20 March 2016

Review #375: If I Stay (If I Stay, #1) by Gayle Forman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“And that's just it, isn't it? That's how we manage to survive the loss. Because love, it never dies, it never goes away, it never fades, so long as you hang on to it.”

----Gayle Forman

Gayle Forman, an award-winning best-selling author, has penned an incredible tale of young love as well as family love in her book, If I Stay, which is the first book in the If I Stay series. This series opens with Mia's heart-breaking story of loss and her passion for music with a ground-breaking decision on whether to fight for love when you have lost the most precious possession of your life- family. Now a major motion picture with the same name, directed by R. J. Cutler, starring, Chloë Grace Moretz, Jamie Blackley and many more.


'Just listen,' Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel.' I open my eyes wide now. I sit up as much as I can. And I listen.

'Stay,' he says.

Everybody has to make choices.
Some might break you.

For seventeen-year-old Mia, surrounded by a wonderful family, friends and a gorgeous boyfriend decisions might seem tough, but they're all about a future full of music and love, a future that's brimming with hope.
But life can change in an instant.
A cold February morning . . . a snowy road . . . and suddenly all of Mia's choices are gone. Except one.
As alone as she'll ever be, Mia must make the most difficult choice of all.
Haunting, heartrending and ultimately life-affirming, If I Stay will make you appreciate all that you have, all that you've lost - and all that might be.

Mia is a 17-year-old passionate cellist who has just auditioned for Julliard's and is anticipating for the letter of selection to arrive when her parents decide to celebrate the snow day by visiting to her grandparents' house along with her younger brother. But on the way to her grandparents' house, a tragic and unfateful accident claims the life of her parents instantly whereas she and her brother are immediately rushed to the hospital to be operated on. Mia, on the other hand, gets to experience all this horrifying scenes with her own eyes as she her soul got detached from her own body.

After Mia's operation, she is shifted to ICU owing to her coma and the doctors state that it is completely on Mia's part to fight from the coma and come back to life if she wants to. But Mia's parents are no more, gradually, her brother too gives up fighting and dies, what will Mia live for? Music or her boyfriend, Adam, whose undeniable love for her is greater than his passion for his uprising rock-band.

FYI: Things needed to keep in handy before reading this book:

a) A big box of Kleenex and,
b) A big bucket

I hate myself for reading this book so many years later, after the book's release. It seems I'm the last one to read this spectacular story of Mia and Adam, even long after the movie's release too. Anways I devoured this book in just one sitting and I could not stop shedding buckets load of tears for Mia. I mean who does good people like Mia's parents and her brother has to die so tragically? I instantly started hating the author for putting Mia on such a challenging decision of her life.

Mia is a mature and understanding teenager irrespective of her age, the kind of teenager who is introvert and hides behind her cello and does not mind on not being too socially upfront. But this Mia falls for the cutest boy from her school, Adam. Adam, too irrespective of his boy-band kind of image, is a loving and caring guy who falls for Mia the moment he laid his eyes on her while she was practicing on her cello. And from this unusual couple's love story, it reminded me of the saying Opposites Attract!

Mia's best friend, Kim, is the kind of best friend that you will wish that you had in your life whop in the right moment says something that can change your take on life. The friend who will not leave your side no matter what. Mia's parents are the gem of this book. They are gem of this novel- loving, cool, modern, casual and totally rocking with an equally rocking son. They give the best advice to their teenage daughter, gives her enough freedom and has fought hard to make their daughter's dream of becoming a cellist comes true. Hard-working yet easy-going, I would say! Mia's other relatives are also quite well-developed and rest of the supporting cast are really strong.

The writing of the author is extremely beautiful yet thoroughly sad, the kind of sad which is hard to recover from even after the end of the story. The narrative is equally poignant and free-flowing and the story is narrated from Mia's POV as the story shifts from the present scene to the past when Mia was leading a normal teenage life with boyfriend drama, dreams of music, parents etc.

