(Cover picture courtesy of Gayle Forman’s site.)
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 one 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, music, living, dying, loving.
Here I am once again tackling a book that’s pretty much become a classic of modern literature. I really tried hard not to let the hype influence my opinion of it but as you guys know it’s impossible to be totally oblivious to a novel as popular as this one.
I didn’t like If I Stay. There, I said it. So you can start writing your hate mail now but at least hear me out on my reasons why.
Mia was a horrible main character, to be honest. No, she wasn’t an awful human being but she was boring. Horribly, ordinary and boring with pretty much nothing to set her apart. Sure she’s into music but her personality is about as dull as watching paint dry. The book starts out with her accident and as she’s in a coma we learn more about her life prior to the accident. And you know what? It’s too good to be true.
She has the cool parents that every stereotypical teenager supposedly wishes for. They’re cool, not uptight about anything and basically act like teenagers themselves. She never, ever has any disagreements with them. Ever. That’s just not realistic at all. And her relationship with Adam was so cheesy it almost made me gag. That scene where they’re in Mia’s room and Adam asked her to “play [him] like a cello” (page 59). And she literally played air cello on his body before he reciprocated by playing air guitar on hers. I haven’t rolled my eyes so hard since I was 13 years old and even at that age I could have told you that two teenagers alone in a bedroom together are not going to play air-whatevers on each other.
Basically, If I Stay is a bunch of memories of Mia’s where she boringly examines her perfect life before deciding if she wants to die or not. There’s no great lyricism to the writing, no real emotion in what really should be a heart-wrenching situation and I really didn’t care what happened to Mia by the end of the novel. I just wanted the novel to be over so I could do something productive with my life.
If you want to read If I Stay to see what all the hype is about, go for it. But set your expectations a little lower if you don’t want to be totally disappointed.
I give this book 1/5 stars.