Imagine if all your choices were gone. Except one. And it’s the only one that truly matters.
If I Stay
Every so often, you stumble upon a book which changes your perspective – even if just for a little bit. This can be said about If I Stay, a young-adult novel, surrounding the life and potential death of seventeen-year-old Mia Hall – a girl from Oregon, deeply in love with playing the cello.
First off, I need to warn: this book has high percentage chance of making you tear up, or maybe even cry a little. Secondly, it needs to be said that Gayle Forman does a splendid job at diving into the lives of the Halls, especially Mia and her relationship with Adam Wilde, as well as her infatuation with classical music.
What works so well with this book is just how open, honest and relatable it is. With teen romance, the loss of loved ones and the reality of growing up and making life-changing decisions, it is easy to see why this two-hundred and ten page book has been making waves since its release.
Although I do not want to give too much detail away about the plot (for those who have stumbled onto my review debating whether to give the novel a chance or not) I will say this: the ending is flawless. It will have you cradling your pillow at 3AM because you’ve stayed up all night to finish that final chapter. And no, that statement in no way indicates Mia’s choice. By the time you reach the final pages, you are so attached to every character in Mia’s life, and herself, that with either outcome, whether the one you wanted or not, will leave you needing a moment of reassurance that the surviving characters will be alright.
This book grips you from the first line – ‘Everyone thinks it was because of the snow. And in a way, I suppose that’s true’ – and refuses to let go until weeks after you have closed the cover.
My suggestion to all is that if you do decide to read this book, read it fresh. Do not look at spoilers, do not watch the film adaptation first, and do not google its mass collection of inspirational raw quotes (there are a lot of them out there). Go into the story not knowing what to expect because each twist and turn deserves to be read in its passionate, thought-provoking way.
But as that is just my opinion, for those who wish to know a bit more about the plot, I will place the synopsis down below: (Contains some spoilers)
‘On a snowy day, Mia, her mother, her father, and her little brother, Teddy, decide to go for a morning drive. Another car crashes into theirs, causing serious injuries for the entire family. When Mia awakens, she finds herself detached from her body, which is barely holding on. She finds the bodies of her mother and father, who died from the crash. She also finds the body of herself, who is on the brink of death. Mia realises that she is having an out of body experience, and follows her physical body to the hospital. She watches her extended family rush to take care of her, while her best friend Kim and her boyfriend Adam struggle to reach the hospital. Through her stay at the hospital, Mia reflects on her life, reminiscing about the development of her relationship with Adam, the development of her passion and talent for playing the cello, and the obstacles of being a teenager who feels out of place no matter where she goes.’