Book Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman


Click on the image to open the book's Goodreads page

Click on the image to open the book’s Goodreads page

recommendedTitle: If I Stay
Author: Gayle Forman
Publication Date: April 2, 2009
Publisher: Speak
Series: If I Stay #1
Format: Paperback
Acquisition: Bought

Purchase at: Amazon

The critically acclaimed, bestselling novel from Gayle Forman, author of Where She WentJust One Day, and the forthcoming Just One Year
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.


The blurb doesn’t really give out a lot of information about the book so in case you are afraid of spoilers, please go directly to the OVERALL part and rating if you haven’t read this book or if you don’t know much about it. However, if you are okay with a little spoiler, you can proceed with reading my review.


I’ve been seeing this book a lot, and I’ve been meaning to read it for the longest time. And I quite regret that I took so long to get to it because it was just beautiful. I don’t know about anyone else, but when I read the synopsis for this book, I didn’t really know what to expect. I didn’t read any reviews either. I simply heard people saying “it’s good” or “it’s not that great.” I didn’t have much to go on so I was quite surprised by how the novel went.

I don’t really believe much on the idea of having an out of body experience, but I can still appreciate books or stories that use this concept. In fact, despite that little surprise, I really liked this book and read it in only a few hours. I couldn’t let go of my paperback at all. I even read the sequel right away because I wanted more. Mia Hall’s life was unexpectedly shattered when a fatal accident befell her whole family, and Mia was in this in-between world where she could see herself lying in the hospital and seeing all the people around her. Mia has to make a decision whether to stay or go, which is truly a difficult one to make once anyone sees what Mia has undergone.

Mia was a very lucky girl who could have had it all, but sometimes life has its unexpected turns. I think the big factor in this book was the loss of Mia’s family. There were a lot of scenes showing Mia’s family and their wonderful relationship. The fact that their perfect little family was broken led to so much pain. I’m sure they weren’t perfect, but I think it’s common to remember the good things when there isn’t much left to hold on to, and I liked seeing some of the good moments they shared. I could see how Mia had this big battle to overcome because losing people like that is never easy.

I also like all of the other characters in the story. It was just heart-breaking to see how some of them handled the situation. I wanted to be able to just comfort them. I think a scene that really broke my heart was where Mia’s grandfather spends some time alone with her and he let out the intensity of his feelings. And there was this one scene that filled my heart with love and hope where Mia’s best friend, Kim, talks to Mia and tells her “You still have a family.”

I personally love Mia’s boyfriend, Adam. Mia and Adam’s relationship is one of those I-don’t-deserve-you-but-that-doesn’t-matter kind. Mia is a reserved cellist who likes classical music, and Adam was a lead singer and guitarist of a band and a rising rock star. They’re very different people, but one could feel how much they love each other as they share a passion for music. I like how Adam was so intent on seeing Mia.


OVERALL, If I Stay is a book that did all kinds of things to my poor little heart, mind, and feelings. If I Stay broke my heart and somehow made it whole again. It made me want to cry, but it also made me smile and even laugh. It melted my heart and made it all fluttery. It made me love. If I Stay is a beautiful and compelling story about love, life, and passion that gripped me from beginning to end, and will stay with me for a very long time. Recounting the book itself to write this review has done all kinds of things to my heart again. This was a book that I definitely should have read sooner, and I recommend it to anyone who appreciates contemporary reads with a little drama that can affect you in all kinds of ways. Despite the drama, there were so much more elements that can grip its readers.




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  • This is all based on personal opinion, and as much as I’m open to other people’s opinions, I hope you understand that this is based on what I feel. I avoid giving out spoilers as much as possible, too.
  • I do not own most of the images I use, and some may be subject to editing.

12 thoughts on “Book Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

  1. I only read the “Overall” bit because, even though I have technically read the book before, I really need to reread it because I don’t remember much from it haha. And I really want to read the sequel but feel like I can’t without rereading the first book 😛
    And wow, it does sound like an incredible book! Sounds like it’s a real hit to the feels 😀

  2. I didn’t know what the book was about until I started listening to the audio book. OMG. I felt all the feels when I read this book. This is one of the few books that I have read where I started tearing up!

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