Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Book Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Just 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.
I kind of loved this book. I don't exactly know what it was that I loved but I'll try to explain it anyway.
Mia was just so, incredibly believable. Everything she says and does sounds like something a real person would say or do. She never over-explains. She doesn't ramble on about how she's feeling. When she's nervous she does something a normal person would do, like hide out in her room. I can't tell you how much I loved that. Well done, Gayle Forman.
Adam was a bit less believable in that he was just so... perfect. His reactions were always exactly the reaction you would hope someone would have in that situation, you know? While nice and sweet and all, it just wasn't entirely believable for me. But I did like him.
The book opens with Mia and her family getting into a terrible accident. Mia has an out-of-body experience and ghost-her follows her loved ones around the hospital trying to decide whether to stay or move on from this life. I liked the premise, although I wonder what inspired Forman to write it. I've heard of people having experiences like this but they're never quite so lucid. And once Mia mentions that maybe she wouldn't mind sinking into a dark, eternal sleep, which I took as Forman's idea of what happens when you die; You just cease to exist. I don't believe that's true and think it's actually a pretty sad way to think about death.
I loved all the music stuff. The classical and rock coming together. It made me wish I'd actually learned how to play an instrument. Mia's family was amazing; Always supportive and (a little too) accepting of what she wanted to do. They're what I'd like to be minus all the cursing and them encouraging their teenage daughter to have sex. Yeah, didn't agree with that.
The most amazing thing about this book was how there were so many polar extremes. One minute I'd be close to tears, the next I'd be grinning like an idiot. And it flipped like that every few pages. Talk about a page-turner! It never got dull and I just couldn't stop reading. Although it did help that the sections were short and I could easily put it down and pick it back up whenever needed.
So, yes, there were themes in this book that I didn't necessarily agree with. But everything else was perfect. I loved it.
Sexual Content: Moderate (hints are dropped and innuendo, for sure, and some frank talk about sex but in writing there is nothing more than kissing. And one scene that is sensual although not graphic)
Violence: Heavy (no fighting but lots of blood and gore from car crash and hospital)