Book Review: If I Stay

6990472Just listen, Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel.
I open my eyes wide now.
I sit up as much as I can.
And I listen.
Stay, he says.

Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?

Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it’s the only one that matters.

If I Stay is a heartachingly beautiful book about the power of love, the true meaning of family, and the choices we all make.

ashley | I picked up If I Stay by Gayle Forman because it, too, is being made into a movie and has a bunch of buzz around it and well frankly, it was a quick read and I’m getting more and more curious about whether they’re just making ANY book into a movie, or if they’re still choosing wisely. I can thankfully say that yes, they are choosing wisely, because If I Stay is certainly the kind of journey I want to live over and over again, on paper and screen.

When we first meet Mia and her family, everyone is the epitome of happy. Embracing a snow day, the family would rather spend time with each other than stay in bed or watch tv or run off with friends. They have that gentle bantering that makes families seems super close, the parents seem proud of their children and don’t resent them for having to settle down their previous rock and roll lifestyle in favour of parenthood. This is the kind of family you want to belong to, the kind of family you want to share coffee and pancakes with every morning.

Then something terrible happens, as it always seems to happen when people are at their best. And the tragic and emotional journey that follows is enough to rejuvenate your faith in life and love and family. Enough to make you revaluate your own life and try not to take so much for granted. Enough to make you remember that giving up, giving in, that’s the easy part and it’s the fight for life, even when you know everything will be different, it’s that perseverance and will to keep pushing through that keeps you alive and makes life worth living.

Mia is a very relatable character, kind of your average girl with average struggles and insecurities. And her family, while seeming like the perfect family, are not a perfect family, but they know the meaning of love and support and understanding and that’s what makes their entire existence so perfect.

I also love that music is such an important element to this book… from Mia’s parents, to her musical gift, to Adam’s band, to the radio still playing after everything changes. It’s a personal passion of mine, so I felt instantly connected to Mia and her life, relating to all of her musical metaphors and descriptions.

All of this makes the entire novel so heartbreaking and personal, it’s hard not to sit here and absorb it all, wondering what I would do if I were in Mia’s shoes. Would I stay?

This is a short read, but I was on the verge of tears through most of it. Putting myself in Mia’s shoes, I can’t imagine watching my family, not being able to interact with them, not knowing what has happened to my brother, where my boyfriend is, not being able to comfort my best friend. It really emphasizes the importance of family and love and reminds me how important all of that really is. It makes me feel lucky to be where I am, surrounded by a good family and loving friends.

I find it curious that there is a sequel, but if it comes anywhere close to being as inspiring as If I Stay, I won’t be disappointed.

(Check back Thursday for my review of Where She Went)