Thursday, February 28, 2013

If I Stay by Gayle Foreman

If I Stay
Gayle Forman
2010, 320 pgs

Summary from Publishers Weekly
The last normal moment that Mia, a talented cellist, can remember is being in the car with her family. Then she is standing outside her body beside their mangled Buick and her parents' corpses, watching herself and her little brother being tended by paramedics. As she ponders her state (Am I dead? I actually have to ask myself this), Mia is whisked away to a hospital, where, her body in a coma, she reflects on the past and tries to decide whether to fight to live. Via Mia's thoughts and flashbacks, Forman (Sisters in Sanity) expertly explores the teenager's life, her passion for classical music and her strong relationships with her family, friends and boyfriend, Adam. Mia's singular perspective (which will recall Alice Sebold's adult novel, The Lovely Bones) also allows for powerful portraits of her friends and family as they cope: Please don't die. If you die, there's going to be one of those cheesy Princess Diana memorials at school, prays Mia's friend Kim. I know you'd hate that kind of thing. Intensely moving, the novel will force readers to take stock of their lives and the people and things that make them worth living.

My Summary
I enjoyed this book, but I never connected with it.  I would still fully recommend it to others – The relationships between Mia and her parents, Mia and her brother, Mia and her friend Kim and Mia and her boyfriend Adam are well fleshed out. 

I actually identified with Mia on quite a few levels.  I was the well behaved teenager who got along with her parents and loved her much younger brother (mine is 7 years younger).  My activity of choice was music (vocal), but nowhere near Mia’s skill level.  It really bothered me that I didn’t fully invest in the story, but I didn’t.  I do still plan to read the sequel.  Maybe I didn’t connect because I was seeing things through Mia’s eyes and she was just watching large chunks of the action rather than living it.  That shouldn’t be the case in “Where She Went”.

Other Reviews
Alluring Reads

My Rating
Enjoyability (2.5 out of 5 stars)
Relationships (4 out of 5 stars)
Writing (4 out of 5 stars)
This book will stay with me….I’ll have to let you know after reading the sequel.


  1. People LOVE this book and while I liked it, I just didn't feel like it was as special as everyone made it out to be. Glad you felt similarly. I have the sequel sitting on my shelf at home and just can't motivate myself to pick it up. I want to read it eventually, but I guess not that badly. I'm curious to see what you think about it.

    1. My spare time has been dramatically cut recently so I probably won't make it to the sequel for awhile - too many books I'm dying to read and can barely find time.

      Glad to know I wasn't the only one who didn't love this one.