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If I Stay

Author:  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.

Everybody has to make choices.

Some might break you.

For seventeen-year-old Mia, surrounded by a wonderful family, friends and a gorgeous boyfriend decisions might seem tough, but they’re all about a future full of music and love, a future that’s brimming with hope. 

But life can change in an instant. 

A cold February morning . . . a snowy road . . . and suddenly all of Mia’s choices are gone. Except one. 

As alone as she’ll ever be, Mia must make the most difficult choice of all.

Gripping, heartrending, If I Stay will make you appreciate all that you have, all that you’ve lost - and all that might be.

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (8 votes)


May 17,2014

REVIEW: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

“If I Stay will not help you get over The Fault In Our Stars,” the headline read, with a link to the trailer to the 2009 novel’s movie adaptation underneath. 

Yeah. Sure. What could be worse than TFIOS?

This is, definitely, inarguably ten times worse than TFIOS. To those who have witnessed my reactions to seeing the TFIOS trailer in cinemas, you’ll know that this is saying something.

Speaking of saying something, who on earth decided that playing A Great Big World’s smash hit Say Something in the midst of a trailer about losing the people you love? Whoever it was needs to be applauded and also needs a stern talking to.

I’m surprised Gayle Forman’s novel, published in 2009, hadn’t come across my radar before. In fact, I don’t even remember how I found it just a few months ago, but good god am I glad I did. There has never been a doubt in my mind that John Green’s TFIOS changed my life, I’ll happily admit that until the day I die. I’m not sure what it was, maybe the love story that showed me that it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from or where you’re at, you’re capable of loving fully and being loved in return. I’m so, so glad that If I Stay is a different kind of love story; a subtle one. Forman doesn’t beat around the bush, she plows through it. I was sobbing within the first eleven pages, where our main girl Mia is introducing us to the flaws of her family, and why she loves them so much. Here’s the line that had me in tears, a blanket wrapped around my head instead of my body:

You wouldn’t expect the radio to work afterwards. But it does.

There aren’t any chapter breaks in this book, so you don’t know when to stop, if you do at all. I didn’t, and read the book in four hours straight, barely able to breath in the dark of the night when I flipped the last page. I guess the idea around If I Stay is being able to choose whether you live or die, if you even can. The book weaves in between Mia flashing back to memories of her family, friends and boyfriend, and those people coming in to see her as she’s fighting for her life. I’ve been spending the last few days wondering which part grabbed me most. The part where, with each passing moment, she realises how much the people in her life love her and want her to stay, or if the idea that something so horrific can happen to the most innocent of us.

I don’t know. I’m starting to think that what’s in my head doesn’t make sense at all. Here are some of my favourite parts from If I Stay (which I can’t wait to see on the big screen). 

“But the you who you are tonight is the same you I was in love with yesterday, the same you I’ll be in love with tomorrow.”

And another that I love with my whole heart, one I’m considering framing to put on my wall, so I can stare at it and be damn thankful for the wonderful people in my life who choose to keep me around. 

“If you stay, I’ll do whatever you want…if you need me to go away, I’ll do that too. I was talking to Liz and she said that maybe coming back to your old life would just be too painful, that maybe it’d be easier for you to erase us. And that would suck, but I’d do it. I can lose you like that if I don’t lose you today. I’ll let you go. If you stay.”

Annnnnd cue the tears. Maybe it’s just me, I’m a sucker for good quotes. I’ve compiled a list. Books will ruin me. I’m more than happy with that. If you watched the trailer and think you’d like to see the movie, definitely try and read the book first. It’s not long, and will grip you enough for you not to put it down. Good luck!

Oh, and this ended up on my favourites shelf, if that’s any indication of how good it is!

Sam :)

Oct 06,2012

My librarian recommened this book to a few people in my class and they didn't pick it up so I did.

I liked it but I didn't LOVE it.

It was an okay read. 

Nov 11,2011

If I stay is a great book! Mia has to make a choice to live or die.

Jul 25,2011


The book I read over the holidays was called ‘If I Stay’ by Gayle Foreman.  The book follows the journey of an eighteen year old girls’ family who get torn apart by a car accident that kills her mother, father and little brother. She is badly injured and has an out of body experience where she is witnessing herself and the impact on her family and friends; she then has to make a heart wrenching decision- whether she stays on earth or goes to heaven.  I thought this book was really well written, and was an emotional tear-jerker that left you wanting to read more.

Jasmine Copeland 7m


Jun 06,2011

I think that this book is amazingly written and I would encourage others to read it. I would recommend it to people who are 10 or above because it is written more for older people.Younger people couldn't read it because they  would not understand it.

It already has a very sad plot and Gayle Forman wrote it so beautifully that it is simply outstanding. I would like to read more books by Gale Forman.  

Mar 11,2011
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I’d heard a lot of good things about this story, so I was expecting something huge. I enjoyed it, but it was just shy of becoming a favourite. I will look out eagerly for Where She Went, though. I’m so curious to follow this story!

So many people have recommended this to me. I wasn’t disappointed! If I Stay was absolutely heart-wrenching and I found myself a little damp around the eyes through Mia’s recollections. How awesome was her mum? I actually laughed out loud at the Enya line. Classic moment, no?

Mia was a great story-teller. She’s looking back on her life after a horrific car crash in which she was the only survivor. Her parents are gone, as well as her little brother. Does she go with her family? Or does she stay? This is the choice she has to make.

She has a boyfriend, a best loveable best friend, caring grandparents and a handful of other relatives all waiting for her to make her decision. Some are okay with her going if it’s what she feels is right while some are desperate for her to stay.

I feel like I’ve been dealing with a lot of loss in the past few books I’ve read. It’s amazing, though, how each one has managed to tackle such a common theme in a very unique way. I applaud all the books I’ve read this month and Gayle Formans If I Stay is no different. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

It’ll make you laugh, it’ll make you cry and it will make you think. Hard.

I can’t say what I’d do in Mia’s shoes, but she was a lot braver than I would have been. Surveying the wreckage after the crash was horrendous, (I had the audiobook before I swapped it over for an electronic copy) even moreso hearing it read it aloud to you by the narrator. Gayle Forman wasn’t shy in disclosing the gritty details that we ultimately needed in order to feel Mia’s pain.

I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

Recommended to: I think this is the sort of book that can appeal to anyone. It will make you sit back and appreciate everything you have in your life. Have a box of tissues ready.


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