Summary (book jacket):
Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, adoring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. Then, 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- 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.
What I Expected: great things. I didn’t know about this book until everyone was raving about Where She Went, so I knew I had to read this book. And obviously I expected it to be amazing enough to make me cry.
If I Stay is one of the most unique books I’ve ever read. There aren’t any chapters; Mia talks about a past memory and then back to the present for a while, and I couldn’t stop turning the pages because the writing was just so hauntingly beautiful.
Okay, I didn’t cry, and let’s face it- the only time I cried while reading a book was at the end of Bridge to Terabithia, but there was one part in this novel that brought me really close to tears: the part where Adam keeps saying please and goes, “don’t make me write a song.” That just made me cover my mouth and wonder if I was going to cry. *sighs* you’ll see what I mean when you read the book.
The MC Mia is unique in that she’s not perfect. Her cello playing is her talent, but really, she’s just a regular girl that makes mistakes, too. Sometimes there are these perfect characters in YA books that always do things right, but Mia was childish sometimes (in her memories) and that was the pull to realism that made this book so wonderful.
And Kim- she reminded me so much of myself, minus the braid. I may not be Jewish, but I certainly understand and know what life’s like for her. She’s my favourite character in the book, honestly, apart from maybe Adam.
Mia’s family was so unique, too, with their intense love of music. Mia’s mom was hilarious- I keep trying and failing to imagine any mom acting like that. Mia’s dad and Teddy- they were so unique, the kind of realistic characters you only come across once in a while. I loved Gramps, too; he was the one who said the right things, even though nobody probably expected him to.
And last (but definitely not least), Adam- what a sweet guy! I’m pretty sure the percentage of mature, funny, nice, caring guys out there is very, very small. I think he’s one of very few wonderful but realistic (at the same time, would you believe) male leads- just the perfect balance of both to make him your book crush for a (long) while.
Parting Thoughts: If I Stay shows the importance of family and friends and how both holding on and letting go are such tough decisions to make, all with achingly beautiful prose that makes you want to keep going and going.
Rating: 4.5/5. This is a beautiful novel. I think EVERYONE out there should read this- it certainly made ME feel lucky for everything I’ve got.