Wednesday, September 24, 2014

If I Stay

If I Stay
Gayle Forman

If I Stay (If I Stay, #1)

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Summary (from the publisher):  On a day that started like any other, Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, admiring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. In an instant, almost all of that is taken from her. Caught between life and death, between a happy past and an unknowable future, Mia spends one critical day contemplating the only decision she has left. It is the most important decision she'll ever make.

Simultaneously tragic and hopeful, this is a romantic, riveting, and ultimately uplifting story about memory, music, living, dying, loving.

Marcie's Review:   I hadn't even finished this book before I called my sister up to recommend that she read it, and I am still thinking about it a week later.  So while there are certainly elements that could have been done better, I thought this was a truly moving story.  It made me cry (sad tears, but in a good way) and also made me think about how I (or my children) would react in this situation.  I especially liked Mia's memories of her brother and her reaction when she discovered his fate, and the recounting of her close friendship with Kim.

What could have been improved upon?  Well, Mia seemed remarkably blase about the fate of her parents; since this is a young adult book, perhaps the author felt that's how self-involved teenagers view their parents, but she seemed to have such a close relationship with them that it felt unrealistic.  And plus, as someone closer to her parents age than hers, it just bothered me.  I also couldn't understand why Mia and her boyfriend were in love; I would have like more of a backstory there.  They were very different people, and it didn't seem like Mia enjoyed anything that was important to her boyfriend.

Marcie's Rating: 4.5 stars

Becky's Review: This was a beautiful and moving story.  There were several parts of the story where I was moved to tears but generally it was not Mia that moved me to tears, it was other characters in the story and their grief and other emotions.  There were some though provoking moments when I started to think about whether I thought Mia would be better off staying and living without her family or moving on with her family.  I felt so torn.  I was surprised by the end but it wasn't because of the author's writing.  My book had at least 20-30 pages of extra "stuff" at the end so I wasn't anticipating the end of the book for a while and then all of a sudden, there it was!  It was awfully abrupt.  I did want to know more of what happened in the future but I don't know if I would have wanted that if I knew the book was going to be over.

Becky's rating: 4 stars

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