REVIEW: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

If I Stay

On a day that started like any other…

Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, adoring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. Then, 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 one decision she has left—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.

Title: If I Stay (If I Stay, #1)
Author: Gayle Forman
Format: paperback, 234 pages
Genre: young adult
Source: personal shelf
Published: May 2009
Buy the book: The Book Depository | Amazon

Find the author online: website | blog | twitter | facebook

Why I Read this Book: I had learned about If I Stay earlier this year. At first, I wasn’t planning on reading it because it sounded too morbid. But then I had read a few books about death (like Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver and Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher) and found that I enjoy a good thought-provoking read. These types of books really make you think about life and what really matters. (You also start to notice how the little things can make an impact on others.) So I went out and bought If I Stay but it ended up sitting on my shelf for quite a while. Then I read Kelli’s review and that brought this book to the top of my TBR pile.

What I Liked: The transitions from current day to Mia’s flashback memories are seamless. The story flows along beautifully and you get a bit of history of each person in Mia’s life. Each memory holds a certain weight on her decision. The emotion is easy to feel, right off the page. If I Stay is a thought-provoking read about love, life, death, grief, and guilt. I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for Teddy. I cried the most when I read about him.

What I Didn’t Like: I think my expectations might have been too high going in. It wasn’t as moving as I thought it would have been. It was lacking a certain je ne sais quoi. It was an emotional, thought-provoking read; it just wasn’t packing the punch I thought it had. Nevertheless, it was still a good read. I enjoyed reading If I Stay but I just didn’t love as much as I thought I was going to, which surprised me.

Overall Impression: If you have this book on your bookshelf, you have to ask yourself, just like I did, what are you waiting for? If I Stay reminded me of the movie Just Like Heaven. If you liked that movie then you’ll enjoy reading this book. Speaking of movies, film rights for If I Stay have been purchased by Summit (they made Twilight). Definitely a movie I would like to see float from the pages onto the big screen. There are some very interested elements that I would like to see come to life. And I am definitely looking forward to reading Where She Went, the sequel to If I Stay. The blurb sounds really good!


The Book Vixen’s Rating:

4 Frogs

About Brianna: Supermom by day, naughty reader by night. Addicted to chocolate, Twitter, her iPad, her Kindle, and 99¢ Kindle deals. You can follow Brianna on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Instagram.


  1. I feel like I could have written this post! I bought this book and had it sit on my shelf for a while, too. I first read Before I Fall and 13 Reasons Why, then finally pulled out If I Stay. I found myself a little bored throughout, but did cry in the end.

  2. I'd love to see the movie as I loved this book! ^^

  3. Lisa - Thirteen Reasons Why moved me the most. It was a brutally honest and poignant read. I wish we could see more from Mr. Asher soon.

  4. Great review, but it doe sound so sad :( I always have a hard time with reading those books

  5. I was surprised by my lack of an emotional response to this one too. And let me tell you, I am a crier. But for some reason or other this one just didn't do it for me.

  6. So glad you liked this one! I went into it with zero expectations, which I think always helps. I am looking forward to the movie too. As soon as I read "Summit" in that sentence, I heard the Twilight music and saw Edward's face. Now I'm gonna have to go watch Twilight---again. :)

  7. Blodeuedd - I enjoy a good emotional read every once in a while. I guess I like a good cry.

    Vampires and Tofu - I'm a crier too. I think I was expecting an overwhelming sense of emotion from reading this one. And while I did cry, it didn't effect me as much as I thought it would. I still enjoyed reading it; I just wasn't as emotionally attached as I was when I read Thirteen Reasons Why.

    Kelli - I think it really does help going in with no expectations. It's like starting out with a clean slate. But I was so excited to read this one.

    I was going to watch Twilight last night but I couldn't find my DVD!! So I ended up watching The Notebook and cried like a baby.

  8. Love the cover of the book. Must check out this book before they produce a movie.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.