Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Book Review - If I Stay

Title: If I Stay
Author: Gayle Forman
Series: If I Stay (Book 1)
Publisher: Doubleday
Release Date: 7th May 2009
ISBN13: 9780385616201

For seventeen-year-old Mia, surrounded by a wonderful family, friends and a gorgeous boyfriend decisions might seem tough, but they're all about a future full of music and love, a future that's brimming with hope.
But life can change in an instant.
A cold February morning . . . a snowy road . . . and suddenly all of Mia's choices are gone. Except one.
As alone as she'll ever be, Mia must make the most difficult choice of all.
Gripping, heartrending and ultimately life-affirming, If I Stay will make you appreciate all that you have, all that you've lost - and all that might be.

My Review
I have heard a lot about this book over the years and always wanted to read it but never really made the time for it. Then I saw a movie trailer for it that looked really good and I knew I just had to read it. In the end I actually listened to this on audiobook - I always have one in my car and with studying and work at the moment I don't have as much time to read books for fun so utilizing my time in the car is the best way to discover more stories. I am going to review it as normal though as I am reivewing the story and content not the audio presentation - although I will say quickly that the narrator was very good and really presented the story well, the accent and emotion in her speech was just amazing.

The story is told from Mia's point of view and gives you a look into her life. Her dad used to play drums in a band, her mum is a cool rock chick, her little brother is 10 years younger than her but totally sweet and the apple of her eye. Mia herself plays Cello and is a fairly quite young lady. Then we have Adam her boyfriend who plays guitar in a band that is just becoming successful. Life seems to be going well, finally working out and exciting things are coming up. But then everything turns upside down. Everything gets shut for a snow day, but it's actually only a light covering, so Mia, her brother and parents decide to go out for a drive, maybe to visit some friends.
That's when it happens. In a horrendous road accident Mia discovers her parents have been killed on impact and she isn't sure where her brother is. She then discovers her own body and realizes that she is having some strange out of body experience. She can see and hear everything, she can open doors and move around but no one else can see, hear or feel her. She now has to choose, does she give up the fight and move on to join her parents wherever they may have gone - if there is a beyond. Or should she stay and face life, a life without her family but with the possibility of a future.
The story alternates between Mia's progress in hospital and her out of body experiences and her recounting times throughout her life - first meeting Adam, learning the Cello, family events, etc.
I found this book to be very powerful, right from the start I was hooked and wanted to know more. I found Mia to be a very well developed character and I immediately liked her. The writing punches you in the gut and wraps itself around your brain - refusing to let go, taking your breath away, absorbing you totally and I loved it. 
I would find myself leaving early so I could sit in my car for a few extra minutes each time just so I could hear more of the story, not wanting to get out. And then I would be desperate to get back into my car to hear more later, and it would stay with me. I would find myself thinking about it and wondering what would happen next. 
It's a very sensitive subject and quite disturbing in parts but very well dealt with and very moving and it really just makes you feel. I was involved in Mia's story, and I had to know what would happen to her.
I am now desperate to read book 2 and find out where she goes next and what comes of everything. I just can't get over this book, it really has moved me. It's amazing and the writing is just incredible. 
I will definitely be seeing the film too - I just hope it can live up to the book, which will be hard.

My Rating

1 comment:

Kimi Barra said...

I read this book some time ago, and until now I still get so many feels whenever I am reminded of it. I'm glad you loved it, and I've seen the movie and it was really beautiful as well! Great review.

-Kimi at Geeky Chiquitas