Sunday, April 27, 2014

If I Stay by Gayle Forman (Review)

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.

Oh my god. This book. This book gave me all the emotions. If I Stay by Gayle Forman was a phenomenal read. Like I mentioned in my Wonder review, I said that I didn't read a whole lot of contemporary but I did enjoy them and I haven't been disappointed by any of them, and If I Stay is definitely one of the best contemporary books I have read so far, like as good as The Fault in Our Stars.

First, the premise of this novel. This is told in an interesting way, because (in the real time of the book) this takes within a period of 24 hours. But most of this novel doesn't take place in the real time, about 2/3s of this book is flashbacks and memories of Mia and the decision she has to make. They make the story so much better and it made you understand the characters so well (which I'll talk about in a minute). And I also like the idea how (minor spoiler) Mia is basically in an out-of-body experience to decide if she wants to stay or leave her life, it just seems so cool and I love it a lot.

Now the characters. Good god, the characters. While they did not have the most compelling personalities ever, you get to know they so well from Mia's flashbacks even though this is a 200-page book. They just have a vivid personality and you know them as if you knew them in real life. And you also get to see and hear Mia's struggles as she has to make the decision to stay in her life or leave and I loved to see it so much.

In the end, I gave If I Stay a 4.5/5 stars, but on Goodreads I gave it a 5/5 stars. While the story and the characters weren't the most creative and the fact it was a short book, this book is so beautiful and memorable that I feel like everyone should read it at some point. If you love contemporary and you haven't read this, you need to ASAP. This isn't a sugar-sweet story like the Stephanie Perkins or Huntley Fitzpatrick books (from what I gather from them), but this is truly memorable and unique book that I will definitely be picking up the sequel 'Where She Went'.

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