Monday, September 29, 2014

Bookish Thoughts: If I Stay by Gayle Foreman

Everyone thinks it was because of the snow. ~ Opening to If I Stay


If I Stay by Gayle Foreman
Dutton Juvenile, 2001
Fiction (YA); 201 pgs

When I first saw the movie trailer for If I Stay, I dismissed it as one I did not need to see.  It looked like it would be heartbreaking, not to mention another teenage romance, one in a long string that has made it to theaters in recent years.  And yet, for some reason, I found myself buying a copy of the e-book one day and with days to spare before the movie's release, I read it.

Mia is a truly gifted musician, a trait that seems to be passed on down through her family genes. She has a true aptitude for playing the cello and those around her know it. Music is what first brings Mia and Adam together, but it also may be what tears them apart. His dreams taking him in one direction and hers in another. Then one fateful day, Mia and her family are in a terrible car accident in which Mia must make an even bigger decision, one of life and death.  

Mia has the perfect family. It was hard not to fall in love with them and want to be a part of their family the more I read about them. They support and encourage each other's dreams.  They have fun together and truly love one another.  Mia's Adam seems perfect too--he is attentive and thoughtful.  

Told from the perspective of Mia as she stands over her body, remembering her life and weighing whether life is worth returning to or if peace lies with death, makes this both a heartbreaking and inspiring story.  It would be unfair to say this is a love story between a boy and a girl.  It is also a love story between a girl and her family.

The author, Gayle Foreman, takes a tragic and deeply sad story and tells it in such a way that brought tears to my eyes and also made me smile often.  If I Stay is a reminder of how fragile life is, but also of how great life can be.

I had every intention of seeing the movie soon after reading the book, but then Mouse and I both got sick, company was in from out of town, and then we went out of town . . . Suddenly when I had the opportunity to go see it in the theater, I decided against it (I saw The Guardians of the Galaxy instead).  Maybe I will catch the movie when it comes out on Netflix or cable.  For now, I'm content with having just read the book.  I'm not even sure I want to read the sequel, as much as I liked this book.  I have heard it is really good too.  This just seems like one of those books that is fine on its own.  I don't need to know what happens next.

Rating:  * (Very Good)

You can learn more about Gayle Foreman and her books on the author's website.

Source: I purchased an e-copy of the book for my own reading pleasure.


© 2014, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

26 comments:

  1. This is another book that I have but yet to read it. This sounds both emotional and thought - provoking. I didn't know there's a sequel so I've to check that out as well.

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    1. Melody - I liked this book more than I thought I would in some ways. It is an emotional read, for sure. And there's definitely plenty food for thought.

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  2. A book that seems to be cropping up on a lot of blogs, I've yet to read anything negative about it. Definitely one that sounds as if it requires a pack of tissues, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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    1. Tracy - Probably because of the recent movie release. :-) I don't think I've come across a negative review yet--although I'm sure there has to be someone who didn't like it, right?

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  3. I kind of dismissed the book because I thought it sounded like a romance but the movie trailer has intrigued me.

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    1. Kathy - The romance is a big part of the story, but it's definitely not all of it.

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  4. I absolutely loved both this book and the sequel. I did NOT see the movie though, because I was afraid it would spoil the whole magic of it. My daughter saw the movie and loved it...of course she did. If it has romance, it is a winner in her eyes. I would definitely recommend reading the sequel.

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    1. Sandy - I've heard mixed reviews about the movie. And honestly, when I got the chance to see it, I wasn't in the mood to cry (I knew I would). I am glad your daughter loved the movie! Hopefully I will too if I see it.

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  5. Lovely review, I read this recently too and I enjoyed it. I'm going to read Where She Went soon, are you going to read that too?

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    1. Lindsay - I am glad you enjoyed this one too! I don't think I am going to read the sequel. As much as I liked If I Stayed, I like the place the book left me in the end, and I'm not sure I want to follow the characters further.

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  6. I liked this book and will probably see the movie when it hits Netflix but I have no desire to read the 2nd book. Do you?

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    1. Ti - I don't. Every review of the second book I have read has been positive, but I just don't have any interest in it.

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  7. I read this the year it came out, when I read more YA than I do now, and remember enjoying it so much. Haven't seen the movie or read the sequel. Perhaps I should read the second, but I'm afraid it might not live up to the first. Enjoy your week.

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    1. Rita - It's beautifully written and the author takes on the subject matter so well. I can see why it's loved by many.

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  8. I've been meaning to read this one Wendy. Glad u enjoyed it.

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    1. Diane - I hope you like it if you do decide to read it, Diane!

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  9. I've gone back and forth on this book but I like what you have to say about it being more than just a tear jerking romance. I'll have to give it a try though it will probably be awhile. I wonder if my library has this in audio? Then I have half a chance of getting to it soon. Great review!

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    1. Katherine - Thanks! I can see this one working in audio format with a good narrator.

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  10. I'm still not sure about this one. I hate to have my heart broken. Will skip the movie, but I may check out the book. Thanks for the review, Wendy.

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    1. Jenclair - I understand. I don't think I would have picked it up to read had it not been for the movie coming out (and yet I still haven't seen the movie).

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  11. I second Sandy's suggestion - the sequel is definitely a must-read.

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    1. Carrie - So many people say that! I don't know though. I just can't seem to drum up the enthusiasm to read the second book.

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  12. Lovely review, Wendy. I had heard of the title, but not much beyond another tear-jerker, and I'm still stealing myself up to read The Fault is In Our Stars (having a nephew have cancer makes this one so real in a painful way). If I Stay will go on my list of books to get one day - you do make it sound bearable to read!

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    1. Susan - Two great YA tear jerkers: If I Stay and Fault in Our Stars, and both so very different. Yes, I would say these are books best left for when you are in the right mood if you are sensitive to the topics they cover or tear jerkers.

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  13. Too funny! I read the first one too and liked it and was completely happy with where it ended. No interest in the sequel, but recently I mentioned that to another blogger and she is convinced I should read the sequel. Still not interested :) The movie I'll see eventually.

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    1. Stacy - You too, eh? I am happy with having read this first book and leaving it at that too. :-)

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