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on 15 February 2015
This book kept popping up on online discussions so I followed the hype and gave it a go. It's a well written, emotional story about Mia, a teenager from a cool (as we're constantly reminded), loving family. As a talented musician, Mia is on the cusp of being accepted to the music school of her dreams, when a car crash changes everything.

Mia suddenly finds herself outside her body at the roadside, watching the paramedics give her life saving treatment for her multiple injuries; she is then able to follow herself to the hospital. She moves around the hospital like a real, but invisible, person watching what goes on in the operating theatre, visiting room and intensive care. She gets the sense that it is up to her to make the choice between staying or going, and we follow her emotional journey as she observes her visitors and thinks back on events in her life.

Despite the subject matter, this is a gentle read in a flowing style that is flawlessly edited - but the fact that I kept putting it down and read three other books in between snatches of this one is indicative that it just didn't hold my attention. To be honest I found the aspects of Mia's life that she reflected back on just too ordinary and mundane. Her relationship with her boyfriend Adam was also rather, yes...boring and ordinary. I can look around me to see ordinary; in a book I want to see a spark and something special.

The fact that there is a sequel now rather gives away the ending, but after ploughing through endless stories from Mia's life, the actual ending of the book was quick and abrupt - and a bit of a cop out, if I'm honest - especially considering that my kindle was still only registering it was 78% of the way through - and I practically did a double take when I realised it was over.

I have read some reviews which suggest that the sequel is actually a better story than this, so I may well give it a go.
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on 24 November 2015
All of the bad feelings I felt from the abrupt ending of If I Stay were erased with Where She Went.

I loved that this book was written from Adam's POV. It was nice to get his thoughts and feelings and understand where he was coming from. The book is set three years after If I Stay and it's amazing to catch up and learn what has happened. I fell in love with Adam (and Mia) all over again. It's one hell of a ride he takes you on and every minute is worth it. His journey is one that will stay with you long after the story has ended. The way him and Mia fall into each others lives again is beautiful and the journey they take together is mesmerizing and full of emotion, it will have you completely sucked in and feeling all of what's happening on the pages. I was actually really sad it ended but I am very glad I read these books.

Gayle did an outstanding job writing these books. She captures the raw emotions the characters are feeling and dealing with. She writes an amazing story that captivates and holds your attention right through the book. I am very glad i picked up these books and after mixed emotions from the end of If I Stay I am well and truly in love.
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on 5 February 2015
If I Stay follows the life changing 24 hours after Mia and her family get into a devastating car accident. Her parents died at the scene and her little brother Teddy is in critical condition and Mia is floating somewhere inbetween life and death – unable to feel anything but can see everything – including her own body on the operating table. As Mia flashes back through her life – the good, the bad and everything inbetween – she has to make the most important decision of all. To stay or not.

Chances are you’ve either read the book, seen the film or both but as always, I’m 200 years late to the party and only just got around to reading it and truthfully, I wasn’t as blown away as I was expecting to be – considering all the brilliant reviews I’ve read about this book. The storyline was right up my street – I loved the idea and concept of this teenage girl going through the most traumatic experience then having to make the most unspeakably courageous decision but I felt there could have been more substance and unfortunately, felt like it fell a bit flat.

I loved the parts of the story in which Mia was describing what it was like being in the hospital, seeing her own body and her relatives however the flashbacks I did struggle with. Mia is an avid cello player and adores classical music and I erm, well… don’t. Absolutely no offence to anyone who does, but having to read about something which doesn’t interest you at all can get a bit tedious! This unfortunately led me to not feeling connected with the characters as much as I should have and although they were all well developed I found myself not caring that much.

Despite all that though, I can completely see why this book is so popular. It was exceptionally easy to read and I managed to read over 3/4 of it in a day. However, I think my expectations were probably too high which led me to feel a bit deflated by the whole thing by the end. I’m a huge YA fan but I don’t think If I Stay was for me.
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on 30 September 2014
I went into this story completely blind. I didn't even read the synopsis or watched any of the trailers for the movie... how good am I? lol. All I knew of this book was that there was a whole lot of hype surrounding it and a few of my friends had read it and expressed their love for it. So in I dived, totally unprepared for what was I letting myself in for.

"If I Stay" was like nothing I had ever read before. It was so unique and so beautiful. I laughed. I cried. Sometimes I laughed and cried at the same time and sometimes I cried real, ugly, gut wrenching tears. This is a story that I will never forget.

