If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, admiring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. In an instant, almost all of that is taken from her. Caught between life and death, between a happy past and an unknowable future, Mia spends one critical day contemplating the only decision she has left. It is the most important decision she'll ever make.
If I Stay is an incredible book. Its draw isn't in a fast-paced plot or , but in the human aspect of the story. Within the first twenty pages, tragedy strikes, and Mia's life will never be the same again. Instead of focusing on the time days or weeks after, when she'll have to cope, If I Stay takes place in the 24 hours immediately after the crash, when Mia has to decide: will she go, or will she stay?
The story isn't exactly climactic or exciting; it's heart-wrenching instead. Even the flashbacks to Mia's happy past at the end of every chapter were tainted with grief. Forman manages to make Mia's tragedy feel strangely personal. More than anything, If I Stay is a book about grief, and love. It's definitely not a book to read when you're sad.
The book's biggest flaw was its emphasis on music, which went a bit overboard occasionally. I liked that music was such a big part of Mia's life, but at times it almost took away from the real story. The love of music most of the characters had did add depth to them, and it was also one of the many good aspects of the book.
If I Stay was an emotional roller coaster. It was a quick, easy read, but I will remember it for a long time. If you like feeling close to characters or reading stories about people (instead of events), this will be an instant favorite. I was lucky enough to finish it at the library, and I immediately checked out the sequel.
Once Upon a Time...
As a longtime lover of stories and a believer in the power and magic of books, I've spent my life seeking out the best reads. This blog is dedicated to reviewing the books I read - good, bad, or magnificent - to help other readers find their next favorite books.