Wednesday, June 9, 2010

5-Minute Book Club

This month the book we have chosen in, If I Stay by Gayle Forman. Here is her web-site with some awesome trailers that will make you want to read it, if our blurbs do not.

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.


One of the things I liked best about If I Stay was the presence of Mia's family. This novel proves that the parents don't have to be out of the picture, but can be interesting, fun characters that add to the story. Mia's relationship with Adam was sweet and rang true for me. This book had me in tears by the end, and that hasn't happened for a long time with a book.


There was a lot about If I Stay that I liked. First, music. We are a musical family with two of my children who play cello, so the whole dedication to music that Mia felt was something I could connect with. Next, the family relationship. Her family was a great one. She loved her brother and her parents supported her, loved each other, and her. Finally, her best friend and boyfriend. These were very real characters that I wouldn't have wanted to leave behind. It was a sad book that I found myself crying through, but was relieved to have some humor thrown in that made me laugh through my tears. I admire a writer who can pull both emotions out of me in one book.


Wow, it’s really challenging to write this review and not have it contain spoilers! One thing I loved about If I Stay is how normal everyone was. I know, I know, that doesn’t sound like a big deal, but trust me—it is. I mean, the MC Mia has a great family—something that’s on the endangered list in YA these days—a loving boyfriend, an awesome best friend. These were totally people I could see myself hanging out with. Mia’s not neurotic, or in rehab, nor flunking out of school. It’s really a nice change of pace.

This story flows pretty seamlessly between past and present tense, weaving in big chunks of memories to show the reader why Mia’s choice is so difficult. A heartbreaker, especially from the middle on.


My favorite part of If I Stay was definitely the way that Forman used description so beautifully. Every scene I could picture very clearly in my head, which made the disturbing scenes even more terrifying and the heart wrenching more likely to spark the waterworks. Oh yeah, that's another thing. Don't read this book without a whole box of tissues right at your side. Chocolate wouldn't hurt either. :-)


I would have to say that If I Stay is one of my favorite YA Contemp reads of the last few months. I adored the characters....I mean, Mia herself is such a unique girl to YA scene with "pretty girls with pretty problems" but in the long run, she is typical HS school.....well compared the vast majority of kids I teach, she fits into the norm. I loved the fact that she broke out of her rock band family mode to take up the cello. However normal she may seem, the dilemma she faces is nothing of the sort. It's very cool the way the novel is told because you almost get to put yourself in Mia's place every moment from the good to the bad, the highs and lows. You get to know her family, her friends, her boyfriend, and that makes what has happened even more tragic, so that one moment the choice might seem easy and the next minute it's gut wrenching! So, I would highly recommend this book!!

Have you read If I Stay? What are your favorite parts of the story? Leave us a comment! Next month we have chosen Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver so be sure to grab it and read it.


Karla Nellenbach said...

This was my favorite book on my May reading list! It was so beautifully written and achingly sweet. I LOVED the family dynamic and how her parents and brother were so front and center in her life (not something normally found in YA but it should be), and I loved Adam, too. Quite a tearjerker. A must-read for anyone!

Lisa_Gibson said...

I loved this book. An emotional roller coaster to be sure.

Meredith said...

I made the mistake of reading this book on a bus. Which meant I was crying in public by the end of it. I definitely agree that reading about a happy family was a refreshing change of pace, and I just loved this book.

J.S. Wood said...

I find it interesting that everyone I know who've read it like the family dynamics. It makes me want to revise my first mss because the family was wonderful and the MC so sane. My other works are unfortunately lacking in the wholesome area, but we have to be true to our characters. I keep saying I'll one day write something with a functional family relationship but it never happens.