If I Stay: A Review by Natalie Liu



‘He covers his face with his hands and takes deep breaths to steady himself. After a minute, he drops his hands into his lap. “Just listen,” he says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel.

     I open my eyes wide now. I sit up as much as I can. And I listen.


Seventeen-year old Mia Hall thought she had it all– a loving family, the perfect boyfriend, and a promising future. Then it was all taken away from her. One car crash was all it took, and Mia suddenly finds herself trapped in an out-of-body state, where one choice will either give her another chance at life – or end it. Mia is caught between the memories of the past, and the possibilities of an unknown future. As each day passes, the pain and agony continues to pile up, and every day she wonders, “What will happen … if I stay?”

‘If I Stay,’ written by Gayle Forman, is a story twisted around the power of love and death, and the importance of choices. The story plays out through flashbacks and memories in Mia’s perspective. Through those her character is built from a simple girl whose life has been torn apart by a car crash, to a girl whose life had been complicated with both strong and weak relationships, hard choices, and a great talent for music. Love had played a big part in her life, and now it’s the only thing she’s clinging onto.

Personally, I enjoyed the refreshing style and idea of this novel, as well as the unique kind of character the protagonist was. I would recommend this book for readers who are looking for the genres: tragedy, romance, fiction and drama; mainly due to the story being built through Mia’s past and experiences. This novel is rated as 14+ because of some language and scenes not appropriate for young readers. Other than that, ‘If I Stay’ was a well-written, emotionally- moving book that had me constantly on my toes, anticipating what was coming next. For those that are interested, there is a movie that was produced for the book in 2014, as well as a sequel by the name of ‘Where She Went’.


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