If I Stay by Gayle Forman has been on my bookshelf for sometime before I finally read it. I must admit that it was the movie trailer that got me interested in this book but after I have read some reviews that If I Stay has ‘The-Fault-In-Our-Stars-like’ theme it took me sometime to decide whether to read it or not. Yes, I am not a fan of Augustus and Hazel story. But after reading this book, I would like to humbly disagree with those who said that this book and The Fault share the same theme.
Mia, a 17-year old cellist, lost her entire family, her mom, dad and little brother, in a tragic car accident. Narrating the story through her point of view, Mia’s ‘soul’ tells her life and family’s story and her struggle in making an important decision, whether to live or to die. She vividly recalls memories shared with her family, her boyfriend Adam and her best friend Kim while clearly describing the events that happen around her ‘not-so-dead’ body.
As I have rated it with four stars, I would say that I really like this book. It is, for me, a page-turner as Gayle Forman managed to shift each scene from the past and the present cohesively in an effortless manner. The shift and the way the story and events unfold made me want to finish this novel in just one night, which I somehow did. I love the simple funny lines that evoke humor in a not-so-trying-hard way. I am surprised that I have occasional chuckles while I am reading this book.
Mia and the rest of the characters are also relatable not just for teens, as I am not a teen myself anymore. This novel also tackles ordinary moments in life that seems usual events but appear as the pillars of one’s life that can help decide whether to stay and continue life or go to the world of the unknown.
THE TEARJERKER MOMENT: I was put close to tears when Mia recalled how she watched when her mom gave birth to her little brother Teddy, which include her cutting Teddy’s umbilical cord. She then describes the close relationship she has with her little bro and her agony of Teddy not being able to have girlfriends, not being able to graduate and so on. I am myself the eldest among six siblings and I can relate to her fear and grief, especially when she finally learned that Teddy is dead.
PICKED-UP WISE WORDS:
People believe what they want to believe.
Women can handle the worst kind of pain.
Sometimes you make choices in life and sometimes choices make you.
THE ‘WRAP’: The ending is for me a good cliffhanger and prelude for the next book, ‘Where She Went’. I am excited to know how will Mia be able to cope with her lost and how will it affect her dreams as a cellist and her relationship with Adam.
MY VERDICT: Highly recommended.