Book Reviews

Review: “If I Stay,” Gayle Forman

September 29, 2010
Review: “If I Stay,” Gayle FormanIf I Stayby Gayle Forman
Series: If I Stay #1
Published by Dutton on April, 2009
Genres: Contemporary, Loss & Grief, Romance
Pages: 199

In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck…

A sophisticated, layered, and heartachingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make—and the ultimate choice Mia commands.

I’d heard a lot of good things about this story, so I was expecting something huge. I enjoyed it, but it was just shy of becoming a favourite. I will look out eagerly for Where She Went, though. I’m so curious to follow this story!

So many people have recommended this to me. I wasn’t disappointed! If I Stay was absolutely heart-wrenching and I found myself a little damp around the eyes through Mia’s recollections. How awesome was her mum? I actually laughed out loud at the “Fuck Enya!” line. Classic moment, no?

Mia was a great story-teller. She’s looking back on her life after a horrific car crash in which she was the only survivor. Her parents are gone, as well as her little brother. Does she go with her family? Or does she stay? This is the choice she has to make.

She has a boyfriend, a best loveable best friend, caring grandparents and a handful of other relatives all waiting for her to make her decision. Some are okay with her going if it’s what she feels is right while some are desperate for her to stay.

I feel like I’ve been dealing with a lot of loss in the past few books I’ve read. It’s amazing, though, how each one has managed to tackle such a common theme in a very unique way. I applaud all the books I’ve read this month and Gayle Formans If I Stay is no different. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

It’ll make you laugh, it’ll make you cry and it will make you think. Hard.

I can’t say what I’d do in Mia’s shoes, but she was a lot braver than I would have been. Surveying the wreckage after the crash was horrendous, (I had the audiobook before I swapped it over for an electronic copy) even moreso hearing it read it aloud to you by the narrator. Gayle Forman wasn’t shy in disclosing the gritty details that we ultimately needed in order to feel Mia’s pain.

I can’t wait to find out what happens next. The sequel “Where She Went” takes place three years later. I won’t post the blurb, but you can read about it here. It comes out April next year and I’ve already added it to my to-read list!

Recommended to: I think this is the sort of book that can appeal to anyone. It will make you sit back and appreciate everything you have in your life. Have a box of tissues ready.

About Gayle Forman

Gayle Forman is an American writer for young adults who currently resides in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and daughter. Forman began her career writing for Seventeen Magazine in which most of her articles focused on young people and social concerns.


  • Reply Kara September 30, 2010 at 11:28 am

    I’ve seen this book everywhere it looks interesting! thanks for the review

    • Reply Brittany September 30, 2010 at 12:23 pm

      I had, too, which made me want to read it even more! Thanks!

  • Reply TheBookGirl September 29, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    This looks like something I would like…I found your blog through Waiting on Wednesday…it’s great!

    • Reply Brittany September 30, 2010 at 12:48 am

      Thank you! I’m glad you like it ^^

      And I definitely recommend the book!

    Leave a Reply

    CommentLuv badge