30 May 2011

Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Cover of If I Stay by Gayle Forman Title: If I Stay (If I Stay #1)
Author: Gayle Forman
Publication Date: 2 April 2009
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Source: Library
Summary (courtesy of goodreads.com):
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 heartachingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make—and the ultimate choice Mia commands.
This is one of those books that you start to read and don't put down until you're finished.  Unfortunately I started to read it at 10:00PM and had read myself to sleep by midnight.  The first hundred and some pages that I had read up to that point literally haunted my dreams until I gave in and woke up at 5:00AM to finish it.  There are very, very few books that I would give up sleeping in until noon on a Saturday to read, much less get up at five in the morning for.

The first chapter of this book left me dreading what I knew was to come.  Mia's family is so entertaining and dynamic that you can't help but want to just stop there and pretend that by not reading the rest of the book you can prevent what happens and they can just go on with their happy, fictional lives.  But once I let what happens, you know, happen, I was mesmerized and could not put the book down until it literally fell out of my hands (onto my face, by the way) when I fell asleep.  I had to know Mia's choice and I was prepared to accept it and understand it no matter what it was.

That said, the book ended rather abruptly for me and I literally sat up in bed and said (out loud, apparently to the cats), "That's it?!"  This was partly my fault, because I hadn't realized that the last fifty pages of this edition were an Author Q&A, and thus I was prepared to be dragged by my heartstrings through those fifty remaining pages.  So because I was expecting the ending to take longer, I was a little disappointed that the events leading up to Mia's ultimate choice seemed so quickly rushed through.  I expected it to take a little more substance for Mia to definitively say this is my choice and this is what I'm going to do, rather than it being an oh here you go, now everything's better moment.  Which isn't to say that I didn't like the ending, or love the book, but it just, you know, bothered me.  Or something.

My biggest complaint about this book isn't even about this book.  It's about the blurb on the cover saying it's for fans of Twilight.  That's like saying "HEY YOU!  YEAH, YOU!  YOU KNOW WHAT?  DON'T READ ME!!!" to me.  And honestly, what do this book and Twilight have in common?  Seriously?  Anybody?  Yeah, that's what I said.


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