If I Stay by Gayle Forman

“Sometimes you make choices in life and sometimes choices make you.” 

In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen year- old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck…

A sophisticated, layered, and heartachingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make -and the ultimate choice Mia commands.

Personal Thoughts:

If you can choose whether to live or not, what would you choose? For me it’s always to live. No matter what happens I’ll fight to live and I’ll fight as hard as I can. But putting myself in Mia’s place I’m not sure if my answer will still be the same or will be as easy as I make it sounds earlier.

After a devastating accident, Mia was left to linger and watch her own dying self and the people she will left behind while making her decision between life and death literally. And whatever she choose whether to stay or not, she will have to say goodbye to people she loves dearly.

“I’m not sure this is a world I belong in anymore. I’m not sure that I want to wake up.” 

I love this book. It is raw, beautiful, heartbreaking and emotionally moving. Mia’s struggle to choose between living and dying is brilliantly executed. I felt every inch of Mia’s struggle. I wonder how hard it is to be in that situation, where you are the only one who can make the choice and much more if the choices are both painful either way.

The writing is intense and gripping which will make you turn pages after pages till the end. It’s not action packed grip kind but slow nostalgic grip. Something absorbing and moving. Gayle Forman builds the tensions by shifting from present happenings to past memories. It all blended seamlessly. All the flashbacks shows how much Mia got, how much she is loosing and how much she will lose if she decides to stay or leave. The grief and sadness is told with simplicity that sends more impact to readers. It is not overly coated with intelligent or deep lines but with much real emotions and feelings. The lyrical prose perfectly flow and captivate Mia’s emotions. I salute Gayle Forman for perfectly weaving an emotional story with much sadness and love at the same time.

“I realize now that dying is easy. Living is hard.”

I felt Mia all throughout her narration. It’s like I really knew her personally, like a family. I feel her insecurity, her doubts, her happiness and hopes. I feel her pain when she lost everyone in an instant. I feel her guilt when she didn’t tell Adam everything about her audition to Juilliard. I feel her love for her little brother Teddy. She is just so real like the story seems so real. That it can happen to everyone which makes it more tragic compelling. The other characters were also real and natural. I like all of them from Mia’s family, to Adam, Kim and Willow. Every one of them add a great impact to Mia’s decision. Just like how the music plays important role in the story.

I smile, laugh, cry and relate while reading. Sometimes there were flashback from my personal experiences. Like when my grandmother is dying, it was one of the most unbearable and heartbreaking moment for us in the family. Usually I act tough in those kind of situation, pretend everything will be fine and accept whatever happens. I thought as long as we did everything we can for her, there were no regrets and we’ll just be ready to let go if that is what God’s plan for her. But it’s not really easy, maybe I did act tough but I know deep inside I’m losing it. Death is something I’m not afraid of, for me it is part of life just like living is. But it is always hard for me to say goodbye.

When Mia is in the ICU and her gramps is talking to her while she is still in a coma. I shed tears as the words of his gramps echo my Mom’s words for her dying Mom.

“It’s okay, If you want to go. Everyone wants you to stay. I want you to stay more than I’ve ever wanted anything in my life. But that’s what I want and I could see why it might not be what you want. So I just wanted to tell you that I understand if you go. It’s okay if you have to leave us. It’s okay if you want to stop fighting.”

As if I’m hearing the words coming out from my Mom and not from Mia’s grandfather. I felt every words in those lines and every heartache it means. My heart also breaks when Adam beg Mia to stay.

“If you stay, I’ll do whatever you want. I’ll quit the band, go with you to New York. But if you need me to go away, I’ll do that, too…
…maybe coming back to your old life would be too painful, that maybe it’d be easier for you to erase us. And that would suck, but I’d do it. I can lose you like that if I don’t lose you today. I’ll let you go. If you stay.”

I keep on reading those lines and each time I go back it doesn’t make any less heart-warming and heartbreaking at the same time. This book really pull out all the emotions in me. For the last few pages my heart was beating fast & I must have been holding my breath. I’ve never been so involve and so absorb in a book like this for a long time. If I can beg Mia to stay I’ll do that too.

If I Stay is a powerful story about life, death, dreams, lost, pain and love. This book will make you wonder about life’s worth and the value of choices and second chances. And most importantly it will make you pause for awhile to make you see every beautiful detail of your life and start to appreciate it more.

