Thursday, March 19, 2009

Book Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

17 year old Mia agonizes about whether she should go to Julliard to pursue her dream of playing cello professionally even if it means possibly losing her boyfriend Adam and leaving her family and friends behind. But one snowy February morning, when Mia takes a drive with her family, one tragic instant leaves Mia with a choice more agonizing than any she’s faced before.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel about death that was so life affirming and ultimately uplifting as this one. As I write this, my cheeks are tearstained and my heart feels like it will burst. As soon as I finish, I plan to call my father and tell him I love him.

It was refreshing to read about a family that was so close, not perfect, but who experienced so many moments of happiness together. Each of the characters, the parents, the little brother, the grandparents, the aunt and uncle, the best friend and the boyfriend, has their own defining moment(s) that makes them seem achingly real.

99% of this novel was pitch perfect - moving but not manipulative. Gayle Forman is a formidable writer who is as comfortable writing humorous scenes as she is the tearjerkers. There was just one scene that I really could have done without – a cringe-worthy flashback with Mia and Adam that reminded me too much of that cheesy animal cookie scene between Liv Tyler and Ben Affleck in the movie Armageddon.

If I Stay will be released April 2nd in hardcover and I wholeheartedly recommend it. Stay tuned – it *might* just turn up in a giveaway here in the next couple of days.

44 comments:

Molly said...

What a wonderful review! How could I not be persuaded to add this to my ever-growing TBR list.

charley said...

All of my co-workers have read this book, but I've been avoiding it for some reason. After your review, though, I think I'll add it to my list.

jo-scrawls said...

Great review, thanks! I didn't like the sound of this book originally, but you've sparked interest! I may have to check it out. Cheers!

prophecygirl said...

Great review! I loved this book, it's brilliant.

Keri Mikulski said...

Added to my list! Thanks for the review. :)

Kelly (AKA bookfool) said...

Great review, I can't wait to read this book!

Adele said...

I want everyone to read this book - it's my top pick for 2009 so far. It's so hopeful (just like Lenore said) and I was moved in a way that I haven't felt before. Gayle's achieved something wonderful here.

Beautiful review Lenore.

Mishel said...

I really enjoy books that pack an emotional punch like this and really affect the reader. It sounds wonderful and I'll definitely be looking for a copy (=

Tiqa Khairi said...

Lol. I loved that cheesy animal cookie scene in Armageddon!
Your review makes me want to read this, right now.

Btw, I've just added you on my blogroll, and wondered if u would be up for a link exchange?

-goodgirlsreadbooks.blogspot.com

Steph Su said...

I loved this book and I'm so glad it moved you the same way it did me as well!

H said...

I've read two lines of this on a teaser tuesday and now I want to read it!

S. Krishna said...

Wow, what an amazing review! I'm adding this one to the TBR list immediately!

bermudaonion said...

Oh my gosh, any book that stirs emotions like that sounds wonderful. I'm adding it to my wish list.

Emily Ruth said...

the storyline looks so sweet! I'll be reading this one :)

Melissa - Shhh I'm Reading said...

I want this book! It has been on my WL since the first time you mentioned it.

Nora said...

Great review, just makes me want to read this one even more!

Alea said...

Yeah this book was near perfect! It handles a really hard subject in a way that I look forward to reading the book, usually depressing subject matter = depressing book, but not this book!

Thao said...

Aww Lenore you made me want to read this book more than ever. If the rumor(?) of If I Stay being made into a movie is true, it'll be super duper great!

Silvia said...

Wow, that sounds really good.
I'll read it for sure!

Jessica Kennedy said...

Sounds great! Good review!

Dar said...

Wow Lenore, this novel really sounds worth the read. Thanks for such a great review.

Amee said...

Great review! I definitely want to read this now. I'll have to wait a while. After crying while reading Marley & Me earlier this week, I think I want to stick with happier books for a while! Once I need a good cry I'll have to pick this one up. ;)

Sadako said...

This looks really sad, but also very hauntingly beautiful. I want to read it, but damn, so depressing sounding!

writemeg said...

Love the premise here! I've heard good things about this book, and your review confirmed for me that I need to pick it up when it comes out :) I'm up for a good cry!

Genevieve said...

Nice review! I really want to read this book. *hopes for giveaway!* I love the cover also. : )

Jen said...

Sounds good! Great reveiw, I <3 the Armageddon comparison ^_^

SANDY said...

What an excellent review! I loved this book and it's one of my favourites for 2009 so far. I was intrigued to see the cover image as the cover here in Australia is very different. Anyone interested can see it on my blog www.sandyfussell.blogspot.com I'm interested to know which cover everyone likes best

Ladytink_534 said...

Books like this leave me feeling sad for days and it's nearly impossible to read anything else for at least a week afterwards.

Marie said...

sounds wonderful. i'm going to come back for the giveaway! :-)

Staci said...

Fantastic review!! I've seen this in my Booklist magazine this week and marked it to read. Your review totally affirms my decision to read this!!

Ali said...

Sounds like a great book!

Reader Rabbit said...

Looooveed this book :)Imo, one of the best this year.

Great review.

Readingjunky said...

I can't wait to read this one. Great review.

Amy said...

This does sound really really good, Lenore, thanks for the review!

Beth Kephart said...

Wonderful review, Lenore. I do believe in affirmation, and in hope, on the page.

Alea said...

You know, for the subject matter, I was surprised how humorous it was at times. It was just WOW!

Amber said...

If 99% of this book is as good as you profess, I will be reading it as soon as possible.

Shalonda said...

This was the book I was most looking forward to in 2009. I am so glad to see it getting such rave reviews!

Linda J said...

I've written this one down because I definitely want to read it. Great review!

Joanne said...

This sounds amazing! One of the things I really enjoy in books is reading about a family that is close-knit, but in a realistic way. It seems most books go in one direction (perfect family) or the other (complete dysfunction) but this book sounds like it will be just right.

Patrcia's Parlor said...

The way you said it really makes me want to read this book. I am definitely putting it on my list of books. Of course I will have to read this one when I am not out in public.

dissectingperfection said...

Okay I read the book, and I kind of know what scene you're referring to (LOL!) but was it Ben Affleck in Armageddon? I can't remember - it's been so long! I thought it was Bruce Willis... I could be horribly wrong and embarrass myself.

And yeah, I cried too. Really hard.

#extra entry

Kathryn said...

Okay you guys are adults and reading this book? I'm only 12 years old and finished this book in 2 hours. Haha. You guys are losers. This book was like the EASIEST book I've read all year.

Erica G. said...

I just finished reading this story, I cried at the ending and this is the best book I have read. I recommend this story to everyone. Great write.