Book Review: If I Stay – Gayle Forman

If I Stay – book one
Release Date: April 2009
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Pages: 201.
Find It On: Goodreads. Amazon.


Bestselling author Gayle Forman presents a beautiful, heartbreaking story about what to do when everything in life comes crashing down.

Mia is an ordinary seventeen year old girl. She goes to school, has a best friend named Kim and a boyfriend named Adam. She loves music, and her toughest decision is to decide whether to stay in Portland with boyfriend Adam, or stay true to her music and attend Julliard the following year.

Then one morning, everything changes. School and work is cancelled, it’s a snow day. Mia’s family decide to take a trip to visit friends and family and a freak accident causes their car to spin off the road. Instantly everything changes for Mia, and she has to make the toughest decision she’ll ever have to make, whether or not to stay.

This book is a big tear jerker, so make sure you have the tissues on hand when you read this one.

I dived into this book straight after finishing Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone, a fantasy/magical novel, and one of the reasons I really enjoyed If I Stay is the stark contrast it has with Shadow and Bone. It’s a very realistic, contemporary novel. It’s a really sweet, interesting story and at little over two hundred pages, it’s definitely worth your while putting the time in to read it.

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, If I Stay has recently been released as a motion picture, and part of the reason I picked the book up was because of the hubbub surrounding the film. I have not as of yet seen the film, but I feel it made me slightly disappointed in the novel –  I expected somewhat more with everyone reacting so strongly to it. It is a truly lovely little story, and the characters are such interesting ones, the impact music has on their lives is a really interesting aspect, and as a music fan I really enjoyed that. I also really loved the way the story is set in two halves, the hospital scenes in which her family are visiting her, and the flash backs to Mia’s life, her everyday moments with friends and family, it definitely makes the devastation hit a whole lot closer to home.

I felt somewhat surprised at how little Mia reacts to the death of her family, I understand that she’s in shock, but I felt it would have made more of an impact – had I been in that situation. Still, all in it’s a great little story, heart warming and also heart breaking – definitely worth a read and fans of The Fault in Our Stars will definitely enjoy it. There is also a sequel – Where She Went, which occurs after the events of If I Stay, which I for one am most definitely going to read.

Looking for something similar? Try: On the Jellicoe Road or Before I Die.

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3 thoughts on “Book Review: If I Stay – Gayle Forman

  • marinesbooks

    Thank you for following my blog, I remembered your name from Instagram so I came and checked out your blog, I really like your reviews! Well done 🙂 I still haven’t read this one, I really need to though. But the movie hasn’t been released in original version where I live and I don’t want to see it in Spanish so I am probably going to wait for the DVD, which gives me more time to read it haha.