You know, looking back, I completely messed up by reviewing Divergent last week! The fourth Sunday left would’ve been perfect. Oh well, live and learn!

I hope you all are getting ready for the Holidays! I know I am! The other half and I did our Christmas shopping and gift wrapping yesterday, so I’m all about the holidays right now.

Unfortunately, the book that I’m about to review isn’t exactly warm and heartfelt. In fact, it’s heartache, wrapped in elegance, plunged into intense despair and indecision. I loved it! Without further ado:

REVIEW: If I Stay, Gayle Forman
Length: 234
Published: 2009

Brief Summary: It’s a snow day in the Pacific Northwest, and high school senior Mia and her family decide to take a trip to her grandparents’ for the day. Told from Mia’s point of view, the story chronicles what happens after the tragic accident that takes her family’s lives. We see Mia’s internal struggle to decide whether to stay alive for her boyfriend, Adam, her grandparents, and her best friend, or if she should let go and join her family.

Most Memorable Line(s): Sorry people! I won’t lie, when I was looking through the book for my memorable line choice, I started crying. Because of that, I’ve made the executive decision to insert a TBD on this bit, and add it later when I can compose myself.

The first thing I saw when I opened the cover of this book was from NPR’s Roundtable: “This is an achingly beautiful story.” NPR is not wrong. This story tugs the heart strings, showcasing a truly impossible decision for a 17-year-old girl. Gayle Forman manages to create a supernatural situation feel like reality, which was something I wasn’t sure could be done. By basing her story in the “real” world, Forman really creates a believable world and situation for Mia and Adam. The story weaves between Mia’s descriptions of her current situation/choice and her relationship with Adam – how it started, where it’s going, and all of the questions and struggles they’re facing as young teens in love. The crux of this story is Mia’s musical talent. She’s an extremely talented cellist – who comes from a talented punk rock family – and it’s this that draws her and Adam together. If I knew anything about music, I’d probably say that Forman has written a symphony. Her writing of this book IS music; Mia’s struggle and her relationship are the strings and winds of a complete orchestra. It’s hard for me to describe and review this book right now. Truly, it feels musical. It makes you laugh, and it made me sob. The book is haunting, and I think it really captures the essence of high school love in the most trying of times, and how recognizing ALL of the love in life is important, and necessary, to anyone’s day to day survival. I’d recommend, but only if you’re prepared for tears. Grab a box of Kleenex.

Grade: 8/10

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