Publishing Info: April 2, 2009 by Penguin
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: August 11, 2013
Related Posts: If I Stay (If I Stay #1), Where She Went (If I Stay #2), Just One Day (Just One Day #1), Sisters in Sanity, Where She Went (If I Stay #2), Just One Day (Just One Day #1), Just One Night (Just One Day #2.5), I Was Here, Leave Me, I Have Lost My Way
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.
Gayle Forman is one of my all-time favorite authors and also a great writing inspiration. The beauty and emotion captured in her books are the reason I started the Gayle Forman Read Along… Well that and I needed a good excuse to re-read all of them because I’ve been meaning to do so ever since I finished JUST ONE DAY.
Re-reading IF I STAY was an interesting experience. I was really glad I got to share it with the people on the read along because there were some people reading not only IF I STAY for the first time, but any of Gayle Forman’s books for the first time! It was just really great to see them experience that. But also, one of my main fears of re-reading was that I wasn’t going to like it as much as my first read. While that kind of ended up happening in a way, I also fell in love with the book all over again.
It’s true that I didn’t enjoy IF I STAY as much as when I first read it. On my first read, I was simply blown away. It was the first Gayle Forman book I ever read and of course the beauty of her writing just swept me away, but I also think (and have discussed with other read along-ers!) that part of the reason I wasn’t as amazed on the re-read is because I knew exactly what was coming in Mia’s story. The initial read has a sort of suspense whether Mia will choose to stay or go, the surprise of the initial accident, and just little moments that a first-time reader isn’t expecting. I think all of those elements on a first read really makes the book amazing. It’s still gorgeous and heartbreaking and bittersweet the second time around, but those little surprises really make up a sizable chunk of a “wow factor” for this book.
Some things that I was able to pick up on my re-read that I hadn’t on my first read: a small little hint at SISTERS IN SANITY! Mia makes a mention of a Portland band called Clod which was Brit’s band in SISTERS IN SANITY. I absolutely loved that because so much of SISTERS IN SANITY reminded me of IF I STAY. Obviously I had no idea on my first read since I only read SIS a couple months ago so I really, really enjoyed how those two books tied together! Very clever, Gayle!
I also think that already knowing the ending of the book helped me slow down and really get into the characters and their relationships. Whenever I get excited about the end of a book, I have this really bad habit where I can’t help but rush through what I’m reading to get to the end and see what the future holds in store for our characters. This being a re-read, the ending wasn’t a surprise to me so I really got to take my time and cherish the relationships that were blossoming as others ended, revel in Mia’s pain and sadness, observe things about characters and the setting that I hadn’t noticed before… I just really got to take in a lot more detail!
Um, HI — this also helped me rekindle my love of ADAM WILDE. Gayle……. thank you for Adam. I’ve already started the re-read of WHERE SHE WENT and I am SO in love with Adam. Of course, that’s a discussion for another day, but all of IF I STAY just really helped me remember how much I loved him and what a shame it was that I almost forgot!
If you haven’t read IF I STAY and WHERE SHE WENT yet, I highly recommend picking them up! They both instantly made me a Gayle Forman fan for life and will always hold a special place in my heart.
Mia Hall // Character Obsessions: Cello, spending time with her family, Adam Wilde.
Mia is such an interesting character for me. We get to know her (and her family) mostly through flashback stories as Mia is ultimately deciding whether to stay or to “go”. I feel like she’s two totally different people from before the accident and then after, which actually seems pretty natural considering what she went through (and sorry, I’m jumping there, already putting what I know from WHERE SHE WENT into play). She’s definitely always been a strong person, but there was always a little factor of doubt in her abilities and self-confidence. I think the accident changes her in the sense that she’s forced to appreciate what she has right in front of her (although that’s a bad way to put it because Mia really was always appreciative of her family) and not to let her self-doubt get in the way of anything she really wants.
Adam Wilde // Character Obsessions: Guitar, Shooting Star, music, Mia.
ADAM. Oh, Adam. He’s such a wonderful boyfriend to Mia and I absolutely melt when he interacts with Mia’s family, especially her younger brother Teddy. I love how he’s this edgy, almost-rock-star and he’s totally in love with a more conservative classical musician. They just fit together so well and their love of music really does bring them closer. I especially love that WHERE SHE WENT is from Adam’s perspective and… Well, we’ll get there!
Kept Me Hooked On: Gayle Forman. Oh, Gayle. I always love your books! I loved re-reading what made me first fall in love with Gayle Forman’s writing and lead to one of the ultimate book boyfriends, Adam Wilde!
Left Me Wanting More: Eh, not fair to say, but wow-factor. The re-read obviously wasn’t holding many surprises the second time around, but that’s purely because it’s a re-read!
BUY IT… NOW!
Oh, you guys know I could gush about Gayle Forman forever. Just do me a favor and buy IF I STAY and WHERE SHE WENT.