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.
©2009 Dutton Juvenile; (P)2009 Penguin
I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!
STORY (fiction) - First let me vent about Audible's rating system. This book is suggested for kids age 8-10. What are they thinking? The main characters are in high school and beyond. There's the vocabulary, with words like churlish, ablution, frenetic and taciturn coming to my mind. Then there's the F-word thrown in a couple times for emphasis. And of course, anyone who's seen the movie trailer might guess the subject matter isn't for children. So I'll get off that soapbox for a while, until Audible screws up the recommendation for another book!
Mia, the main character, is a high school senior with a cute rock star boyfriend named Adam. She plays the cello and hopes to attend Julliard in the fall. Until the accident. Her parents and younger brother are killed and Mia is unconscious with multiple life-threatening injuries. She has an out-of-body experience beginning at the accident scene. She describes the horrific crash as if it's happening in slow motion, she describes the bodies of her family as she finds them, and she describes her own body laying motionless on the ground. As she's moved to the helicopter and finally the hospital, she continues to describe her treatments and the reactions of her loved ones as they arrive.
The book basically alternates between Mia's out-of-body viewpoint and flashbacks of her life, kind of like her life is flashing before her eyes. She realizes that the choice between life and death is in her hands. It's her choice, just like the title of the book, "If I Stay." I won't tell you how the book ends, but be sure to have some Kleenex handy.
PERFORMANCE - Good job. Sometimes I could "feel" the smile in her voice, and her emotional performance during the more serious scenes was convincing as well.
OVERALL - For mature teenagers and adults only, due primarily to the subject matter. There's no sex, but there is an unusual scene where Mia and Adam play each other like instruments. The descriptions at the accident scene are a bit graphic (complete with brain matter on the road), but they don't last long. Some of the flashbacks were a little slow, but I enjoyed the book and plan to see the movie.
This book was recommended by a few different listeners in the YA Audiobook Challenge on either their Goodreads page or blog so I decided to give it a whirl. Plus it is a short book as far as listening goes at a smidgen over 5 hours and since I started the challenge late I needed to catch up by getting as many books in as I possibly could in the beginning (I’m 3 books in now…still behind but definitely catching up!)
I don’t always read more than just the basic little blurb about a book before listening to it and I will basically listen to anything so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
The narrator was great and there was nice musical parts as well. As anyone who listens to books on a regular basis knows, a narrator can make or break a book. I have tried to get through a steamy love story with a ridiculous narrator and just can’t do it. Or, when the author decides to read their own book…not always a good thing. Yeah, Marley and Me, I am talking to you. Sorry but I could.not.listen to that book.
Anyway, the story was great. Not your typical storyline and not a girl-falls-in-love-falls-out-of-love angsty kind of book either. The emotions in this book were real – partially because of the narrator – and it was a little bit of every emotion. I found myself smiling, laughing, cheering, crying, and shocked even. And best of all, it left me wanting MORE. Good thing there is a second book in the series. I haven’t listened to it yet, but I will soon!
Not sure what I was expecting when I first started listening, but the book was absolutely gripping. Different than anything I've ever read, but great and thought provoking.
This is the kind of book that leaves you in shambles when it’s over.
Mia is a gifted musician with plans to go to Julliard. She has wacky but lovable parents who are reformed hippies/musicians themselves and a hipster rocker boyfriend who is paving his way to stardom. She has everything going for her – until she doesn’t.
I spent a good portion of If I Stay waiting for the “good parts” e.g. the part where she wakes up and everyone hugs it out. What I didn’t realize is that it wasn’t necessarily about that. Oh, it was technically about that, but it was more about the means and not the ends.
If I Stay is told in befores and afters. There is no real sequential order to the events in the Befores and it took me some time (possibly because I’m slow like that) to realize, it wasn’t her remembering anything, but literally her life was flashing before her eyes. And that’s when I fell in love with this book. What we think can take moments before death or near-death took her a day, and it’s hard to believe this entire book only progresses over a day when we get to see Mia’s lifetime. We experience her acceptance into Julliard, her first kiss with Adam, her first time in a mosh pit even though she’s a classical musician, the day her baby brother Teddy was born. Meanwhile in the Nows, we experience her realization that her family may have been killed in the collision and she must come to terms while she is in her coma with whether or not she even wants to live. Her experience is truly spine-tingling.
All of the characters were great. I don’t know what else to say about them, except that I wish I had them in my life LOL. They made me laugh, they made me cry, and they felt real to me.
If I Stay is raw emotion. I ripped my heart out and stomped all over it, and left me wanting more. I can’t wait to read the next book in Mia’s story and have my heart broken all over again.
Kirsten Potter was a pretty good narrator. She was on point with voices and inflections and I enjoyed the book told from her perspective. I’ll definitely be looking for more audios by her.
I just finished this book and totally enjoyed it. The author has a wonderful way of writing and great description. I am already looking forward to the next book to see what happens...
This wasn't the longest book I've ever listened to, but it is one that held my interest. Very worth the price/credit to purchase.
British ex-pat living in NC. Have more personalities than Sybil which is reflected in my choice of books! Frustrated writer at heart.
Saw the movie previews and heard the reviews but thought 'YUCK!' This just has to be a bunch of mindless drivel written for the 'texting', gum chewing, generation who will watch or read any old tripe that have 'good looking' Tweenies trying to make a name for themselves!
I was so wrong. My daughter loves to tell me (again and and again) "Do NOT judge a book by its' cover" and as usual she was correct!
I am not saying that this is the great 'American Classic'. However on the other hand I do not think that was Gayle Forman's intention. Perhaps Ms. Forman wants us, her readers, to have a open mind about life and what happens at that moment when we are at the brink of death.
Beautifully and sensitively written. If you are wondering whether this is a religious novel or even an attempt to 'convert' you, well.....you could not be further from the truth.
Kirsten Potter gives us a superb performance. So thoroughly engrossing.
The end took my breath away. I do hope that you take the opportunity to enjoy it.
This was one of the best books I have ever read/listened too. I thought that the narrator did a great job.
so....lets start by saying I DID in fact cry the last 10 minutes of the book and I'm excited for the movie.
However; for whatever reason I couldn't get connected to this book at all. She's in a coma & it's just going back through all the memories which I guess didn't interest me. There is the possibility that I missed some of the "good" stuff because It just didn't have my attention. I really wanted to like this because of the reviews and I saw the trailer for the movie but for me it was just ....boring :(
This is one of those rare audiobooks that just sticks with you. It's so well written and narrated and the story is just so beautiful and sad--A real tear jerker. I found myself tearing up as I listened on the subway.
A must listen!
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