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Book Review | If I Stay by Gayle Forman


"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."

I'd seen this book floating around on my recent book shop visits. Though the cover I'd seen before had been the film version which admittedly I much prefer, I ended up buying this version from Amazon out of handiness after I saw it recommended by Sanne of Books and Quills on a recent video where she was talking about upcoming book to movie adaptations (the film adaptation of this book stars Chloe Moretz and is set to be released on the 22nd August).

Long story short, this book arrived in the post yesterday, from the first few pages I was completely hooked, and now having just finished it I thought I would quickly gather my thoughts and write a review while the story was still fresh in my head. 

The story itself takes place only over a period of 24 hours as seventeen-year-old Mia, in a coma following a horrific car accident which leaves both her parents and potentially her younger brother dead, has an out-of-body experience that allows her to witness the ways in which the people around her, including her grandparents, best friend and boyfriend cope with her condition, whereby she realises that she must make the decision whether to stay, and experience the pain of living without her parents, or simply slip away.

This was the sort of refreshing read I think I really needed, it was gripping and touching yet not too heavy or overly-descriptive. At the beginning I wasn't sure exactly what I was expecting, I didn't think it would be anything incredibly profound, but in fact I was very pleasantly surprised. I liked that the scenario Forman presents here encourages some thought on what is a primal fear in all of us: the loss of the people we love. From the perspective of someone who has never really experienced death, much like the protagonist, it made me reflect on how painful the experience of losing a loved one must be and posed questions such as how do we begin to move on with our lives or indeed, if given the chance would we even want to? Where does our strength come from to keep going when we feel we have nothing left?

I also really appreciated some of the themes in the novel about love and survival in spite of dire circumstances. In Mia reflecting on the things she still has to live for, Forman presents her life and future in a beautiful and colourful way and so, despite the fact that at times this book is challenging and sad, there is still a sense of hope which prevails throughout.

I'd definitely recommend this book for anyone looking for an easy page-turner as I managed to whiz through the 250 pages in no time with ease. The characters and character-development you see in the novel are very rich and descriptive and the novel also has its fair share of romance as you see the relationship between Mia and her boyfriend, Adam played out from its beginnings.

Frankly, I'm VERY excited to see how this film translates onto the Big Screen, especially because the trailer looks pretty amazing!


Just a quick update also: my posts might be a little infrequent/sporadic these next few weeks as I'm working full-time interning with an accountancy firm so I'm not sure how much time I'll have to keep up with my blog but I'm really going to try!

Hope you're all well!

18 comments

  1. I wasn't sure if I was interested in reading this or not, but now it sounds like I really would like it! Great review!

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    1. Thank you! I hope you decide to give it a go! :) xx

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  2. This sounds incredible! I'll definitely have to add it to my basket on my next Amazon book splurge!

    http://shewhoisshort.blogspot.co.uk/

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  3. I'm really getting into books more and more, I want to add this to my "To-Read" list now.

    Alaina x
    www.alainatbf.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. It's a really good book to get back into the swing of reading because it's very engaging and easy to follow :) xx

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  4. Just watching the trailer has made me tear up, I reckon I'd love this book but would probably be crying after every single page because the reaction of loved ones to a potential death in books definitely makes me really emotional! So probably not a book to read on the train! Would you say it was incredibly, incredibly tear-jerking?

    Imogen // imogenscribbles

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    1. Oh my, I know right?! I didn't actually find the book that sad! It seems as though the movie could be better than the book- judging by the trailer it seems to beef out the story a little bit and add a little bit more dimension. In the book everything sort of happens to fast to feel anything all that much if you know what I mean! xx

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  5. I heard about the film and might have to pick up the book! That's something else to add to my 'to-read' list!

    Rachael at broomfie.blogspot.com

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  6. I've heard about the film and also saw Sanne recommend it and i've been thinking about it ever since. Might have to pick it up soon it sounds great.

    Emma x
    Writing Essays With Wine

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    1. Sanne always changes my mind on books! haha. It is pretty great, you should definitely give it a go :) xx

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  7. I'll definitely have to give this a read before the film, sounds like a good read and the trailer looks really interesting!

    Megan // Lazy Thoughts

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    1. Yeah, I do always prefer to read the book first myself! xx

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  8. Hello just to let you know I have nominated you for The Liebster Award, complete it at your own free will, all the info is on my blog now !
    Marbl☾☽Moon

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  9. This was a great review! Now I have to run to my local library ans pick this book up. I like to read the novel before I watch the movie. I saw the trailer during TFIOS showing and it looked so good! Chloe Moretz is your twin.
    nostalgicteens.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you so much Ngozi!! And I think that's a very good idea! Do you think so?! :O Wow that's a huge compliment, I think she's beautiful! Thank you :) xxx

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