If I Stay

If I Stay

Gayle Forman’s new novel, If I Stay, takes emotional accounts to a new level. When Mia is the victim of a horrific car accident, she is left in an in-between state where she can watch her friends and her remaining family struggle to cope with what has happened. All she knows is that she has to make a decision: should she stay or go?

Initially, I baulked a little at reading this novel. As If I Stay deals with such an emotional topic, I thought that it would either be thoroughly depressing or would be dripping in sentimentalism. Fortunately, however, If I Stay largely does neither. Mia’s perspective is frank and open and, despite her extremity, she does not simply break down in a mess of tears and pleadings to live. Instead, Mia confronts the two options that she has before her and seriously considers each option’s pros and cons.

What makes If I Stay an extraordinary novel for the topic it is dealing with is that it leaves us hanging until the very last line. You might think that as Mia travels through her memories more and more that the choice she has to make will be inevitable, but I defy anyone to read this novel for the first time and tell me definitively whether she will stay or die.

Credit also has to be given to Forman when it comes to painting the picture of Mia’s life. All too often the victim is depicted as having lived a perfect and happy life in such stories, but Forman again has Mia show us her life with an almost objective retrospect, assessing where her life had been happy and where it had been flawed. The only negative I have to give about this novel is the ending. I was left feeling a little cheated, but I dare not say anything else for fear of giving the ending away.

Gayle Forman’s If I Stay is a beautiful, easy read which, if you’re the type who cries easily when confronted with fiction (which I have to say I’m not), then you will cry. Get your tissues at the ready and sit back and enjoy.


by Julia Molloy

by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
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