Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Book Review [☆☆] If I stay. Gayle Forman


I've started reading the novel If I Stay by Gayle Forman, expecting it to be something completely different. Maybe because of all the great reviews I've seen, or the high Goodreads ratings, but my expectations for this book were higher than average. What can I say, now that I've finished it?

First of all let me say, that I'm happy to finally have finished a book after my long reading slump. And I can understand, why so many people like it. The story was nicely written and emotionally satisfying, but not for me.

You see, I like stories that make sense. I mean logically. Someone once asked me, what my superpower would be, if I had one. I replied - logic. I like books, that like puzzles gradually fall into one picture. No matter the genre. It can be a fantasy novel or a romance. Even when the story ends with a cliffhanger, if the author gives me enough hints and strings to tie together, so that I could still finish the course of events in my mind, I will like it.

If I stay sort of finished with a cliffhanger ending, but I'm guessing that's because it has a sequel. But the story itself had a lot of moments, that to me didn't make much sense.

This story is about a girl Mia, who's very different from other girls. She's a passionate musician and all her life revolves around music. Funny thing is that Mia is surrounded by musicians, but even there she stands out from the crowd. Her father, family friends and even her boyfriend Adam are all hardcore rock musicians and punks, whereas Mia has devoted her life to classical music and the cello.

When we first see Mia, great changes are about to happen in her life. She's expecting a letter from Juilliard, a conservatory in New York. Her parents try to get her mind off that letter, so they all decide to go visit some friends, since it's a snow day and they don't have anything else to do. On their way to their friend's house the family gets into a car accident. Suddenly Mia finds herself standing out in the road. She notices the wrecked car and injured bodies lying on the cold asphalt - her parents' and... her own.

We follow Mia to the hospital, where she spends the next night,  reminiscing everything that has happened in her life so far, trying to figure out how to "stay", wondering if she even wants to stay.

So that is the general idea of this story. What I liked about it is that there were no "follow the white light" or conversations with spirits. Something that I almost expected, when I realised where the story was going. But there were so many little moments, that I found really annoying. I wouldn't really mind them if they weren't repeatedly dumped into the plotline.

The next two paragraphs might be filled with spoilers! Why? Why were all the family members, friends and first of all the boyfriend so obsessed with the idea of marching into the ICU and saying their own version of the 'message' that supposedly was to bring Mia back? Convince her to stay? Because obviously the only reason she couldn't decide whether to stay or not, was because someone didn't say the "magic word". No-no-no. That was just silly.

There were some other little episodes that bugged me, but this particular obsession with having a parade or a concert in the middle of the ICU was just not right. I got the feeling that they weren't doing it for Mia, but for themselves. There was one particular moment, which made me furious. It was when Adam the boyfriend said "Don't make me write a song". It might sound romantic and metaphorical (no, not really), but I felt that it was cruel. There is an episode, which explains this part, but the reasoning still was not good enough. It was as if they were trying to pull the blanket to their side. But it's not about them. She's not dead yet.


In counclusion If I Stay by Gayle Forman was an okay read, but not something I would care about enough to re-read. And I still haven't decided if I want to read the sequel. Maybe. I don't know. I'll let you know, if I do. <3

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