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 had a hard time getting into the story as I felt it very stereotypical because of the plot in itself -with the car accident and girl's out of body experience which are very easy plot lines that you can find written by any creative writing student- but also because of the use flashbacks and the way they are written. I usually am very fond of flashbacks and other literary devices to change the timeline of events but this didn't quite work for me. It was just too much told and not enough shown for my own liking.
But in the end, the performance made it worth it. There were times when the reader really got the emotion across through her voice and these moments were quite nice.
I love the story of this book. I'm an avid reader of young adult literature, and my high school students were all talking about this one, so I thought I'd give it a try. The story was good, but the language is not even close to the way a teenager would think or speak. The author used some really pretentious, complex vocabulary that REALLY took me out of the moment. The narration added to this at times- I had trouble getting through the first part of the book. Mia's parents read as the archetype, exaggerated hipster "cool-parents". It was really offputting. Once I got into the meat of the story, I let myself get swept up in the narrative and I could put those annoyances out of my mind.
As a musician I almost quit listening to the book when it came to the "music" that was played between chapters. For a book about a classical musician, that mentions several very famous musicians and composers it is a cardinal sin to use MIDI computerized strings to add "music" to the listening experience! It would have been better to leave it out all together.
The writing in If I Stay made me want to leap out of my second story window to escape from it. Not the plot, which was adequate if melodramatic, the language itself. The use of three adjectives and two modifiers where the correct noun would have sufficed created a claustrophobic atmosphere and non-existent pacing. The author substituted words for story. This is the only one star review I've ever posted, but it is the only one star book I've ever downloaded.
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