Monday, August 25, 2014

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Publication Date: 2009

Series: If I Stay (bk. 1) Where She Went is the companion novel/2nd book.

Genera(s): Cotemporary/Paranormal/Romance

Subjects: death, afterlife, comas, grief, supernatural, musicians

Setting: Oregon

POV/Tense: 1st person POV, present tense: Mia

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 234 pgs.

HC/PB: Paperback

List Price: $9.99

Publisher: Penguin/Speak

Summary/ product description: “The critically acclaimed, bestselling novel from Gayle Forman, author of Where She Went, Just One Day, and the forthcoming Just One Year.

On a day that started like any other, Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, admiring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. In an instant, almost all of that is taken from her. Caught between life and death, between a happy past and an unknowable future, Mia spends one critical day contemplating the only decision she has left. It is the most important decision she'll ever make.

Simultaneously tragic and hopeful, this is a romantic, riveting, and ultimately uplifting story about memory, music, living, dying, loving.”

My Review:  I read If I Stay in less than a day. No joke. I decided I had to read it since the movie’s coming out and I had a paperback copy with a personalized, autographed book plate. I met Gayle Forman at a YA let conference in Naperville, at Hotel Arista. If I Stay came out in 2009, 5 years ago, and I always though it was just plain contemporary. I surprised that there was a touch of paranormal in it. It’s been compared to Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, which I also haven’t read, but I known that it’s similar.

The best parts of this book are the music talk and the humorous dialogue. My brother Brandon plays the Cello in his high school Orchestra. He’s not nearly as dedicated as the main character Mia is in this book. The cello’s not a popular instrument like guitar or piano, but it make some beautiful, sorrowful or joyful music. I could just imagine a soundtrack of cello music in the background as I read this. I hope the movie does the book justice, music wise at least.

This book was very fast and easy. It’s a simple concept that I’ve read before. We get a lot of the character’s memories and flashbacks. We get to see what’s happening around her coma body in the hospital. She has an out-of-body experience. It’s not exactly like the Reese Witherspoon movie Just Like Heaven. No one can see her or talk to her. She can’t go through walls, but see can open doors.  It’s interesting, but I feel like more could have happened. I’m sure more does happen, just not in her experience. Maybe if I read Where She Went, which is in Adam’s POV, then I’ll get more. There’s a little romance, mostly in the flashbacks. No out-of-body kisses for Mia.

I recommend this if you like Before I Fall, Ashes, Ashes, The Catastrophe of You and Me, Between, The Lovely Bones, or movies like Just Like Heaven. Read If I Stay before you see it in theaters!

Cover Art Review: Very simple cover. Looks cold and sad. Mia has brown hair, so it’s portray Mia better than the movie does.

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