Friday

Book review: If I Stay


If I Stay- Gayle Forman
I'm not really one for young adult fiction. Not that there's anything I particularly dislike about it, but they tend to have life-affirming, schmaltzy morals and I'm a bit too cynical for that. However, while in America, there was a bit of hype surrounding the upcoming film adaptation of If I Stay, and it was being promoted a lot in bookshops so I gave it a whirl. 

If I Stay is the tale of Mia, a 17 year old who is involved in a car accident that kills her family. Although she survives the initial crash, her body enters a coma and she becomes separated from it, able to witness everything that is happening around her while remaining unseen and unheard by anybody. Over time, Mia realises that she needs to decide whether to stay on earth or let go and pass on. 

Let's be honest here: It's pretty obvious how the story will end. This makes it quite difficult to get into it as I knew the whole time what was going to happen. There's no element of suspense or surprise.

There are also a lot of frustrating elements to the character of Mia. It seems as though Forman has tried to create the hippest, coolest, most Tumblr-worthy epitome of teenage aspirations. She is a quiet, studious cellist who enjoys reading and classical music, despite her punk-rock musician parents. Despite her introverted character, her boyfriend is the most popular guy in school and- get this- he's the guitarist in a popular emo band named Shooting Star. It's almost formulaic in Forman's attempt to muster up an unwittingly cool character which just ends up jarring and almost cringeworthy.

However, I think the most difficult element for me to get on board with was how much stock Mia puts in her boyfriend. I know what it's like to be 17 and in love. Believe me, at that age, my boyfriend was my entire world, but is it really a positive message to give young girls? Until Adam touches her comatose body, the bodyless Mia is unable to move and sapped of all energy. She spends her hours just waiting for him, mourning for his voice. She is offered the opportunity to attend a highly prestigious musical college but isn't sure if she can bear to be away from him. I think I'd prefer a more independent protagonist. 

Although Forman has clearly tried to create a moving, emotional account of a young girl realising the possibilities of love and life, but unfortunately it just falls flat. 

13 comments :

  1. I really enjoyed reading through your review and love how in-depth it is :) I'm not sure if this sounds my kind of book either

    Style Sunrise☀

    :)
    x

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

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  2. I read this book a long time ago and remember very little about it... I think that says it all really!
    Megan x
    London Callings

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  3. I'm the same as Megan, I also read the book a while ago but can barely remember it. It's also so refreshing to read an honest book review which explains why the reader wasn't keen so thank you!
    xx

    Bekki | WALLFLOWER BLOG

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it- I'm always honest with my book reviews. There's no point pretending to love something if I don't.

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  4. Oh lord! The characters sound like ones from the novel I wrote aged 15...It was about an emo girl named Ruby who was in a band with all her super sexy dark mates and her older half sister, Sparkle. Long story short: one day she came home to find her Mum dead on the kitchen table (?!). Her Dad's car was found on the top of a cliff shortly afterwards so he was presumed dead. On her Mum's anniversary, after a whole load of cool band stuff, she goes to the recording studio where her Mum recorded her music and she sees her Dad sat there. I can't remember anything else that happened...I think there was a road trip.

    Should totally copyright that shit..............heh

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    1. Oh God, this is amazing haha! I would totally read that!

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  5. I thought it was a fun, light read. Not something I would read every day. There is a second book, which i did read because I can't leave a story unfinished. If you're ever really bored, you might give it a go. It's called, Where She Went.

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    1. My issue had an extract from the sequel at the back. I read through it, but I can't say it made me desperate to rush out and buy it!

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  6. My friend Danielle is reading this book. She seems to be enjoying it! I was thinking of giving it a go but the whole no chapters thing would piss me off. X

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    1. It's like, imagine we wrote a novel in 2005. This is what it would be.

      I have no idea where you got the no chapters thing from. It definitely has chapters.

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  7. Its very nice reading book interesting this book like enjoy it!.
    nebosh

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