Friday, July 1, 2011

Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Pages: Hardcover, 197 pages
Publisher: Dutton

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 heart-achingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make - and the ultimate choice Mia commands.

I have to admit that this book has been on my shelf for quite a while but I just haven’t gotten around to reading it. I have no clue why now. This novel was so beautifully written that I could not put it down for fear that I would miss something or get out of the zone. The accident changes Mia’s life in ways seventeen year olds rarely experience and she is forced with the decision of a lifetime… literally.

I couldn’t get away from the plot of the novel or the characters. Mia’s character was so well written that readers will feel as if she is a real person and a friend you are reading about. Mia introduces us to the other characters in the novel with her flashbacks and allows us to see into her life before the accident. Her parents have to be the most laid back parents ever but we find out why that is… they are a product of the music! I loved them. I could picture her little brother so vividly with his bouncy personality and blond curls. Mia also points out that she is different from them in many ways (from the dark hair to the classical music) but knows that there is a bond between her family that supersedes all of those differences.

As a writing teacher I am constantly reading to pull examples to show my students what good writing is. This is a novel my students will be seeing quite a bit of next year. Forman’s creative use of word choice creates characters whom are beyond real, a plot which is unlike any I have read before and shows how relationships play a definite role in our lives. Take a look at this portion:

The car is eviscerated. The impact of a four-ton pickup truck going sixty miles an hour plowing straight into the passenger side had the force of an atom bomb. It tore off the doors, sent the front-side passenger seat through the driver’s-side window. It flipped the chassis, bouncing it across the road and ripped the engine apart as if it were no stronger than a spiderweb. It tossed wheels and hubcaps deep into the forest. It ignited bits of the gas tank, so that now tiny flames lap at the wet road. p. 13

The imagery, figurative language and pure beauty of this section are astounding as are the rest of the novel.

Luckily, I have the second novel in the series right on my shelf (and actually I already started reading it) and will see where the story takes me next. I cannot wait.

Visit Gayle HERE and follow her on twitter (@gayleforman). You can also visit the site for the novel HERE.

1 comment:

Bookish in a Box said...

I finished this last week and thought it was absolutely, mind-boggling-ly fantastic. Books usually don't make much of an emotional impression, but If I Stay definitely did.

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