Thursday, August 21, 2014

Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

ISBN: 9780142415436
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Series: If I Stay #1
Released: April, 2009
Goodreads  |  B&N

On a day that started like any other,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.Simultaneously tragic and hopeful, this is a romantic, riveting, and ultimately uplifting story about memory, music, living, dying, loving.

This is going to be one of those tomato-throwing reviews. You know, the one where I tell you that I didn't really like this extremely popular book that you all love. I'm sorry. Actually, I'm not sorry. But I'd still like to not be hit with tomatoes if that's okay?

I was really excited for If I Stay. It had been on my radar as a future read for a while, Gayle Forman being who she is and all that. When I went to see The Fault in Our Stars, the trailer for If I Stay was shown. I actually had no idea what the book was about until I saw the movie trailer (sorry, geez - I'd never really looked into it) and that one little clip was enough to make me need to read it. I picked it up almost immediately and went home to dive in.

The first thing I noticed was that the writing was beautiful but simple and the dialogue was amusing but a tad bit awkward. Honestly, both of these things kind of annoyed me. It made me want to like what I was reading but it also made it difficult to like it. Mia was a teenager, a brilliant one so I can forgive it, but she spoke like a cultured adult. Even the little brother who was what, seven or eight, spoke like he was much older. It was a little too stiff and awkward for me, but like I said - I didn't hate it, it was just hard for me to enjoy as much as I wanted to.

Unfortunately, the thing that really cemented the fact that this book wasn't for me was that it didn't make me feel anything. I think I shed a total of two tears throughout the whole book. Even the love story didn't give me any feels. It was just pleasant but nothing to write home about. It did make me think, which I always appreciate in a book, especially young adult novels which always get such a bad wrap. But to me, the book was supposed to do both and I just didn't really care about Mia's struggles or having to make a choice other than feeling incredibly sad about her losing her family.

Maybe I really have an icebox where my heart used to be and I'm incapable of any human emotion because I know that it should have made me feel but it didn't. I didn't hate this book, but honestly I didn't feel much of anything about it. I had and still don't have any plans to read the sequel because I honestly just didn't connect with Mia. I might go looking for spoilers so I can know what happens to her, but I can't dedicate several days of my life to reading about it. I forgot about If I Stay the second I was done and decided to give it away, hoping someone else might like it more. Winner of said giveaway, I hope you enjoy it.

So please, hold the tomatoes. I'm just not human, that's all.


RATING: ★★★ - It was OK

Though this is a favorite of many of my trusted blogging pals, it just didn't do it for me. I still want to see the movie, actually, because I find that when I can't connect with a book but really want to, I tend to connect with the movie pretty well, such as with Vampire Academy (even though I adored the rest of the series) and TFiOS (yes, I liked this book well enough but adored the movie).

If I Stay didn't do much in the way of moving me but on the bright side it did make me think about life, it's fragility, the deaths that will one day take us all and whether or not we may have a choice to live or die, maybe not the way Mia did, but in the way we live our lives now - and what to choose if we do have that choice?

It wasn't a bad book, just not for me and I really do think it's something that a lot of others would enjoy if you haven't read it yet. I think I'm just emotionally deficient.

Have you read If I Stay yet? Did it move heaven and earth for you or were you like me, just kind of meh? I'd love to hear from you on this one!

Also, the movie comes out tonight (technically tomorrow). I'm going to go see it on Saturday, and don't you worry - if you're not sure about it, I'll let you know what I thought. Are you planning on seeing it, unsure, or totally against it? Let's talk books... and er... movies!



  1. After reading a review like this, I'm pretty confident that I don't have a heart. You're like, "there's an icebox in place of my heart" because you shed TWO tears. Let me tell you, a book has never made me cry and the only movie I ever cried in was My Dog Skip. I thought everyone was crazy when I saw TFiOS... Oh well. In any case, I'm sorry you didn't love this book, but hopefully the movie is better!

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

  2. Yeah... I've been avoiding this book for all the reasons you mention. I'm really picky about my Contemporary novels. I like coming-of-age stories and ones that are funny and deep at the same time but sad books are not for me! After reading your review it makes me want to avoid it even more. I like the way you call it a "tomato-throwing review," that's happened to me so many times with the contemp everyone loves! I may see the movie but avoid the book. Thanks for the review!

  3. I'm a huge crier, ahaha. If anything is remotely sad, I'll bawl. (Why, Pixar films, why???) I only cried once while reading If I Stay (the part when her grandfather visits her in the hospital) you definitely don't have an icebox for a heart (Also, when you used the word "icebox", that song by Omarion got stuck in my head), or at least, we both have iceboxes for hearts??? We can be cold-hearted together??? Anyway, I'm not a huge fan of "issue-driven" YA. I didn't even read TFiOS. I'm more of a Sci-Fi/Fantasy fan. Great review, though. :)

    Axie @ Books are Bread

  4. Haha this cracked me up for some reason. I do hear a lot of people say they don't cry for anything. I seriously had an issue this last month where I thought that something was wrong with me because nothing made me cry. But I'm better now. I've written handful of tomato throwers and it makes me nervous every time. Like what is it that I'm missing here?

    Thanks for stopping by! :)

  5. I've written handful of tomato throwers and it makes me nervous every time. Like what is it that I'm missing here? I am definitely becoming more picky about contemps after reading several duds, including this one. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. I cry a ton too, but the fact that you didn't cry for this book makes me feel soooo much better! Also, I love that freaking song! I def sang it out loud when I was writing that hahah. Thanks!

  7. Haha! If I cried every month over a book/movie/show everyone would think I was pregnant!

  8. I still haven't read this. I've had it on my TBR way before I heard anything about the movie. I have a feeling I'll enjoy it but not as much as the world. Great review :)


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