Title: If I Stay
Author: Gayle Forman
Series: If I Stay #1
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Publication Date: April 2nd 2009
Rating: 3.5 or 4 of 5 stars. I honestly don't know.
Sometimes you make choices in life and sometimes choices make you.
My expectations for this book were sky-high after seeing all the raving reviews and everybody promising me that "this book will make you cry". And I thought, maybe they are right. Maybe this book will finally make me cry (I don't cry over books easily. In fact, I have never cried over a book. Yep, I know.). And don't get me wrong, this is a good book. It probably will make people cry. But for me, it missed that spark, that 'wow!'-moment.
There can be no doubt about Forman's skill. Her prose is magnificent and the way the story is told and unfolds before your eyes is the work of an author who knows what she's doing. The story begins with the day of the accident, and after the accident is told in flashbacks and the present, in which Mia is lying in the hospital, on the verge of dying. She examinates and dissects her relationships with the people around her, the people who are still alive and those that have died. The story works to that ending, making Mia doubt at times, at others be certain what she wants, until she finally chooses in an intricate and moving moment.
The relationships that Mia looks back at were well fleshed out, with believable characters. I liked them most of the time, but there were moments that definitely had me raising an eyebrow. I mean, Mia and Adam playing each other like they were instruments? Uhmmm... Riight. I thought that was a bit weird and unbelievable, but otherwise their relationship was built up well. I love how Forman showed that yes, relationships can be awkward, even if you like each other. I also loved the way music was weaved into the story. Mia's whole life revolves around music, and I could almost hear her play while reading the book.
The thing that actually irked me the most was the ending. Spoilers here, so I'll make the text white. Simply select it with your cursor to see it!
The ending was powerful and moving, there can be no doubt about that. Adam's speech was wonderful and full of craving and love. But I actually wanted Mia to leave. Not because I didn't like Adam, because I did like him. I just have the feeling that this book would be so much more realistic and rueful if she'd left. Because, to be honest, if my whole family died? I would want to go with them. I don't think I can live without them. And maybe it's a sign of Mia's strenght that she could, but I think that I might have shed that lone tear if she'd have left.
In all, this isn't a bad book. It is, in fact, written in a wonderful and powerful way, but it just didn't give me the FEELS I expected to have. So, this is a bit of a disappointment, but still definitely a book I'd recommend.