Tuesday, December 27, 2011

If I Stay - Gayle Forman

Also reviewed by Heather.

Summary:  On a day that started like any other...

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, living, dying, loving.  (Summary from back of the book and image from  http://ebookstore.sony.com/ )

My Review:  I'm conflicted on this review.  I read the book like swallowing a glass of water, but I did have a few issues with it. My biggest gripes were the racier material (teenage drinking, swearing, and hints of an underage sexual relationship) and choppy writing.   Periodically, I had to re-read sentences because the fluency was off.

However, I loved the overall concept -- Do people in a coma really have a choice over whether to live or die?  I also enjoyed the Pacific Northwest setting (it's close to home), Mia's parents laid back depiction (very Oregon "Keep Portland Weird!"), and the influence of music and how it subtly added mood to the story (you can listen to each song on Gayle Forman's website and playlist).  I especially loved the portrayal of a functional, happy family. 

Even with my "gripes," this was a book I didn't want to put down.  I read it in two days (amidst taking care of two children, teaching, and being quite sick).  I think I'll be careful who I recommend this to in my middle school, but I'm sure high school students will love it as well.

My Rating: 4 stars

For the sensitive reader:  Although it's in our middle school library, it mentions underage drinking, underage sex, and lots of swearing.  Not that it stopped me reading, but it does have these things.

Sum it up: How much choice does someone really have while in a coma?  To live or die?


Monica said...

I stopped reading this book - for the same reasons you listed under "for the sensative reader." The overall plot of the story was interesting but once the swearing and underaged sex came into the story it just wasn't worth my time. I'm a slow reader and I can't invest my time into a story with so many things against my personal standards.

Melanie McCullough said...

I have this book on my shelf but haven't found time to read it yet. Thanks for the review!


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