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Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

in a sentence or so: Mia is the sole survivor of a car accident that killed the rest of her family.  we journey with her as she makes a decision from the world in-between to stay with those left behind, or to just let go.

after the accident, Mia finds herself inexplicably standing removed from the scene and able to watch everything that happens.  she's not quite a ghost or apparition, but she's not quite real either.  no one can see her or feel her, and she can't feel things either.  well, perhaps that's not exactly true.  Mia feels disgusted to see the brain chunks of her father splattered over the highway.  Mia feels scared when she sees her little brother pinned in the backseat of the car. but Mia cannot feel the pain from the flesh that has ripped away from her leg and exposes the bone, or her collapsed lung, or her brain swelling.

after Mia is taken to the hospital, we start to learn more about her family and background through flash-back memories. we learn about her punk rocker turned mr. cleaver dad, about her sailor-mouthed mom, about her curly headed adorable little brother Teddy, about her best friend Kim and her up-and-coming rock god (but still totally sensitive and perfect) boyfriend Adam.  we learn about what an amazing cellist Mia is and what a beautiful future in music she has ahead of her.

while Mia is stuck in the in-between, she begins to realize it is her decision to stay in this new life of uncertainty, pain, and loss or to let go and join the rest of her family in the unknown and be at peace.  Mia also hears and sees those loved ones who are waiting for her in the ICU and talking with her and communicating their wishes for her - either begging her to stay, or letting her know that it is okay to let go.

this has been described to me as beautiful, tragic, and tear-jerking. those adjectives are certainly representative of Mia's story as a whole.  however, i am most impressed by the way in which these adjectives come across - the reflections on a life lived combined with her life in limbo was a fresh and sincere writing style that accurately reflects the tone and message of the book.

fave quote: "If I stay. If I live. It's up to me." (120 of 314 [nook version])

fix er up: i was so drawn in to Mia's story that i would have liked to see it go a little bit further...but i think i would read her story forever if i could.

title: If I Stay
author: Gayle Forman
genre: Problem Novel, Death, Family

Lisa is a gamer, crafter, fangirl, mother, wife and unabashed nerd who is pretty ridiculous and it's best you know that up front. When she's not binge watching Netflix or crafting into the wee hours of the night, you can find her spending a lot of her time on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. I loved your review. This does sound like a very sad story but can be a real story at the same time. Death is still so much of a mystery we don't know or understand what happens after but this can give a clue to some people. It could happen this way or not..

  2. Thanks! This really did pack a lot of emotions and they soaked into me while I was reading, along with the whole "what's after this life?" question. Good stuff.


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