If I Stay/Gayle Forman Read Along – Weeks 3 & 4

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Hey, Read Along-ers! Sorry for my disappearing act last week… As you may or may not know, I’ve been in the process of moving and I literally hadn’t read for a full week so I was behind in the Gayle Forman Read Along. All is well now this week though and I’m BACK with both weeks three and four, wrapping up the read along for IF I STAY!

Haven’t signed up for the read along yet? Don’t worry! You can still join us for IF I STAY or any of the other three books left on the GFRA!

QUESTIONS: WEEK 3

There are several themes in If I Stay. Two that are very prevalent are sacrifice and choice. How do you think these themes affect the characters? Give an example of each and what you think about them (if you can).
Mia’s whole situation right now is sacrifice and choice… If she chooses to stay and live, she will be without her whole family but the strongest thing I took away from the book was when Kim told her that (and I’m sorry, this is an inaccurate quote…) all the people — friends, relatives, some related some not — waiting outside for her still loved her and she STILL had a family. God, I just immediately burst into tears. That was so incredibly touching. Yes, she loses her immediate family but she does gain a TON of support.
Okay, this is week four, but I’m using it anyway. Adam has a serious talk with Mia saying that he loves her and he knows she’s suffering so he’ll understand if she needs to go but gosh darnit, he begs her to stay. Even still, Adam and Mia’s grandfather as well give her permission to go if she needs to go. If she wants to go.

Although Mia’s family has died, Kim mentions that she still has a family. What does this mean to you? What does “family” mean in your opinion?
Oh my gosh, that one line just — well, I was gonna say killed me, but that’s a poor choice of words. “Family” can mean so many things. Mia has lost what she knows as her immediate family but she still has her grandparents, her aunts, and her friends. Family extends far beyond the traditional meaning of the word. Sometimes your friends can be the best kind of family. Some people end up marrying their best friends and then they start a new family.

What does Adam’s act of putting the headphones on Mia suggest about their relationship?
They have a huge connection of music between the two of them. They’ve got a relationship that revolves around music and really connects them on such a different level. The headphones is sort of an Adam thing. “I’m here.”

Adam and Mia have an unconditional love. Could you make a case against this? What are some examples that you’ve read so far that could support this (if possible)?
Oh, I love their relationship! It’s so pure and so lovely. This is one of my favorite relationships in YA because it also feels so mature and it always has. I loved how Mia’s mother told her that she fell in love too young and Mia almost interprets this as she’s not ready for a relationship but her mother clarifies… What Mia and Adam have is very real and they fell in love too young because this is just a hard time in their lives to figure everything out.

Has your opinion or initial thoughts about this changed? If so, how?
I actually feel very differently about the book, but this is because it’s a re-read. Okay, no. I shouldn’t say very differently. Re-reading the book is actually really different because I was so surprised by everything as I was reading. This time around, I was lacking the element of surprise to add to the depth of the book but I was still very moved and very touched by everything that was going on.

QUESTIONS: WEEK 4

“Amazing things happen when you stop hiding behind that hulking beast.” What is the significance of this statement that Mia is told at music camp? Are there any examples of her not hiding behind her cello that result in amazing things?
I actually don’t even remember haha. I think it was just that Mia is capable of great things when she stops hiding behind her cello and starts taking ownership for what she’s really capable of. She really has to put herself out there, push herself, and take a couple risks and it seems like those risks really turn into rewards for Mia.

Mia laments to her mom about the changes that are coming for her and Adam – college, musical success, moving – and her mom states that 17 is an inconvenient time to be in love. Do you agree? Disagree? Why?
Whoops, I talked about this in week 3’s questions. That’s what happens when I read too much at once! I can totally agree with that — the time right before college is a terribly hard time to be in love and decide whether you want to put tons of work into that relationship or let it fizzle. You’re young. So how far do you go to hold the relationship together? Are you too young to put that much work into it? Is there such a thing?
Then again, love isn’t easy. Pretty much any time in your life you fall in love, there will be big obstacles. I almost said to “test” it but I really hate when people talk about testing love haha. Just a weird peeve of mine. Love will be put to the test, so to speak, at any point in someone’s life. It all just depends on how you handle it.

The last part of the book foreshadows Mia and Adam’s future relationship. If you haven’t read Where She Went, do you think it’s heading a good direction? If you have read Where She Went, does rereading this book give you a better understanding of their relationship in the sequel?
I had a lot of hope for Adam & Mia at the end of IF I STAY when I first finished. I was actually kind of upset and confused with WSW because I wasn’t given an immediate answer HAHA.

So… last week I asked about the headphones and realized I jumped the gun. Feel free to answer that one now.
Oh, haha! See, I answered weeks three and four at the same time so I wasn’t quite sure. See above? LOL

What’s been your favorite part thus far about this read-along? Feel free to include any fun moments, any new bloggers you’ve met, etc.
I’ve just enjoyed re-reading. I’ve wanted to ever since I first read the book. In a way, I feel a little sad because the original read was SO magical that I didn’t want to do it a disservice by re-reading. I wouldn’t say that I did that, but I didn’t enjoy it quite as much. I think the shock factor was missing and knowing what happens, it wasn’t quite as emotional but I still really, really enjoyed it!

THANK YOU so much to Candice at The Grown-Up YA for hosting the IF I STAY leg of the read along! Alexa from Alexa Loves Books will be hosting WHERE SHE WENT starting TOMORROW!

2 thoughts on “If I Stay/Gayle Forman Read Along – Weeks 3 & 4

  1. Maggie @ Just a Couple More Pages

    Until you mentioned it I forgot how angry I was the first time I read WHere She Went. I was outraged that Mia could leave someone as amazing as Adam. I agree that knowing that Teddy dies and Mia survives and how it all happens takes away some of the magic, but I still cried while re-reading and I also felt like I got more insight into Adam and Mia’s relationship. Thanks again for coming up with the idea for this and setting it up, I’m really enjoying it!

  2. Candice

    Yay! I agree that probably what makes If I Stay so great is that shock factor. It’s an emotional roller coaster. It hasn’t been quite as fun re-reading it because some of those things are gone.

    While I hated they weren’t together in Where She Went, I do understand how the relationship could fall apart after what Mia went through. I love seeing this relationship developed to an adult relationship!

    Thanks again for hosting this read-along! 🙂

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