Review: If I Stay (If I Stay #1) by Gayle Forman

4374400Title: If I Stay (If I Stay #1)
Author: Gayle Forman
Published: April 2nd 2009
Date Read: January 15th 2014
Rating: 4 stars

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 heart-achingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make, and the ultimate choice Mia commands.



To say I was scared of reading this book was a complete understatement. This has been recommended to me several times and yet I haven’t read it. I have bought a copy of this book plus its sequel but haven’t read it as well.

So what is wrong with me?

Well, I’m scared. With the vague and quite eerie appeal of it’s blurb to me, I’m scared that this will be one of those book that will require a box of Kleenex while reading; one of those books that will not only tug but will break my heartstrings. And Oh boy, I was so not mistaken! Everything about this book just made me cry. It was depressing, touching and moving all at the same time.


“I’m not sure this is a world I belong in anymore. I’m not sure that I want to wake up.”


Mia’s life is picture perfect with her parents, little brother, best friend and boyfriend until the accident happened and she find herself looking down at her own struggling body. She finds herself torn between leaving and staying.

If I Stay reminds me of The Lovely Bones in a way that the lead character both tells the story from another unworldly place but the difference is that Susie Salmon doesn’t have a choice because she is dead while Mia was still at the stage between life and death.

It’s not really hard to get into Mia’s head. She was a great narrator for she well roundedly describes a full picture of her life. She’s a completely ordinary girl who loves her family and music and a space was also reserved for a boy. To think of being on her place can cause me to lose my mind but I do like the fact that Mia still had the time to see the two sides of her decision – if she’s going to leave or stay.

Every character on this book is full of feelings. I can feel Kim, Mia’s bets friend outright love and care for her. I love Teddy so much; he makes my heart melt and every mention of him makes me smile bitterly. Mia’s grandpa, despite not saying too much gave too much on this book.

Adam, well what can I say? This guy is just it. He’s not perfect, he’s a guy. He easily got irritated; it’s hard to spell him out. His words rocked me and my heart. His deep love for Mia and his dedication to music was unquestionable. I know this has been shared countless of times but for the sake of the tears I shed while reading this and how this one touched me, my favorite quotation from Adam:


“If you stay, I’ll do whatever you want. I’ll quit the band; go with you to New York. But if you need me to go away, I’ll do that, too. I was talking to Liz and she said maybe coming back to your old life would be too painful, that maybe it’d be easier for you to erase us. And that would suck, but I’d do it. I can lose you like that if I don’t lose you today. I’ll let you go. If you stay.”


In a short span of time that this story was told it feels like a lot happened. In such a short span, too many feelings have been felt and in a short span of time too many realizations were made. I’m amaze with Gayle Forman’s prowess in making such story that is flawlessly touching.

The book was not perfect. I find myself questioning the perfection of Mia’s relationship with her parents – being a teenager and all that; Plus her too good to be true relationship with Adam – the school hottie. I find myself dragging thru Mia’s recaps of her life because at some point it became flat. I also felt lost with all the music references, but it was all jaded by the depth and the feels that this book gave me. Yes, I’m easy. I’m easily swayed with feelings.

If I Stay is one of the most flourishing, thought provoking and touching story of friendship, romance and family. It’s a very simple book with a very strong impact. A definite must read.

5 thoughts on “Review: If I Stay (If I Stay #1) by Gayle Forman

    • karlaamae says:

      Thank you Indie Reader Girl! Did both – Thirteen Reasons Why and If I Stay- made you cry? They’re a bit different but almost the same feels plus the writing was really good on both accounts. 😀

      • indiereadergirl0329 says:

        Oh yeah. I cried like a baby reading both. Why I chose two read two really depressing books back to back I will never know. Both were really good, though. Don’t regret reading either. Glad Jay Asher’s second book The Future of Us was a lighter read. Same goes with Forman’s second series which I loved and actually read both of compared to if I stay because that one was too emotional for me.

      • karlaamae says:

        I totally get what you feel, If I Stay alone was already depressing add up another one can totally make you cry. But that’s part of it because it just shows that those books have a great depth especially in holding their readers feelings right? 🙂

        I haven’t read Asher’s second book, The Future of Us has been on my to-read shelf for a long time. I’ll be sure to pick that one up soon. 😀

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