When I began reading If I Stay by Gayle Forman I had no idea how little I knew the basic storyline of the book. I knew there was a car accident, I knew the main character Mia was in it and knew certain love ones were affected, and that Mia had to make a hard decision. However, other than that I really had no idea what this book was about so of course after reading a few pages I turned to the back cover and read the synopsis and after that things clicked into place a little more firmly. Still, I can't say going into If I Stay partially blind is a bad thing. Usually I know what a book is about before I crack open the spine, if not from the synopsis then from reviews but not so in this case and I think the unknowing added to the premise of this novel so I will try to be as vague as possible in that regard.
Mia's day starts off a little perfect, school has been closed on the account of a snow day which means herself, her little brother Teddy and her teacher father get to play hooky for the day and because it wouldn't be right for Mia's mom to go to work while they all stay home she calls in to the office and takes the day off as well. A day with the family is cut brutally short however when a terrible car accident lands Mia in the ICU and the worst 24 hours of her life unfolds when she realizes that she has to make a choice.
If I Stay was what I expected it to be in terms of writing, I knew this book, before I read it, would be one to make me cry but when I started it and got into it I thought I was going to be OK because although our main character has been struck with a tragedy we're not focusing on the terrible fact of the present but on her wonderful past, her life before now and of those she loves. I really thought I wouldn't cry until I reached the middle and both Mia and I were hit with a terrible truth that had been obvious all along and from then on out I was tearing up every few pages until the end.
This novel is actually a very easy read but the way Gayle Forman pieces her scenes together made the story flow perfectly and so the writing is beautiful. This novel wasn't like other books where a main character has suffered a loss, where the books are often heavy with grief but about what many reviewers have already said. If I Stay is about family, love, music, and friendship. This novel is about the harmony and cacophony of life and about carrying on with it even though the alternative would be such an easy path to follow.
I admire Mia for the decision she made in the end, even if it's one she didn't know she would make, one she had decided not to make initially. I doubt I would have the strength to make the choice she did and hope I never have to, but I am very happy that I made the choice to pick up If I Stay because this is a story that will stay with me for a long time and I hope the companion novel does the same.show more