Title: If I Stay
Author: Gayle Forman
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers, April 2009
MSRP (Hardback, USA): $16.99
Rating: A hands-down, no doubt * * * * */5!
I just finished this... I think around 3 minutes ago, the first book I'm reading for Sara's challenge.
If I Stay is a bittersweet, absolutely amazing book about love, loss, family, friends, and most of all choices, particularly the ones Mia has to make after the car crash one day that kills her mom, dad, and baby brother, Teddy.
It starts off with a sweet, almost-too-perfect chapter with Mia and her family, and that made me think, Oh no... this will be just TOO cloyingly perfect to enjoy. But it wasn't!
Then comes the car crash that changes it all, and lands Mia in the hospital, where she watches in a kind of ghost like version of herself as people visit her, tell her, Stay, stay, please stay. But Mia isn't sure she wants to stay... So which one does she choose? You'll have to read this fantastic book to find out!
I'm racking my brain for some constructive criticism for this book, something that might make it better. I can't find anything. I really and truly think this one of the best books I've read in a while. Well, I might have one complaint, if you can call it that... the writing was a bit too formal for me at times. And there was this weird thing with Brooke Vega in it that kind of made me cringe a bit. But other than that I loved it.
It did have a rather abrupt ending, and any other time that would have bothered me- and for a few minutes, I was bothered- I wasn't ready for it to be over! But then I thought about it, and I think it really worked best. Had it been even one sentence longer it would have lost a lot of its impact.
Mia was just such a wonderful character. At first, like I mentioned, she seemed just too perfect, but throughout the book, you really get to know Mia better than I've seen in most any other book, all her faults, her feelings, her fears, insecurities. And she had so many layers and so much texture, you felt like you were her, not just reading her words.
And the writing was just fantastic. Forman knew just what to write to convey Mia's emotion, her thoughts, right down to the letter. Mia plays cello, and the writing kind of reminded me of cello music- it flowed wonderfully, and it was sweet, sad and... I really don't know what other word to use besides this, it's one of those annoying irrelevant words on the back of books in the praise part- poignant. That may sound a little sappy, oops!
Another thing I loved about this book was how it interchanged between fond past memories of her family and friends, and the harsh present, and listening to all the stories she had to tell of the past. Also, the fact that music played such a big part in the book. I love music SO much- shocker :P- and that was important to me.
I could rant about this book more to try to convince you to read it, but I think it's better to just take my word :)