Book Review: If I Stay by Gayle Foreman

a book by an author you've never read before81aTBRY7dxLTitle: If I Stay

Author: Gayle Foreman

Publisher: Black Swan

Blurb: The last thing Mia remembers is the music.

After the accident, she can still hear it. And she can see her damaged body being taken from the wreck of her parents’ car – even though she can’t feel a thing.

All she can do it watch as doctors rush to save her life, as her friends and relatives gather outside her room, as the boy she loves struggles to be near her.

As the next twenty-four hours unfold, Mia must come to terms with what came before the crash – and what could come after. And she knows she must make the most difficult choice of all.

Review

If I Stay follows the life changing 24 hours after Mia and her family get into a devastating car accident. Her parents died at the scene and her little brother Teddy is in critical condition and Mia is floating somewhere inbetween life and death – unable to feel anything but can see everything – including her own body on the operating table. As Mia flashes back through her life – the good, the bad and everything inbetween – she has to make the most important decision of all. To stay or not.

Chances are you’ve either read the book, seen the film or both but as always, I’m 200 years late to the party and only just got around to reading it and truthfully, I wasn’t as blown away as I was expecting to be – considering all the brilliant reviews I’ve read about this book. The storyline was right up my street – I loved the idea and concept of this teenage girl going through the most traumatic experience then having to make the most unspeakably courageous decision but I felt there could have been more substance and unfortunately, felt like it fell a bit flat.

I loved the parts of the story in which Mia was describing what it was like being in the hospital, seeing her own body and her relatives however the flashbacks I did struggle with. Mia is an avid cello player and adores classical music and I erm, well… don’t. Absolutely no offence to anyone who does, but having to read about something which doesn’t interest you at all can get a bit tedious! This unfortunately led me to not feeling connected with the characters as much as I should have and although they were all well developed I found myself not caring that much.

Despite all that though, I can completely see why this book is so popular. It was exceptionally easy to read and I managed to read over 3/4 of it in a day. However, I think my expectations were probably too high which led me to feel a bit deflated by the whole thing by the end. I’m a huge YA fan but I don’t think If I Stay was for me.

Amazon UK | Amazon US | The Book Depository | Goodreads

Rating

2.5/5 Stars

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11 thoughts on “Book Review: If I Stay by Gayle Foreman

  1. It makes me sad that you were disappointed in it. I totally enjoyed the flashback part of the book over the present day parts. It kind of made it all the more emotional for me as she looked back over all these beautiful family moments and realised that she could never have them again. (sob) I actually found that I liked the book more after watching the film, don’ know why, but I just did. You should check out Where She Went (book 2), alot of people have said that they prefer that one to the first one, and it’s all from Adam’s POV 🙂

    1. Ah, isn’t it funny how people can have such different opinions of the same book?
      I watched the film straight after finishing the book and I adored the film and the flashbacks and but I dunno, the book just didn’t grip me in the way I thought it would! It was emotional, I agree. I may have to try out Where She Went, that sounds interesting – the same book from another characters point of view!

  2. I read and loved If I Stay but hated the follow up, Where She Went. I recently bought her latest one, I was her and dont like that either. Strange isnt it.
    Good review Jenny, like your style of writing
    Gill x

    1. Huh really? I’ve found that people either love or hate If I Stay – I’ve not really heard many “it was good” reviews. I’ve heard what I Was Here is about and think that sounds really good so I’d like to give it a try. A lot of people love Gayle Foremans writing and stories so I don’t want to give up on her because of one book!

      And thank you, I’m glad you like it 🙂

      Jenny x

  3. I haven’t read the book but I have seen the movie and honestly I didn’t like it. I suppose it’s not my thing, but I wouldn’t say that it’s a book that deserves the hyped that it’s got. I’m not surprised that you put it so little stars. Great review!

    1. I just guess that it’s a book/film that appeals to a certain audience. I wasn’t a big fan of the writing style either – I found it a bit bland 😦 I honestly am gutted I didn’t like it though cos I really thought I would! Thank you 🙂

  4. I loved the concept of this book, thought it was well-written, and read the whole thing. But I was disappointed with it, too. For different reasons. I actually thought the flashbacks were kinda cool — interesting to see her relationships and how they formed. I also liked the music bit (though I’m not a musician by any stretch). I guess I was turned off by the fact that her decision about whether or not to live seemed to depend on a boy.

    1. You’re definitely right on what you say about what impacted her decision. I wasn’t a fan of Adam – in the book or the film. He didn’t seem like a very well thought-out character and I don’t know, just something about him didn’t sit well. I loved the concept and the idea too but I think there could have been a lot more to it.

  5. I definitely agree with so much of what you’ve said here! I don’t really have any interest in classical music either so I found those parts quite boring, and the flashbacks as a whole I didn’t really like. A lot of them didn’t seem all that relevant to the story, and they made the book feel kind of choppy to me, because it kept flicking back and forth in no logical order.
    At the same time I got through it pretty quickly too, so I guess it can’t have been that bad! It just didn’t live up to expectations for me either.
    Great review!

    1. I totally agree about the book feeling ‘choppy’ because of the flashbacks! I didn’t think it flowed very well because of them. It’s nice talking to someone who completely agrees! Thanks for you comment 🙂 xo

  6. I have just finished “Where She Went” and loved it on so many levels especially as it was from Adam’s perspective. I loved “If I Stay” very much, book and film, but I loved the sequel that little bit more I think as it was the conclusion of their journey and I found I was holding my breath for the last 3 chapters until it was clear that these two hearts and souls had finally found each other again for their forever and it overwhelmed me with emotion.

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