Book Review: If I stay by Gayle Foreman


Adam is crying and somewhere inside of me I am crying too, because I’m feeling things at last. I’m feeling not just the physical pain, but all I that I have lost, an it is profound and catastrophic and will leave a crater in me that nothing will ever fill. But I’m also feeling all that I have in my life, which includes what I have lost, as well as the great unknown of what life might still bring me. And it’s all too much. The feelings pile up, threatening to crack my chest wide open. The only way to survive them is to concentrate on Adam’s hand. Grasping mine.

And suddenly I just need to hold his hand more than I’ve needed anything in this world. Not just held by it, but hold it back. I aim every remaining ounce of energy into my right hand. I’m weak, and this is so hard. It’s the hardest thing I will ever have to do. I summon all the love I have ever felt, I summon all the strength that Gran and Gramps and Kim and the nurses and Willow have given me. I summon all the breath Mon, Dad, Teddy would fill me with if they could. I picture my hand stroking Teddy’s hair, grasping a bow poised above my cello, interlaced with Adam’s

And then I squeeze.

I slump back, spent, unsure of whether I just did what I did. Of what it means. If it registered. If it matters.

But then I feel Adam’s grip tighten, so that the grasp of his hand feels like it is holding my entire body. Like it could lift me up right out of this bed. And then I hear the sharp intake of his breath followed by the sound of his voice. It’s the first time today I can truly hear him.

“Mia?” he asks.  


Title: If I Stay 

Author: Gayle Foreman

Category: Fiction/ YA 

‘If I Stay was the second read we’ve had in The Read Club, (an online twitter book club where discussions take place every Sunday at 20:00hrs GMT +1) this month of May.

The book is narrated from the first point of view by a seventeen year old girl who’s born in a loving and admirable family, closely knitted that makes one fantasize and desire to have something similar. Mia is a gifted cellist player who’s been presented an opportunity to attend the prestigious Julliard following her talent and passion in music, something she picked from her father who was a musician but later resigned to pursue teaching.

Things take a turnaround for Mia and her family when they embark on a drive to a family friends house on a snowy morning. An oncoming track hits them and her parents die on the spot. Teddy, Mia’s little brother survives but later succumbs and dies when receiving treatment. Mia goes into a comma and the rest of the story is narrated by Mia’s soul; standing between a rock and a hard place. Weighing between staying for the sake of her boyfriend, her relatives, best friend Kim or join her family. It’s a horrendous situation which I wouldn’t even wish upon my worst enemy.

When Adam, Mia’s boyfriend pays her visit and beg her to stay, Mia makes a decision to fight to stay and readers are left to believe that she indeed wakes up in the last page of the book (see excerpt).

‘If I stay’ is a first paced book which can be read in one sitting amidst fighting back tears. The book has been adopted to a movie starring Chloe Grace Moretz, and was released in 2014 which am yet to watch. Shame! I think I’ll find it sometime when am over all the emotions that are bottled up in my heart after reading three heart wrenching books back to back.

‘If I stay’ is an interesting book for not only YA readers but everyone looking forward to read a small brief book touching on subjects to deal with music, family and love. You’ll love the selection of words and flow of the story how the author categorizes the chapters, which I believe Gayle gave her best shot by not overstretching it to a book of 300 pages.

Have you read the book? Have you watched the movie?




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