Book Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Published on August 28, 2014

It was my first time to read a book written by Gayle Forman. I have been seeing her works, but I never really had the chance to grab one from the shelf. So thanks to that moving and intriguing trailer of the movie adaptation of If I Stay for making me finish reading it in less than a week. (Okay, gone are the days when I can read a book overnight. Seriously, I miss that kind of pace. But I need to work so I can buy more books. Haha!)

cover-ifistay-combo-render Image taken from here

One tragic day is all it takes for everything in Mia’s world to crumble. She woke up in what seems like an ordinary day with a loving family, an up-and-coming rock star boyfriend, and music that binds her with them. But in an instant, she was faced with the most difficult choice she had to make. There were only two options – life or death.

If I Stay is an “easy” read. It’s something that you can read in just one sitting. More than the fact that it does not have those big and highfalutin words, If I Stay is simply a book that you’ll refuse to put down. I found myself wanting to know more about Mia’s fate as I read it. I have to admit that I was losing grip at the beginning because of the non-linear way of narration. This approach is something that’s not new to me as I have already read a lot of books with similar approach, yet I was initially wondering why there was a need for Forman to dig in to the past. I thought it was unnecessary. I actually thought it was annoying and nonsense. But after a few minutes of reading and seeing the pattern, I finally understood Forman’s reason behind it. Everything, every little detail from the past, was significant for Mia’s decision.

If I Stay failed to make me cry. I had a box of tissue paper prepared by my side, thinking that it would be like the way The Fault in Our Stars made me feel. I didn’t cry, but there were a lot of times when lumps form in my throat followed by that throbbing pain in my chest. I felt the pain of being left behind. I felt the pain of losing someone you love. I felt the pain of hanging into that single strand of hope, thinking that would be enough. I felt the pain of watching someone you love slip into the unknown. If you’ve already read the book, then you will probably agree with me that those “moments” with Gramps, Kim and Teddy are the most painful to read.

The plot may be a bit simple – family gets into an accident, daughter gets into a coma and decides whether she’ll live or die. But more than just a story of life and death, If I Stay is also a great narration about music, dreams, family, friendship and love. I was initially thinking that it would be the teen romance part that would affect me the most. But it was the family aspect which hit me the hardest.

Ayayay! :'(

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2 comments

  1. May movie adaptation na? Haven't read the book but I often see in the IG account of most celebrities. The book sounds like TFIOS but I think this presents a different angle about death and suffering. As I can sense it from your review, if focuses more on family.

    Nice review!

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    Replies
    1. Yup, there is. It will be shown on Sep. 3 yata.

      Thanks for dropping by, Diane! :)

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