Book Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

If I Stay
If I Stay #1
Author: Gayle Forman
Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Released: March 24th 2009
Review Source: Purchased

Summary: (from goodreads) The critically acclaimed, bestselling novel from Gayle Forman, author of Where She Went, Just 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.

If I Stay is a beautifully written YA novel, it will break your heart in many ways. The characters are likable; they will capture your attention right from the start. Mia, the main character, is a talented musician. Her character is described as being close to her family. I mean who wouldn’t with such amazing cool hip and supportive parents? There are many parts of the books which will describe their relationship and it will bring you warmth and comfort. She has a brother that loves and look up to her. Not only does she have the perfect family but a perfect boyfriend, Adam! He is also a musician, a rock-star.

Mia and her family go for a drive and from that moment her world is turned upside down. The life she had, the perfect parents and brother are taken from her. Mia is trapped; she is unable to do anything but watch the lives of those that care for her. One of most shattering moment is when she finds out her brother is also gone. The story switches back and forth between past and present, which usually is confusing but not in this story. You will be able to keep up and make sense of what is going on.

Oh Adam, when he finds out – his heart is just destroyed. One of my favorite lines is:

“Please Mia," he implores. "Don't make me write a song.”

I personally love this book. Is a reality check, it makes you think how things can go wrong within seconds. Live is very valuable, one should cherish every moment. The story is realistic and one can relate from the life and death experience to the struggle of trying to survive. I also love her parents – such supportive characters.

This book will definitely will bring you tears. This was a personal experience Gayle went through and she channels her pain through the book. I read online that her and her husband’ close friends and children were involved in a devastating car accident and none survive. Soon after, a friend and co-worker fell ill and passed away – weeks before September 11.

I agree with everything Leydy mentions in her review of If I Stay. I was able to review it in audio format and was blown away by it. The story itself was powerful but to actually listen to Mia tell the story, just raised the bar even higher. I recommend both books in the series to be listen to as well as read. They will connect with you and stay ingrained long after you finished.


  1. Coincidentally I just read both If I Stay and Where She Went over the last 3 days. They were so amazing I wished I were still reviewing just so I could gush about them. Beautifully written story and touching sequel.

  2. I loved If I Stay and Where She Went also!!! Gayle Forman is just a wonderful author anyway because Just One Day is equally beautiful.


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