The author has silently made her readers, especially to those who take their family for granted, change their outlook and made them respect their family. The value of family is really strong in this story and depicting how it is hard to live a normal life when you have no one to hold on to except your true love.

Now let's move on to the movie review:

Chloë Grace Moretz is a really talented actress despite of her young age. And she has gracefully and strikingly portrayed the character of Mia through her brilliant performance, in short, she gave justice of Mia's character. Jamie on the other hand, did a solid justice to his characterization of Adam both look wise as well as demeanor wise. But even after such beautiful performances, I would like to stick with the book as the story there has much more depth and pain, and I seriously loved the book better than the movie. And I would watch the movie only for Chloe's performance because she is definitely my favorite actress.

This is the kind of book which, if read more than once, will induce the readers with the same amount of pain and grief just like the first time. This is a totally compelling and agonizing yet fascinating story.

Definitely watch the movie, If I Stay, if you have loved reading this book.

Verdict: Some books does not need a verdict, as it becomes a must-read automatically devoid of any 5-starred reviews!

Courtesy: Another book which is worth every penny!! 

Author Info:
Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, I was a journalist who specialized in reporting on young people and social-justice issues. Which is a fancy way of saying I reported on all the ways that young people get treated like crap—and overcome! I started out working for Seventeen magazine, writing the kinds of articles that people (i.e. adults) never believe that Seventeen ran (on everything from child soldiers in Sierra Leone to migrant teen farm workers in the U.S.). Later on, I became a freelance journalist, writing for magazines like Details, Jane, Glamour, The Nation, Elle, Budget Travel, and Cosmopolitan.

In 2002, I went traveling for a year around the world with my husband, Nick. I spent time hanging out with some pretty interesting people, a third sex (we’d probably call them transvestites here) in Tonga, Tolkien-obsessed, role-playing punks in Kazakhstan (bonus points to those of you who can find Kazakhstan on a map), working class hip-hop stars in Tanzania. The result of that year was my first book, a travel memoir called You Can’t Get There From Here: A Year On the Fringes of a Shrinking World. You can read about my trip and see pictures of it here.

What do you do when you get back home after traveling the globe for a whole year? First, you get disproportionately excited by the little comforts in life: Not having to look at a map to get everywhere? Yay! Being able to drink coffee without getting dressed and schlepping to a café first? Bliss! Then, if you’re 32 years old and have been with your husband for evah, you have a kid. Which we did. Presto, Willa!

So, there I was. With a baby. And all of a sudden I couldn’t do the kind of gallivanty reporting I’d done before. Well, you know how they say in life when one door closes another opens? In my case, the door came clear off the frame. Because I discovered that I could take the most amazing journeys of my life without ever having to leave my desk. It was all in my head. In stories I could make up. And the people I wanted to take these fantastical journeys with, they all happened to be between the ages of 12 and 20. I don’t know why. These are just the people who beckon me. And I go where I’m told.

My first young-adult novel, Sisters in Sanity, was based on another one of those social justice articles I wrote when for Seventeen and you can click here to read the article. Sisters was published in 2007. My next book, If I Stay, was published in April of 2009 by Dutton. It is also being published in 30 countries around the world, which is surreal. The sequel/companion book to If I Stay, Where She Went, comes out in April 2011. I am currently working on a new YA novel, that is, when my kids (plural, after Willa we adopted Denbele from Ethiopia) allow me to. And after that book is finished, I’ll write another, and another….

Wow. This is crazy long. I suppose the short version of this bio could simply read: My name is Gayle Forman and I love to write young-adult novels. Because I do. So thank you for reading them. Because without you, it’d just be me. And the voices in my head.

Gayle Forman is an award-winning author and journalist whose articles have appeared in such publications as Jane, Seventeen, Glamour, Elle, and The New York Times Magazine, to name just a few. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.
Visit her here 

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