Mia had a wonderful life. She had an amazing family, a gorgeous boyfriend and a promising future ahead of her. Life was good until one snowy day everything changed. As tragedy struck, Mia's life would never be the same again. Everything she had known was gone and she was left with one choice. The most difficult and heart wrenching choice she would ever have to make.

"If I Stay" was beautifully written and was told entirely from Mia's POV and as the story progressesd and Mia was contemplated her decision, I was given flashbacks chronicling her life. I got to know the most important people in Mia's life and all of her memorable events. I was truly lost in this story, it captivated me from the first page. For those few hours of reading, I was in Mia's life, watching it all play out through Mia's eyes.

It was impossible not to love every single one of the characters in this story. Firstly there was Mia. Mia wasn't just a normal seventeen year old girl. Yes, she had the normal teenage problems, she felt the same fears and anxieties as I'm sure every teenager deals with but there was something special about her. I couldn't put my finger on what it was, maybe it was because she just didn't realize how special she was. Mia was a joy to know.

I loved Mia's parents. They were so cool. They were the kind of parents that every teenager would want. Mia's brother "Teddy" was just adorable and I loved his relationship with Mia. I also loved the grandparents who played a big part in her life. There was one particular scene with Mia and her grandfather that just broke my heart. Have the tissues ready for that part!

I loved reading the delightful banter between all of the family members. It was easy to imagine how happy this family were and how close they were. Mia's family was so loving and shared a strong bond. You could feel the love pouring from the pages.

Of course, I cannot forget Adam who was just so sweet. Together Mia and Adam shared such a special relationship. Reading all of their tender moments was such a pleasure.

I loved every single thing about this book. I cannot recommend it enough. It is a must read and now I cannot wait for the film. I'm sure there will be tears!

"If I Stay" is the first book in the series and although it doesn't end in a cliffhanger I felt that I was left with a huge amount of questions that I needed answering so I am off to read the next book.
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on 25 July 2014
Read the full review at: http://polkadotbookblog.blogspot.com/2014/07/if-i-stay.html

If I Stay is a gorgeous book that deals with death, family, love, and grief so as you can tell it is quite a complex novel that deals with complex issues that all happen between a really short time period. There are a lot of things that really move me about this story. I didn't know what was coming next and it kept me on the edge of my toes the entire way through.
The story in this novel is utterly heartrendingly beautiful. The way it is told as well is quite unique, I certainly haven't read anything where it skips from present time to random but relevant flashbacks as you read more about the characters. Yet even with the flashbacks the pace and the flow of the book was never interrupted, never slow and plodding along through the story.

And if for any reason you did not particularly like the story there is not a shadow of a doubt that you won't love the characters. The family dynamic in the book is amazingly sweet and adoring. The romantic relationship is so strong and loving that even though you don't get to be there at the beginning of it I got a real feel of how caring and in love they were and felt for each other. But another loving part is the friendships and how real they sounded. It was beautiful.

All in all there is not a thing that I found wrong or did not like about this book. Everything about it was heart-breakingly and breathlessly beautiful. I could not put it down and I can not wait to read the sequel and find out if love really is strong enough to survive their grief and troubles. It was a touchingly gorgeous read that had me switching from crying rivers to cheshire cat smiling throughout.
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on 5 February 2015
I knew this was a teen book from the off but still I thought it'd be worth a read as the story sounded interesting; a girl on the brink of death with seemingly nothing to live for after a tragic accident and she gets to choose whether or not she "stays". I could not have been more disappointed. This book couldve been really good. But the book was filled with pointless back stories that in no way related to what was happening. The conversations between the parents and their children weren't at all realistic and to be honest were just cheesy and cringe-worthy! The thing that stood out for me the most though was the sheer lack of emotion from the lead character! Her parents and brother killed in a tragic accident and the most emotion shown was what can only be described as a mild panic when she realises her brother has also gone. I don't normally put spoilers in my reviews but this book was so poor and so short that it's really not worth bothering with!
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on 26 March 2014
I read 'If I Stay' after it was mentioned in a review of 'Before I Fall' by Lauren Oliver by one of my Goodreads friends. As I enjoyed 'Before I Fall' I thought I would try this one out as the stories were slightly similar although different enough so that they couldn't be compared to each other.

This is the story of Mia, who one morning is involved in a head on collision with a truck whilst in a car with her Mum, Dad and little brother Teddy. Her Mum and Dad are killed instantly and Mia is left wondering throughout most of the book whether Teddy survived or not. She has an out of body experience for the next 24 hours as she follows her body to the hospital and has to decide whether she stays and faces the heartbreaking loss of her family or if she follows them to wherever they went.