Let me end this with a quick poem I made for Mia. I wish I got Adam’s talent in writing but I don’t. Anyway,  enjoy reading =)


Like the melody
That lingers on me
When I hear you play

Please Stay
Don’t lose like this
There are so many things
Still waiting for you

Don’t you dare
Leave me like this
I can’t lose you this way

If you Stay
I promise you
That I’ll do everything
You want me to do

I will forever
Hold your hand
And blow the cold away

Just Stay
Even if that means
I’ll lose you forever
I want you to stay

46 thoughts on “If I Stay by Gayle Forman

  1. girl your review makes me want to read the book all over again! sooo glad you love it as I do! and I hope you also love Where She Went…wich is another beautiful writing from Gayle!!!!


    • Thanks Alba. I think I’ll be reading this book too again someday. I love it that much. 🙂
      I’m done reading Where She Went which is also beautiful. I’m now a fan of Gayle Forman 😀 haha


  2. you sold me another book again. I agree with Lisa that poem is gorgeous and that you are talented! Glad you found a way combining your passion in writing poems and writing book reviews. Keep it up!


    • Thanks Iz. I actually feel bad that I don’t write much poem like what I used to. I hope you read this one soon and love it too as much as I did. This is really a great read and I recommend it to any reader I know.


    • Aww! Love this too. I hope you got the chance to read Where She Went and enjoy it as well. It is a bit different from the first book but good as well. Let me know how does one goes for you.


    • Thanks Beckie, glad you like the review. I also cried while reading this, a total heartbreaker. The other book, Where She Went is also as good as this one. I love both books, two of my favorite reads.


  3. Its really awesome that you loved this book because I do too! I hestiant at first because I didn’t like the cover but I totally understand the cover.


    • the cover isn’t really catchy but I like it just like that, simple. I actually thought that the cover art are branches in snow or something when I first saw it. But after I saw the book trailer I understand more what it is, which is actually broken glass from the accident.

      This is really awesome read. I don’t know why did I wait so long to read this but definitely one of my best reads this year.


  4. Loved the poem! ABsolutely loved it! As for the book, it was breath taking, amazing. I loved the sequel too, and I agree that Adam is swoon worthy! =)


    • Oh thank you so much for loving the poem. It’s just a quick composition not as good as what Adam can write for Mia but I can’t help writing one. The story is so inspiring that the words just flow easily into verse.

      This book is really amazing and the sequel is as beautiful as this one. It’s so great to hear Adam’s voice in Where She Went. It really balance with Mia’s voice in this book. The two books complement each other just like Mia and Adam 😀


  5. Oh my gosh, your review was excellent! It made me cry all over again – that quote when Mia’s grandpa is talking to her in the ICU and telling her it’s ok to let go, it made me cry so much when I was reading it and made me cry again reading it now. You did a great job, and glad you loved the book as much as I did!


    • Thank you so much!
      I almost cry again while writing the review when I quote Mia’s grandpa. Those words are really meaningful to me. Quite a tear jerk-er but really powerful & moving. Glad you love the book too and like the review. I appreciate it so much!


  6. Awesome review. I’ve had this in my TBR pile and have been waiting for the mood to strike me to start it. I’d been saving it for a night when I could pile up and read it nonstop without any interruptions. I just know I’ll probably go to bed with a headache from bawling like a baby while reading it.


    • Thank you so much!
      It never occur to me to allot a particular time reading this book. I don’t remember what time I finished this one but definitely I didn’t put it down till the end. I even pick it up again & re-read some of the pages I love just after I finished reading. This is really an awesome read.


  7. Wow! I am blown away by your poem. You are so talented! This poem made my heart rate speed up and actually caused me to tear a little. Truly touching. It made me relive my own feelings and emotions while reading Adam’s and Mia’s story. I found Adam’s little speech at the end particularly sad and heartbreaking. What a beautiful book!



    • Thank you so much!
      I didn’t imagine the poem I made can do that. I’m just overwhelmed by the story after reading that I don’t know how to properly put all my thoughts about how amazing the book is. As much as I want to write more in my review I don’t want to make it longer, so I feel the only way to put my thoughts into word is by writing the poem. I’m so glad you find the poem touching. Thank you!

      Adam speech is really heartbreaking and this book is definitely beautiful. I absolutely love it!


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