If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Seventeen year old Mia has many things to be thankful for.  She has an adoring and sweet boyfriend, a pretty exciting career in music and a possible scholarship to Julliard.  She was a loving family – one that she actually likes to spend time with… and a snow day, where everyone is at home and a road trip is in the making – well that’s just icing on the cake.

And then in an instant…

it is all gone.

A tragic accident leaves Mia in a state of in between…. as she sees the devastation before her and an unsure future, Mia has really, only one decision to make….

should she stay?


If I Stay is out Bookies book club read for February.  I was fascinated by the synopsis I detail above, and had a twinge of that Before I Fall feeling, which was so so so so sooooooo good.  Can book lightning strike twice?

If I stay is a book about relationships.  It’s about who we are and who we hope to be… and in some cases, it is about who we were.

As Mia contemplates the life she had, filled with memories of growing up, making pancakes with her mom, school work her dad, watching her baby brother come into this world, and falling in love with the boy she knows she was meant to be with…..all while laying in a coma on a hospital bed hovering between life… and death.

She has to now see if she is strong enough to movie into a future that is so different from what she has known.  Mostly Mia has to ask herself if she is strong enough to move forward, when it seems so much easier just to let it all slip away.

It is hard to review this book without slipping into spoiler after spoiler, so if my thoughts here seem…. cryptic, it is intentional.   I found this book to be a fast read that really did not fully impact me until after I was finished… now I sit here and the question lies on my lips…

what would I have done if I had to choose?

This book is real.  This book is powerful and fans of YA will enjoy the highly emotional roller coaster of Mia’s life – before, during…. and after.


This was our February book pick for the bookies book club.  We brought food over to Kaydi’s house and potlucked over our discussion.  We try to theme the food to the book, but in this case as the entire book is centered around Mia and Mia in mainly in the hospital unconscious… there was not a lot of food opportunity.  However…  never fear – as Amy was wise enough to bring jello…. a hospital staple.  😛

The book brought up many conversations on music ( a beautiful piece about this book is that it is surrounded with music – the whole family is associated to it and Mia and Adam both play instruments… we even listened to one of the songs from the book called Girl friend in a Coma by the Smiths.  (seriously that’s the name of the song).

We closed up our meeting with the final question that really is what sums up the book…. what would you have done?  If your entire family is killed in a car accident and you are the only survivor… do you fight to live… or do you just … let go.  This part of the discussion turned deep as mixed opinions – all highly understandable were brought to the surface as well as personal memories that brought the entire Bookies to tears.  It amazes me how all of us seen to carry something – no matter how many years it has been, that brings these emotions to the surface in a blink of an eye… a trigger word or phrase.

Here is something I love LOVE about book club.  We can take an average read such as this one – a likable read yes, but not over the top… and we can review to the point that I feel we leave the book club feeling like we bonded a little more and we all know each other in a deeper way that makes me feel thrilled about the power of a book.

Over all bookies rating (1 – 5) A 3 3/4 rating and a box of Kleenex.


Amazon Rating

The 2011 WHERE Are You Reading map has been updated to include If I Stay

I won this book from the last Dewey read a thon

from I Heart Monster

43 thoughts on “If I Stay by Gayle Forman

    1. The discussion started out light Laurel as what can you talk about when the main character is in a coma the whole book…. but when we turned to questions about the pull of family and friendships the conversation really pleased me with the raw and open honesty.

  1. Glad you liked it. I’ve took personal offense to some of the blog posts that the author posted on her professional blog (she took to calling people who believe like I do some pretty ronche names) so I can’t support her anymore, but I do think that this is a powerful piece of literature.

    Hope you had fun reading it, and will you go see the movie?

    1. Shesten I have heard nothing of the authors name calling…. wow. That is really too bad.

      I am not sure about the movie – we discussed it in book club but wondered how you could make a movie out of such a short read…. I am curious however about all the music references in the book and how that would play out in a movie. 🙂

    1. A 3 rating in book club is an average read. We go on a scale of 1 – 5. I really don’t like rating books as it is so hard (at least for me) to not compare books to similar reads when I rate. My person rating at book club was a 3.5… I found it slightly better than say an average book we pick for book club.

    1. It was a book that made me think about decisions Hannah but a hard one to recommend to friends… its so hard to say what people will think of it although from the comments here seems most people enjoyed the read. 🙂

  2. I loved this book when I read it and I’m so happy that there will be a follow up story with Where She Went, which I need to check and see if it’s out yet, because I need to read it. 🙂 Glad the Bookie’s enjoyed it! I need to start a book club one of these days.

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