When I was asked to If I Stay by Gayle Forman, I purposely ignored all the commercials for the movie to make sure I had no idea what this was about. There has been a lot of hype about this book but somehow I managed to not find out what it was about (or how it would end) before reading it.
If I Stay had me from page one. There is a half page intro to the book before the title page. Once I read that, I wasn’t able to put this down.
Not only is this a unique story, it was written in a totally different way than most books I have read (and I have read a lot of books). The main plot of the book is happening real-time but it is mixed with flashbacks all the way to the end of the book.
I loved this because each flashback was a specific memory the main character, Mia, was having. The author writes these flashbacks is such a way that there is no confusion by the reader.
At the beginning of the story, you don’t really know any of the characters. There is a horrific accident and the reader feels terrible about it but we are not attached to any of the characters. As we read further into the story, we learn more about the different characters through these flashbacks. The more the characters are developed, the bigger the impact this accident has on the reader. The accident becomes more real and more personal. By the end, faced with the decision Mia had to make, I was in as much turmoil over her choices as she was!
Initially it was a bad accident for a family that you would feel terrible for but carry on about your business. But, by the end it was a bad accident for people that we really started to know and care about.
The flashbacks were mainly of good times Mia had with her friend, boyfriend, and family so there were many light hearted and funny moments as well. Music also plays a big part in this book. Mia’s parents were heavy into the music scene before she was born. Her boyfriend is in a band and she plays the cello. It was a great mix of nostalgia infused with different music styles.
Mia is a seventeen-year-old girl who is shy and does not have a lot of self-confidence. She often times thinks she is not really a part of her own family because of how different she is from everyone. They are all outgoing and love rock/punk music. Mia is shy and loves classical music. Her dad played the drums in a band and she plays cello. She loves her family dearly and likes to spend time with them rather than going out too much.
When Mia meets Adam, she can’t believe that he is actually talking to her. He is cool and is in a band. They started talking because they had music in common but in a short period it became so much more than that. As their relationship is starting, Mia wonders why Adam likes her because they seem so different from each other. Finally, after all her suspicions, she realizes that he likes her because of who she is. As you read the If I Stay, you realize how deep their love actually goes.
After finishing the book, I immediately went to watch the trailer for the movie. It seems to go along with the book. Even some of the dialog was taken directly from it. As of writing this, I have not seen the movie but I’m hoping that it stays true to the book.
Gayle Forman is an award-winning author and journalist whose articles have appeared in numerous publications, including Seventeen, Cosmopolitan and Elle in the US. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.
Release Date: March 24, 2009