Author: Gayle Forman
Series: If I Stay #1
Publisher: Definitions, Random House Children's Publishers
Date: May 2010
Buy the Book • Goodreads
Life can change in an instant.
A cold February morning...
A snowy road...
And suddenly all of Mia's choices are gone.
As alone as she'll ever be, Mia must make the most difficult choice of all.
I had high expectations of this book. Everybody who read it seemed to rave about it and promised me that I would be blown away by it. So when I finished it, I was actually disappointed that I did not feel this way.
Don’t get me wrong, this is a very cleverly written book and I enjoyed it for what it was. But it didn’t leave me awestruck and in desperate need to read the sequel. I just thought it was good but with no wow factor.
The story takes place all in one 24 hour time period. There are no actual chapters; the story is simply updated by inserting the time every so often. And we are told the story from the point of view of Mia. Mia is in a terrible car accident right at the beginning of the book and finds herself sort of ‘trapped’ between life and death. She is viewing the aftermath of the accident and all that is happening in the ‘physical world’ as a separate entity to her actual body. I found this very unique and a completely different way of telling a story.
And of course the rest of the story revolves around Mia trying to decide whether to stay in the world of the living where her life will be very different or to ‘cross over’ into death and in essence ‘give up’.
As you can probably imagine, this makes for some quite grim and depressing reading. This did not bother me at all. What did bother me were the flash backs. As Mia hovers between life and death and as various relatives and friends come to visit her in hospital, she one by one delves back into her past going through pivotal moments in her life with these various people. Now I understand that these were needed in order for her to make the decision she made but as a personal preference of mine, I simply am not a fan of flash backs in books. I feel like the story is not moving forward if we have to keep skipping back. And about 50% of this book seemed to be consisted of flash backs. So for this complaint, I think it’s actually a case of reader preference, if flashbacks don’t annoy you like they do me, then you would probably enjoy this book a lot more than I did.
If I Stay is a short, clever and emotional read but for me, I just didn’t ‘get’ what all the hype has been about.