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[Book Review] - If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Title: If I Stay
   Author: Gayle Forman
   Series: #1 - If I Stay
   Format: Hardcover
   Release Date: April 2nd, 2009
   My Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0

     A critically acclaimed novel that will change the way you look at life, love, and family.

     In the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen ­year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces- to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make. Heartwrenchingly beautiful, Mia's story will stay with you for a long, long time.

My Review:

     I had high hopes for If I Stay, I wanted this to be a book that could live up to Before I Fall. Okay I know that's pretty steep expectations, but I was looking for a book that had the same emotional pull. I wanted a book that not only did I get invested in, but I felt myself myself grieve with the characters, I wanted to feel their pain,   I wanted most of all a book that got me emotionally involved. Not only did I want to be involved and completely invested, I wanted to feel that pull into the book like Before I Fall did and here If I Stay did the next closest thing.

     I was shocked at this book, there was something about this book, I wasn't sure if it was the ghostly feeling of Mia watching herself in a comatose state while all of her family members were close by. Her boyfriend Adam, I thought would be the most emotional part of the book, but her honestly wasn't. For me her grandparents were the deciding factor, the realization of what happened to Teddy, there was numerous parts, but Adam really didn't get me all that involved. I guess I can't say that entirely, there was the good conversation with Adam and Mia at the end that finally managed to pull me in, but personally there was things with Adam, that I disagreed with.

     Now I will say this, Yea I did disagree with some of Adam's actions and mostly it may be a personal decision of what I would have done in that situation (because I was in a similar situation, not as severe though). Saying that I can say that it is plausible, and I do know what lengths a boyfriend would go through to see a girlfriend and to what ends and creativity he would go through just to hold her hand. I did want Adam's plan to see her succeed, and while it did sort of, it just didn't bring the result I was looking for.

     Mia... I honestly was intrigued by the tales of this story, her decisions and passions throughout the book. I got completely invested in her character and her decisions just bore into you. The complete emotional involvement and how the book didn't just pull me in, it drug me (even if it was willingly). I found myself more than once crying at some of the family members reactions and sometimes I find myself thinking back to it and starting all over again. The book did great at pulling at every string that was around.

     As well, the past "memories" of Mia and her family brought the book home. I think without those memories her character would've been completely flat and not as complex as it could have been. I was happy they were there; as well, they seemed to foreshadow some of the events that would happen and gave reason behind some of her choices while she was in the comatose state. The one memory I didn't quite understand was the whole first sexual experience between Adam and Mia, it seemed almost out of place and like it didn't even belong. I found myself on more than one occasion questioning why that was there, and frankly I don't know.

     Now, eventually I will fire up and read the second part of this series, Where She Went. I am hoping that book is just as good as this one!
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