Review: If I Stay

If I Stay by Gayle Forman was released in the U.S. on April 2, 2009. It is currently available online in hardcover, paperback, eBook and audio formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

The hardcover first edition, published by Dutton Juvenile and is 208 pages.

The beautiful cover above is from the paperback edition published by Speak, a division of Penguin.

Goodreads description:

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 heartachingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make—and the ultimate choice Mia commands.


What if everything was taken away from you in an instant? What would you do if the choice to go on was left up to you?

Would you stay? Or would you leave?

Could you leave behind those you love? Could you go on in the absence of those you’ve lost?

What would it take to make you stay?


If I Stay is a delicately beautiful, deeply moving and devastatingly heartbreaking story about a girl who is faced with the difficult decision of what to do after being involved in a horrific accident.

Mia, whose life hangs in the balance, must choose whether to fight for life or slip away. Neither choice is simple. Neither without pain. Neither without loss. And no matter which choice she makes, she will have to say goodbye.

Her decision will require a maturity and strength not easily found under such terrible circumstances or by someone as young as she. She should never have had to learn the harsh lessons of life at her age, been forced to make such a difficult decision or bear witness to the things she has seen and heard.

“I realize now that dying is easy. Living is hard.”

Author Gayle Forman has created such a fragile and heartrending story that cannot help but touch everyone who reads it. If I Stay will have readers asking themselves what they would do if they had the power over their own life and death.

As tragic as this story is, there are bright spots throughout as Mia looks back at key moments in her life. These glances through the window at her life before show readers where she comes from, what she has to lose if she leaves, and what she has lost if she stays.

This book will stay with you for a long time. It will turn you inside out, leave you very aware of just how tenuous the balance is between life and death and make you take a long look at just what you might have to lose if you were in Mia’s shoes.

Reviewer gives this book [rating=6]. Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.

On a personal note:

I don’t know how many times I broke down during this book. It was technically such a quick read, but took much longer as it was devastatingly sad. My heart just kept breaking over and over.

There is so much I could say, but I don’t want to spoil anything. I’m glad to see that the description tells so little of the story as it’s one that should be discovered and connected with personally. And I hope my review didn’t reveal too much.

The author told the story beautifully from Mia’s perspective. And for anyone who’s suffered a great loss or who is close to someone who has, they can relate to and understand so much of what Mia and everyone who loves her is going through.

And the author pulls you right into the story. As Mia asks those tough questions of herself you can’t help but ask them of yourself.

I’m sorry not to tell more in this personal note, but this book will feel so very personal and come across so differently to everyone who reads it.

I’m glad that I didn’t read this when it was originally released. I’m not sure if the sequel was planned, but if I had been aware of another book at the time I read this, I would have suffered for so long waiting for its release. Fortunately, I have a copy to read now, but if I didn’t, the release of Where She Went is only just over a week away on April 5th.

I had so many favorite passages, but I’m only including a partial quote so as not to spoil:

“I can lose you like that if I don’t lose you today. I’ll let you go. If you stay.”

How I “discovered” this book:

If I Stay is a “Just Discovered” just got a chance to read book.

I had seen If I Stay on Amazon for the longest time. It kept coming up in my list of books recommended to me. Eventually I purchased the eBook after having this on my Wish List for at least a year.

It got shuffled back further and further until I almost forgot I owned it, I’m sorry to say. While I love contemporary young adult fiction, and for a brief period last fall I was reading nothing but, I tend to gravitate to the paranormal genre. They certainly offer more of an escape than the very real issues presented in a work of fiction such as this book.

But recently I was made aware of a sequel that is coming out. And that cover is just as appealing as the paperback’s cover for If I Stay, shown above. I managed to snag the sequel in a book trade and so that motivated me to begin reading this book, which I added to my reading pile this week.


To read an excerpt from If I Stay on the book’s website, CLICK HERE.

To read an excerpt from Where She Went, which will be releasing on April 5, 2011, on the book’s website, CLICK HERE.

Check back next week for my review of Where She Went.

Book trailer for If I Stay:

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