Publisher: Dutton Juvenile (April 9th, 2009)
Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardback: 199 pages
Series: If I Stay #1
Rating: 3 of 5 stars
In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen year- old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...
Review: Yes, it's true. I just read this book a few weeks ago. I had super high expectations about this book because it has terrific reviews. I gotta say, I wasn't blown away by it. Maybe my expectations were too high? I dunno.
If I Stay introduces us to Mia. Mia is in a terrible car accident with her mother, father, and brother. One thing about this novel that grabbed me immediately was the strong bond Mia had with her family. Typically, in YA books, we may not get a great look at family relations. We only get a peak into the character's home-life and it may not be the best view. If I Stay paints a beautiful picture of a family. Mia's father and mother were loving and supportive. As Mia spends time in the hospital she remembers some of their times together.
The idea behind this novel, as well as much of Gayle Forman's writing, was terrific. She has a way of describing a setting that really helps the reader grasp what is going on around the characters.
I'm not a huge fan of flashbacks. Much of this book is series of flashbacks to Mia's memories of her parents and of Adam. Some people may enjoy this. It's just a personal preference but they make me feel really disconnected from what the "real" story is about. I don't mind learning about a character's past through their own thoughts, but this book just had too much of that.
The other downside for me was Mia herself. She just wasn't what as emotional as I would have thought she should have been. And she seemed a bit..boring. At the end I just kept thinking "Why does Adam even love her so much?" I couldn't get a good handle on her personality besides just knowing what she loves music.
Adam was the person who saved this book for me. He was interesting, caring, and passionate. Even though we really don't get to see him that much, he always managed to get my attention.
The main character and all the flashbacks were what really brought this book down for me but, as mentioned, those are just personal preferences. The plot, writing, and events that occur during the actual story were exceptional. I just wanted more from Mia.
Recommended: Contemporary fans or people who don't mind a story with a focus in the past and present.