Thursday, July 24, 2014

Book Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Title: If I Stay (If I Stay #1)
Author: Gayle Forman
Publication: April 6th 2010, Speak
Format: Trade Paperback, 262 pages
Source: Own copy from NBS
Buy it on:  Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | Kobo | National Book Store / Fully Booked (PH)


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.

Misfit Review: 

Holding onto things is hard. You have to have courage especially if those things have lost their reason. It is so much harder to hold onto life when you've lost almost every reason for you to live. There is no more meaning to life. That's the challenge for 17 year old Mia Hall, as she goes through the brink of living and dying after losing her parents and younger brother in an accident. 

The first time I read the novel, back in 2013, I related to Mia in a way. I was operated at a young age because of a complication. I was put into this position where I was deciding whether I wanted to stay or to live. But my problem could never compare to what Mia was going through, losing her family in an accident. She had more reason to go. The second time I read it, GODS! The feeling still come surging in like a hurricane!

“I don't really care. I shouldn't have to care. I shouldn't have to work this hard. I realize now that dying is easy. Living is hard.”

The story is so beautiful, told from Mia's perspective as she roams around the hospital halls, telling the story of her loss and the emotion she feels around the people that want her to stay. There is the inclusion of past events; Mia's happy memories with her family, her best friend, Kim and her loving boyfriend Adam. The events are totally heart breaking, and my sense of grief, creeps up almost instantly. Having such a bright, cheery family is wondrous and you lose yourself when they aren't there anymore. I really love Mia's parents. They are on a league of their own and I love them for being honest and out there. What a dream it would be to have rocker parents! They were weaved into the story so enchantingly that you don't really wanna believe they're gone. They are the parents I would be jealous to have.

One thing that I did not like about Mia is probably the fact that she's not as broken down as I would've wanted her to be. She feels a little formulaic in a way but not in the sense that I was annoyed or frustrated by her. She was relatable too. The moments where I truly connected with her was when she talks about the cello. Her love for it is undeniable and it's a joy to read parts of her intertwining herself with the instrument. Then, there's Adam.

“If you stay, I'll do whatever you want. I'll quit the band, go with you to New York. But if you need me to go away, I'll do that, too. I was talking to Liz and she said maybe coming back to your old life would 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.”

Adam was well, a rockstar! I loved him so much! I loved his band, Shooting Star, his look, I just loved everything about him. He's the type of character that is totally laid back, cool and punk rock but is a total softie! He's funny and sweet that chicks would like to rip him off the page, and a total rocker hottie, that well, chicks would want to rip him off the page. HAHA! I mean, he may not be described as the typical statuesque guy, but he totally wins my heart!

“But I also know that sometimes Adam needs to do things the dramatic way. He is fond of the Grand Gesture”

I also loved Mia and Adam's relationship. I loved the fact that it was not some whirlwind romance as many YA books tend to have. I like that there's a foundation to it and that there are small steps. Instalove would've been something I wouldn't have tolerated as much if I read it that way. I appreciate that Gayle put depth into their relationship. A+!

“It's like the piano and the cello are being poured into my body, the same way the IV and blood transfusions are. And the memories of my life as it was, and the flashes of it as it might be, are coming so fast and furious. I feel like I can no longer keep up with them but they keep coming and everything is colliding, until I cannot take anymore. Until I cannot be like this a second longer."

The characters blended so well with each other and with the story that at some point you forget that the actual story is dominated with flashbacks. I guess it's typical for anyone going through a life and death situation to contemplate their lives. The story depicted longing, hope and hanging on. Gayle's way of pushing down emotion into my chest was totes effective. And I think feeling the pain was a good thing. Really, a good thing!

I LOOOOOVED the incorporation of music, rock and classical, which I both love. I wouldn't mind hearing a rock rendition of any Chopin or Vivaldi's works or just listen to them play both genre's awesomely and beautifully! I'm totally checking out some of the artists that I did not recognize and rocking out to them.

“I'm not sure this is a world I belong in anymore. I'm not sure that I want to wake up.”

If I Stay is a stay at home read, coz really, do you wanna end up looking like crap outside, to be taken care of people? Coz I hope not.

About the Author:

Gayle Forman is an award-winning author and journalist whose articles have appeared in such publications as Jane, Seventeen, Glamour, Elle, and The New York Times Magazine, to name just a few. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.

Check out more amazing reviews soon. And keep in touch, coz I have drafted Where She Went already and I am awfully excited for the movie! So! Yeah! WOOOHOOO!!!

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