The book is full of memories as Mia thinks back to certain events in her life that put her on the path that she was on and memories of her family, her best friend Kim and boyfriend Adam. Mia has a lot to look forward to at the start of this book. We come to find out a lot about her history and possible future - she auditioned for Julliard University in New York as an accomplished cellist and was almost guaranteed a place, her boyfriend Adam is on the verge of hitting it big with his band and she's unsure of how they'll be able to continue their relationship if she's in New York and he's on the other side of the country. We learn about her parent's musical past and how they met - we even get to delve into the day her brother was born, the time she spent with her grandparents and her parents best friends Henry & Willow. We see a lot of Willow as she's a nurse and makes her way over to the hospital to check on Mia and her condition.

This book makes you think - what if I was in this same situation. Would I stay? Her life isn't bad, in fact it's pretty good considering. But can she stay in a world where her parents are dead and maybe her brother too? Would it hurt too much, would it be better to be with them if that's even possible. Will everyone be OK if she doesn't make it - what will hanging on to do them if there are complications? It all comes down to love. The love she has for her family, her friends and her boyfriend - which will have the strongest pull.

I loved the explanation behind the story at the end of the book. Gayle Forman drew on her own tragic experience where she knew of a family that this actually happened to and that shone through in the writing. This beautifully written, and in the first person namely Mia. To hear her trying to make the impossible decision you get that she is only 17 years old. We can see the uncertainty of what could lie ahead for her dependent on the choice she makes. You become invested in her process and until the choice was made I did not know what she was going to do. I started to put myself in her place and felt so much empathy for her and her family.

They are in the process of making this into a film and it should be released in August - looking forward to see how they adapt this one.
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on 10 September 2014
Oh, dear Lord!
Why do I always cry at books, at the most beautifully-sad endings ever?
Wow. Gayle Foreman has done a fantastic job. She is immensely great at writing from a guy's POV. Really great.
This book, the sequel to If I Stay, was a rollercoaster of emotions. One minute I was in hysterics and then the next I was a blubbering mess.
Adam and Mia's relationship is so delicate and fragile, and yet so impossibly strong and unmoving. Their story fascinates me beyond belief. I love how they found common ground over music. Relationships as such don't exist in reality, so it was really beautiful to witness Adam and Mia connect over music.
There was one point nearing the end where I just started saying "No, no, no, no," over and over again. I genuinely thought that was it for the two of them and that it was the end of the road. I thought Gayle Foreman had surprised me by ruining everything I'd hoped for the reunioned couple.
I won't say anymore to avoid spoilers, other than this is one of my favourite books of all time.
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on 5 January 2013
The last time I read a book at the end of a 24 hour read-a-thon it was a fun read but nothing mind blowing. And when I'm getting to the stage of needing to prop my eyes open with toothpicks, I choose books that I think will be a quick, easy read. Although If I Stay was a quick read, it wasn't necessarily an easy one....

If I Stay is a book that seemed simple when I read the synopsis - but within the first few pages I realised that this would be a book that I loved - Mia's family are simply fantastic, and I loved that she wanted to be with them as much as possible. Their banter, their personalities and their bond as a family really had them under my skin. And throughout her tragedy, and her inner fight, flashbacks to her life before the accident, both with her family, and with the boy she loves, really cemented all the characters into my heart. The scene with her grandfather in the hospital particularly got to me.

As a character I really liked that Mia was different from the stereotypical YA heroine - with a passion for music, for her family and a not-always-perfect relationship, it was easy to like her and to sympathise with her story.

Emotional, compelling, touching, I enjoyed If I Stay so much that I immediately bought the sequel, Where She Went, on Kindle and read it all in the same sitting.
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VINE VOICEon 23 June 2014
"Dying is easy. Living is hard."

A terrible car accident leaves Mia orphaned, and she is forced to make a tough decision: is life worth it?

I was surprised to find that this is marketed for teens, and I think it's a bit hard-hitting for a younger audience, and many adults are missing out on a great read due to this marketing, which is a shame. Just because the protagonist is 17 doesn't make it a kids book!

This is such an interesting concept and was done perfectly. It could so easily have gone awry and been too drawn out, so even though I was sad that it was only 200 pages, it felt a right length for it, and any more would have dragged it out too long, especially since the book takes place over just 24 hours.

I also really liked that you didn't full discover her choice, so you could choose yourself, although I think the sequel probably answers those questions.

overall a great read, for adults and teens!
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