Review : If I stay
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Pages : 236
Genre : YA, Fiction
My Rating :
What it’s about :
After a terrible car accident involving her parents and her little brother puts her in a coma, Mia ends up caught between life and death. Witnessing what happens as the doctors try to save her life and her loved ones worry about her, Mia is like a ghost, present but unable to interact with anyone. As hour passes and she evaluates her life, she is faced with the biggest decision she’s ever had to take : stay, or go…
If I Stay starts like a punch : the accident happens around page 15 an no gory detail is left out of the description. The effect is a bit shocking, but serves its purpose perfectly, facing the reader to the tragedy from the beginning of the story.
I really loved some parts of the story, and some other, not so much.
What I loved : Mia’s narration of her life. I loved meeting her parents and her brother and everyone through Mia’s memories. It was a perfect description of a teenager’s life, filled with hopes, fears, love and passion. Her stories portrayed her family vividly, and I felt that in that short time, I really got to know who they were. Many were scenes of everyday life rather than Important Events, and I think that they’re the kind of details that illustrate one’s life the more precisely. Sure, it was a bit glossed over : Mia’s life seemed more than nice, filled with butterflies and rainbows. It made sense to me though, that she would think mostly of the good : they were some of the things she had to stay for, and some of the things she had now lost.
What I liked less : how I felt, quite often, that the story was trying to pull my strings. Yes, the events are heartbreaking, tragic, the kind that brings tears to your eyes. And yes, it kind of worked on me. But in some places, I felt the writing lacked some subtlety. I don’t like when I feel pushed to be sad; it just annoys me and takes me out of the book. Therefore, the most emotional scenes for me weren’t the most emotional scenes, but those of daily life. For instance, the scene where Mia is washing the dishes with her mom and talking about her love life with her : it was such a regular scene compared to the hospital scenes, and illustrated so well what Mia had lost that I really felt my heart breaking.
I loved Mia and her personality. Her passion for music resonated through the pages and I wanted to know more about her, her life, and her romance with Adam. Except for the aforementioned problem, I loved the author’s writing. It had a simplicity that flew through the pages easily and made it a quick read. It’s also a book that gives you a lot to think about : if you were Mia, would you stay or go?
If I stay can certainly be an emotional read, but I thought it was a good one. It was a beautiful story, and if you appreciate books that shake you up a little, I recommend you this one.