If I Stay by Gayle Forman

*This is a book review people! Not a movie review. I used a still from the movie because someone borrowed my copy of If I Stay. I doubt she has any plans of returning it any time soon. If it’s any consolation, I adore this pic of Chloe and Jamie. Their chemistry was insane in the movie!!

When I discovered Gayle Forman’s If I Stay, the plot somehow reminded me of the Korean drama 49 Days which is one of my all-time favorite Korean dramas. Although it was so much more dramatic. The whole scenario of getting stuck-in-a-limbo kind of stories fascinates me. I was curious about how the author would go about it.

If I Stay is pretty much a quick-read. Throughout my reading experience, I realized that Mia is one of the most passive characters I’ve read. I had a hard time identifying with her. Yes, I can relate to her in some ways (and I don’t mean because she’s my namesake), but she irks me half the time. Throughout the story, she goes on about how she doesn’t fit in even with her family, friends and Adam, her boyfriend. The reasons are because they have different hair color or preference in music. The same thing with Adam and her friends as they like to party while she doesn’t. I tried to imagine how difficult her situation as she’s making it out to be. She’s got a wonderful supportive system and a charming, talented boyfriend who’s willing to do everything for her. But I don’t get it. All that being said, if there’s one aspect I appreciate about Mia, it’s her intense passion for music and playing the cello.

On the other hand, I enjoyed Adam’s character in the story. I appreciate how he goes out of his way to show how much he cares about Mia and her family. In fact, he’s almost too perfect and I can’t help but wonder if it’s because this is Mia’s point of view and she doesn’t want to share his flaws if there’s any. I also liked Kim, Mia’s best friend, who is in some way like Adam in that she’s willing to put everything aside for Mia. Kim is my most favorite character in the book.

Another issue I have with If I Stay was Mia’s lack of emotion to her family’s untimely death. She didn’t get depressed, or angry. ZERO. I convinced myself that it’s because she’s a ghost in the story thus she really doesn’t have legit feelings or emotions? I don’t know. I suppose this is why I hardly shed a tear in this book. I was prepared to cry my eyes out on this, but the only moment I felt genuinely crying was the part with Mia’s grandfather when he told her that it’s okay if she wants to let go, he understands. Literally cried my eyes out! I’m so relieved they included that scene in the movie adaptation and it was shot so beautifully and naturally.

I would definitely recommend this to readers who enjoy plot lines such as this as well as to those who love music because the way it was presented in this story felt so natural.

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