Monday, September 2, 2013

Review: If I Stay, by Gayle Forman

If I Stay (If I Stay #1)

Title: If I Stay (If I Stay #1)
Author: Gayle Forman
Genre: Contemporary
Pub. Date: April 6, 2010

On a day that started like any other,

Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, admiring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. 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 only decision she has left. It is 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.  -Goodreads

Fact: I’m probably the biggest crier on the face of this planet. I’m too sensitive for my own good, and emotional doesn't even begin to describe how I am. To this day, I still cry during The Lion King, regardless of how many times I've watched it. I cry over anything, which is pretty ridiculous, actually. 

So I was quite shocked to find that this book did not even make me shed one tear. Weird, huh?

Unless you count tears of boredom.


Me: Wait where was the part where I was supposed to cry?

Despite what you’re probably thinking, I did not base this review on whether or not I would cry. I gave it two stars because it did not affect me in any way. Rather, it bored me. Other than the fact that I was bored to tears, I had several major issues with If I Stay.

For one, I failed to empathize with a vast majority of the characters. The connection just wasn't there, slightly contributing to my disliking of this book. Identifying with characters is extremely important for me as a reader, especially with these types of books. I did not appreciate Mia’s emotionless voice -which I know was deliberate on the author’s part- because it did not fit this sort of story.

The characters in this book were much too perfect. It was palpable from that first scene from the beginning of the book, when the family was all together. It was like those perfect, unrealistic American families you see on T.V. It was pretty painful to read about. If you want to know anything about me, I loathe perfect things.

Quite often, I found the story to be a bit… messy. It constantly jumped from one thing to another, much to my irritation. To sum the book up, If I Stay was just a jumbled mess of memories, lacking one necessary ingredient: cohesiveness.

I like to compare the plot of this novel to a lost dog. It wanders aimlessly, endlessly, not really going anywhere. More times than I would like to admit, I contemplated giving up the book altogether. I kept questioning why I wanted to continue with this endeavor.

One might argue that that was the author’s intent; to show this feeling of aimlessness to symbolize how Mia was feeling. While this is a good idea in theory, all it really does is bore the reader and make them question why they are reading this book.

But probably what bothered me the most was the very unsatisfying ending. Whilst reading this, I had inferred that maybe, just maybe, all this suck will cease because the author would write such a brilliant, beautiful, life-changing conclusion that would make me give this book 5 stars without a second thought. That I would be blown off my feet by the brilliance of the ending.

Needless to say, my inferring was smashed by how incorrect it was.

The one redeeming factor of this book that stopped me from giving it one star was Mia’s passion for music. You’d be hard-pressed to find a main character as passionate as her, which is one quality of her’s I admired greatly.

Maybe I expected the wrong things from this book. Maybe I’m reading into this all wrong, and missing the message by a mile. I’m sorry, I just didn't like the book. Besides failing to move me in any way, it failed to keep my attention, and for that, I simply cannot give this book any higher than 2 stars.

For the record, I don't exactly hate this book, but I think it was very undeserving of the hype and that it was merely descent. Not anything special.

Others can have If I Stay. I’ll be flaunting my copy of Before I Fall.

2 stars


  1. I'm sorry this one was a letdown for you. I love If I Stay, but I understand your reasons for not liking it. Are you going to read any of other Forman's works or is this your deal breaker?

    1. Actually, I'm planning on reading the next one, because I heard it gets much better.

  2. Funny... I'm actually the opposite, lol. I hardly make an emotional sound at all... unless it's super powerful. Or I just broke my arm. Though I do prefer its sequel (which is unusual for me) over If I Stay since Adam isn't exactly perfect there thankfully.

    But then again, it didn't land on my "OMG This book is my favorite book of all time!" Nope...

    ~Sophia @ Bookwyrming Thoughts