Saturday, April 23, 2011

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Source:  Purchased
Released:  April 6th 2010
Published by: Speak
Page Count is 198 pages

Mia has no memory of the accident that changed her life. This inexperienced 17-year-old only recalls riding on that slippery Oregon road with her family, then, in an instant, seeing herself lifted from the twisted wreck. This affecting story of one young woman's struggle through tragedy and grieving will appeal to readers of books like Thirteen Reasons Why.  (Description from

Two words:  Breathtakingly amazing!  Gayle Forman's If I Stay has captured a little piece of my soul.  When I first picked up this book, I already knew what I was getting into.  It was gratefully ruined for me by a fellow book blogger, Missie, and her amazing review of If I Stay.  It tugged on my heartstrings so much that I had to get this book.

After waking up one morning and playing hookie for the day with your family, how would you handle closing your eyes during a car ride and waking up to seeing your entire family lying lifelessly on the pavement and to find that your having a out of body experience watching yourself being poking and prodded by EMTs?  Not an easy question to answer.  Its isn't for me either, but I imagine my reaction would be similar to Mia's.  I would freak out, I'd be worried about my little brother, I'd be emotionally drained and would pray for death after I'd heard my goodbyes from my family, my best friend, and my amazing boyfriend.

The entire book was an emotional roller coaster.  I hate roller coasters.  But give me a book that leaves me wanting more and has an emotional soft spot in my heart, and I'm a fucking wreck.  I loved how the book dove right in with the gory details of the accident.  I was sad for Mia, but at the same time detached.  I didn't know the characters yet.  I don't feel for them yet.  As the book progressed through Mia's day, being on the operating table for hours listening and watching the doctors work, seeing everyone who loved her - that was still alive - filter to the hospital, replaying memories of happier times with her mom, dad, and littler brother.  Waiting for her boyfriend Adam and replaying their last two years together.  That's how I got to really know Mia's family.  Through her memories.  It got to me, but I still didn't cry for the longest time.

Half way through the book Mia finally grasps why her brother Teddy was not there at the same hospital with her, why no one would speak of him - just like no one spoke of her parents who were already dead.  I knew that would happen.  I knew that he wasn't going to make it.  But I still lost myself in tears for a moment.  I kept thinking about my baby brother sleeping in the adjacent room, who's like my baby boy in some ways, and I just couldn't cope with the thought of losing him.

When Adam finally comes in at the very end to talk, he's Mia's only reason left for living but she's made her decision already.  She can't see him cry.  She won't be able to handle it.  She's ready to leave all of this heartache and pass on, but Adam's words of love captured the moment and it seemed to last forever.
"If you stay, I'll do whatever you want. I'll quit the band, go with you to New York. But if you need me to go away, I'll do that, too. I was talking to Liz and she said maybe coming back to your old life would just be too painful, that maybe it'd be easier for you to erase us. And that would suck, but I'd do it. I can lose you like that if I don't lose you today. I'll let you go. If you stay."
There was nothing about this book that I did not love.  It was perfect.  It was hilarious, upsetting, romantic.  It was everything!  If I Stay was amazing to read and it will forever hold a special place in my heart as a new favorite of mine.


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