Monday, June 30, 2014

Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Title: If I Stay
Author: Gayle Forman
Release Date: April 2, 2009
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Find On: Goodreads and Amazon.

Quick Review:

Just listen, Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel.

I open my eyes wide now.
I sit up as much as I can.
And I listen.

Stay, he says.

Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?

Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it's the only one that matters.

If I Stay is a heartachingly beautiful book about the power of love, the true meaning of family, and the choices we all make.

Detailed Review:

There’s this lump in my throat every. single. time. I read this book.

Tears start prickling in my eyes and all I want to do is bawl up and cry until I can't cry anymore tears.

I first got a copy of this book in July (2013) after hearing that there would be a movie coming out later this year.

Believe it or not, it took me 5 months to read this book.

But it wasn’t because this book was dead-boring or because I didn’t have the time to.

It was quite the opposite actually.

I literally could not read this book because… well… I guess it was because I just knew this would be one of those books.

The ones that make you want to curl up in a ball and do nothing for days afterwards because you’re too sad to.

I guess I wanted to deal with the aftermath of this book on my own. When I had the time to.

First published in 2009, “If I Stay” by Gayle Forman is different. I’ve never read a book quite like this one.

… And I like that.

It also poses a very good question: What would you do if you had to choose?

For me, the main character is refreshing. It feels like she could be my best friend. I relate to her not because of the tragedy in her life or anything of that sort. It probably sounds incredibly stupid but I’ve always had a soft spot for main characters that play classical music – be it the cello or the piano. It just happens.

I guess it’s because I’m a pianist and all that jazz.

Stupid, right?

There’s this suddenness about how everything falls apart so quickly. It’s like those moments you hear about all the time – where if you blinked, you would have missed it.

I can’t imagine going through what Mia did.

I guess I’m lucky that way. I hope I never will.

One minute, everything is going magnificently – the whole world is at your feet and the next… your whole world has been flipped upside down.

”You wouldn’t expect the radio to work afterward. But it does.

The car is eviscerated. The impact of a four-ton pickup truck going sixty miles an hour plowing straight into the passenger side had the force of an atom bomb. It tore off the doors, sent the front-side passenger seat through the driver’s-side window. It flipped the chassis, bouncing it across the road and ripped the engine apart as if it were no stronger than a spider web. It tossed wheels and hubcaps deep into the forest. It ignited bits of the gas tank, so that now tiny flames lap at the wet road.

And there was so much noise. A symphony of grinding, a chorus of popping, an aria of exploding, and finally, the sad clapping of hard metal cutting into soft trees. Then it went quiet, except for this: Beethoven’s Cello Sonata no. 3, still playing. The car radio somehow still is attached to a battery and so Beethoven is broadcasting into the once-again tranquil February morning.

At first I figure everything is fine. For one, I can still hear the Beethoven. Then there’s the fact that I am standing here in a ditch on the side of the road. When I look down, the jean skirt, cardigan sweater, and the black boots I put on this morning all look the same as they did when we left the house.” 

Oh, but the fragility of life.

It is the reality of things.

The sad, bitter, harsh and incredibly cruel reality of things.

The author has this way with words. He’s so descriptive, but not overly so. He has that natural balance that so many of us could spend a lifetime trying to perfect, but without talent, we would probably never quite get there.

If you had to choose between living and dying what would you choose?

For many of us, the answer seems simple.

“I’d want to live, duh.”

But it isn’t always.

Imagine having lost your loved ones, your blood relatives, the people you have known your entire life.

Would you still choose life?

I know this sounds crazy stupid but I wouldn’t.

Dying is easy… It’s living that’s hard.

I’ll be honest. Brutally and totally honest.

My family means the world to me.

My friends do too.

I probably don’t tell them this enough but they are the most amazing people in the whole entire world.

And I feel blessed to have them in my life.

I would take a bullet for my family and my friends.

They are the support system that keeps my head above the water when I think I’m about to drown.

And to lose even part of that support system?

To lose my family?

I think I’d fall apart.

This is one of those books that make you cry and laugh. I've read this book over a hundred times and I swear, after I finish reading this, I hold onto my family so much tighter and remind myself just how blessed I am.

If you haven't read the book, you definitely should and you should also check out the trailer and consider going to see the movie when it comes out in August.

Final Rating: 5/5 'Totally Amazing!'

Your Reviewer:
The New Kid On The Block,
Linda AKA Inno.

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