If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Mia lived a practically perfect life until a fateful car accident on a snowy February morning when everything turned upside down. This novella tackles the possibility of having a choice between life and death, love and sacrifice.

“Everyone’s waiting on me.
I decide. I know this now.
And this terrifies me more than anything else that has happened today..”

The movie (released last year) did not pick up a positive reception from watchers but the book did otherwise. And thus, my curiosity to this.

Well, let me start by saying I had some major issues to this book leaving me despondent at some points. While many shared their sublime experience with this book, I found myself seeking for that same feeling but couldn’t muster any. Sorry to burst your bubble.

Firstly, it seemed too stingy on the plot. To be honest, I had the “That’s it?!” moment when I got to the conclusion. I was still hoping for something – a zombie apocalypse or alien invasion probably – to stir up even to the very last page but nothing did. About two-thirds of the book devoted to Mia’s recollection of memories when she was still alive. Maybe I’m not so much a fan of stories focused on a stroll down one’s memory. It’s not actually a slow plot but rather static which is worse.

Secondly, some of the characters were far too perfect to relate to. I’ll bet all my books I’m not the first to say this. Let’s look at Mia’s parents who were musically-inclined, best friends with their daughter, tolerates boyfriend-ing, etc. They were exactly what teenagers would die for despite knowing it’s a far-fetched Utopian idea. There’s no way a parent would allow two adolescents to lock themselves up in a bedroom making out. It just doesn’t happen normally.

Thirdly, I was anticipating, if not tears, sadness at least to well up within me since I’m a sucker about life and death story. Here went my fault again of reading so much reviews and believing on a nonexistent promise of what to await from the book. If I read this before “Me Before You”, I would have felt slightly brokenhearted at least. I hate to compare but sometimes it’s inevitable for a reader not to.

But wait! I wouldn’t say the book was a complete letdown. For one thing, Gayle Forman wrote Mia’s story in the easiest way possible for a reader to understand. She seldom used highfalutin (heck, what was that?) words that picking up the plot is as easy as breathing. Another, an explanatory narrative (which, I researched, was included only on the newly published version) as to why she wrote this book was so appropriate and creative. Gayle Forman traced it back to a family friend who got into a car accident and from there, Mia’s story hatched. I think she wrote in an uncomplicated manner because she knew the scenes so well from having the firsthand experience. I also liked how she highlighted Mia as a cellist since only a few regard music from stringed instrument. I’m not a fan but I appreciate it though. I can imagine James Carstairs playing the violin sometimes.

For the record, I maybe dissatisfied but I don’t hate it entirely. I didn’t completely regret the small fortune I spent for this book because I got something out of it though not what I expected to have. So here’s my verdict:

It's okay

For now, I’m still counting that somehow, Mia’s story would start to be rosy on Where She Went..


  1. I thought that the book would be AMAZING because that is what everyone has told me. But truth be told, it wasn’t that great compared to my expectations. I am not saying it was bad but when I read the ending, I was like,”Wait…………Ok so whats next? Is that it?” But I loved how Gayle Forman let us see Mia’s past and present and that was definitely one of the good things in the book. I would probably rate it 3.5. I am kind of excited to read Where She Went because I really want to know what happens next. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, me too. I got bothered by the book’s big font size, too wide margins, and 230 something only pages. Too short, I guess. I’m being positive though for Where She Went 😀


  2. I enjoyed this book but for me it was also a middle road.. It was nothing extraordinary or mind-blowing or emotionally moving, but it was a short, enjoyable read and I enjoyed reading the story and Mia’s experience. I enjoyed reading your review!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree, I actually read this years ago when it was first released, and found it dissatisfying but not terrible. I’m kind of surprised of all the hype it gets. I bought Where She Went a few days ago and maybe that’ll be better? Oh and I love the TID reference with Jem, hehe! 😀


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