book review: if i stay by gayle forman

It's been about 3 weeks since i read If I Stay, so i can't guarantee that my review for this book will be very good. I'll review it as much as i can based on what i can remember. I knew about this book because of its upcoming movie. Many people were saying it was going to be the next "The Fault In Our Stars" and i guess i wanted to get into it before it became overrated.

If I Stay is a story about a girl named Mia Hall. She happened to be very gifted at playing the cello, and managed to get an offer to study at Juilliard  after a series of efforts. Her boyfriend, Adam, was also musically talented and was part of a successful band called Shooting Star, who frequently had concerts and tours. Since he was older than her, they dated for a little while in high school and stayed together even after Adam graduated. On an occasional snowy day, Mia and her family decided to visit her grandparents but had gotten into an unexpected car accident with a lorry. The accident killed the ones she loved and put Mia in a state between life and death. She then had to choose whether she wanted to die or to live and face the horrible reality of living without her family.

Unlike a lot of other books that i have read, this one did not hold many suspense or surprises. For this very reason, there won't be a Spoilers section to this review because there's nothing much to spoil. To be honest, the book actually held a lot of expectations which were not met. The title and blurb kind of tells half of the story already; which was that Mia would go through something challenging and had to weigh in the reality of her choices before she decides whether to stay or to go. I guess since i had already watched the trailer for the movie, half of the story was already ruined for me from the beginning. However, reading Mia's thoughts and description about her life was still somewhat interesting to read about. It may be boring to some people who prefer story lines with surprises, but they won't be able to get that with If I Stay, except for of course finding out Mia's final decision.

The story was told in the present, but had many flashbacks to Mia's memories. I thought that this was somewhat interesting to read about, because as you are introduced to new characters, you suddenly will have a back story about them through Mia's past. For example, there were many "flashbacks" to moments between Mia and Adam, which chronologically described the development of their relationship. Other than that, a lot of the back stories were about her music career and her relationship with her family and best friend, Kim. It was fine, but sometimes i thought that the characters were a little unrealistic. Like during the part when Mia and Adam were pretending their body was a guitar/cello, yeah that was kinda weird. I was confused.

At one point, reading about the flashbacks got a little boring because the real suspense was during the present. I ended up not really caring much about the back stories and wanted to know what was happening/going to happen to Mia. During the present, Mia had a lot of kind-of deep thoughts about life. One of my favourite lines was "I realise now that dying is easy. Living is hard". I don't remember reading very many deep thoughts though, but maybe i just have bad memory. I also felt that the book was lacking in the development of characters(even after the back stories), but then again there wasn't really much to develop from since the present was only told within two days. I read the book in less than a day, so it felt too rushed to really let myself fall in love with the characters.

In conclusion, the story was worth reading, but i don't think it ended up on my Favourite Books list. I have to admit, i really was expecting more from the book, or at least maybe from the writing. My expectations rose because of the fact that a movie was going to be released, i think. I keep expecting books that are going to have a movie tie-in to be really good, and it's pretty rare that the books are what i'd say as 'average' like this one. I just hope the movie won't be a disappointment. Since the book did not make me teary(except a bit, but only for one or two parts), i hope the movie will at least do that.

I would rate this book 3.5 out of 5. I remember feeling a short moment of satisfaction, but the effect was not long and i think i was forcing myself to like it more than i actually did. It was probably because i couldn't relate to it in enough ways for it to have made an impact in my life. If you have different opinions, don't hesitate to share it with me! I appreciate book-talks :)


  1. Have you seen the movie yet? The trailer was like, really interesting, so I went to see the movie. I (secretly) cried when Gramps talked to Mia. I haven't read the book yet, but I just think Chloe is like really cool, since she was in Kick Ass and all. Haha.

  2. Iman: nope i havent seen the movie, but ive been wanting to of course :D idk if theyre not showing it in the cinemas here or what, so i guess thts why I havent gotten around to it.

    However YES I AGREE, Chloe is amazing! A wonderful actress for her age, and makes me still interested to watch the movie, despite my disappointment with the book xD have u watched the movie yet?



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2017 Reading Challenge

2017 Reading Challenge
Kamalia has read 15 books toward her goal of 50 books.