ll admit I did briefly admire the lengths Adam was willing to go to so he could see Mia. All the other characters were secondary and I didn’t learn much about them.
This story took place in Oregon in a town near Portland. It started out at Mia’s house, but the majority of it was in the Portland hospital and the only exception to that were Mia’s flashbacks. They were mostly at her house but a few were at her high school and one was in California, when she auditioned to get into Juilliard. The descriptions for all of these locations were brief and the images painted in my head were mediocre.
Based on what I could gather through the flashbacks, Mia and Adam had a decent, passionate though sometimes awkward relationship. They seemed like a cute couple, although I can’t be sure because I only got glimpses of them through the past (if that makes sense). The same can be said about Mia and Kim’s friendship. They seemed like really good friends and I thought the way they came to be friends was unique. I just wish I had gotten more of them in the present.
There weren’t any twists in this book, or anything to predict. There was the big question of whether Mia would decide to live or die, but I didn’t felt like that was kind of obvious. If someone with a great life like Mia’s had a choice, why would they choose death? At first I was a bit curious, but then I thought about it and was nearly positive she would live. And I was right. (I don’t consider that a spoiler because it’s a duology, which means she’s almost guaranteed to live.)
I was kind of confused about what happened to Mia after the accident. Some part of her was able to walk around, see and hear people in the hospital, but I’m not sure how that worked. Was it her spirit or something? How did she leave her body? I couldn’t tell. The other thing that I didn’t like was the flashbacks. A few would be fine if they had purpose, but there were a bunch incorporated into the story and to me they seemed a bit random. Maybe they were supposed to be a bit more entertaining than Mia’s spirit wandering around the hospital. If that’s the case, it sort of worked, but to be honest, most of the story was boring. The only thing that I really liked was the very end because it was sort of cute, but it still wasn’t that satisfying and I think it left a lot to be desired.
I’m going to be honest: If I Stay was disappointing. I didn’t hate it, despite the impression everything I just said may have given. I just didn’t like it, after thinking it through, and I had a lot of issues with it. I most likely won’t be reading Where She Went (the second book in the duology).
But if you want to read it, go ahead. Don’t let my opinion stop you. You may like it. 🙂
my rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Have you read If I Stay? Is it on your TBR? If you have read it, what did you think? Feel free to let me know in the comments! 🙂
So this is the last book I’ve read in 2015! There’s only a few hours left before 2016 comes, which I’ll be spending with my family. I’ll start The Iron Trial and post my wrap up and resolutions next year. XD (sorry not sorry for the bad joke, haha)
Happy New Year everyone! 😀
Until next time- Olivia ❤