If I Stay
Author: Gayle Forman
Release: January 1st 2009
Genre: Contemporary, YA
#1 in the If I Stay duology
Sequel: Where She Went (#2)
On a day that started like any other,
Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, admiring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. In an instant, almost all of that is taken from her. Caught between life and death, between a happy past and an unknowable future, Mia spends one critical day contemplating the only decision she has left. It is the most important decision she'll ever make.
Simultaneously tragic and hopeful, this is a romantic, riveting, and ultimately uplifting story about memory, music, living, dying, loving.
Ugh ugh ugh UGH. WHY. Lately, all those endings keep ruining books for me. It is absolutely horrible.
You know, I went into this a little biased, but bad biased, because I was going into this heavily prejudiced. I did not enjoy Forman's Just One Day, which has been a critically acclaimed bestseller and been labeled as a ground-breaking, awesome novel. So imagine my hesitation when I decided to finally pick up If I Stay, which has been on my to-read list for ages (literally), but I've only decided to pick up now because, you know, that darn movie.
There's something you have to know about me. I deeply love, and enjoy, music. I have favorite bands, and I am very enthusiastic about those bands, and I love them to shreds with all my heart and soul. I have only had this huge emotional, nostalgic feeling overcome me yesterday, where I was thinking about how much I goddamn love this fucking band.
Yeah, it was 1 am and I was getting really worked up about it.
THAT SAID, I still have never had a lot of appreciation for, you know, actual music. By which I mean, sheet music, chords, instruments, in fact, music has always been my second worst subject in school (physics was my #1 worst one) and as soon as I had the opportunity to drop it altogether in high school, you bet I was the first to jump up and do that. I've talked about this with my friend on here, Laura, but I'll say it again for the sake of this review: I've tried picking up the guitar once, because I thought it'd be cool, but I never ever enjoyed the learning process. Whenever I got the guitar out and started playing around a bit, trying to teach myself via YouTube videos, I was annoyed and bored. It's a cool instrument and all that, sure, but I just wanted to be able to immediately play all the songs I love and not have to put in any effort for it. Which is totally wrong, because music is all about the process of connecting with what you're playing, putting your soul out there, etc etc.
Anyway, what's the point of all this rambling? It's that I could not sympathize with all this musical mumbo jumbo, which is basically anything Mia ever ever talks about in this book. Her whole family is musical, it's because of music that she's met Adam, music is driving them apart now, she's feeling like a fraud within her family because of music, literally the only thing that wasn't about music was Kim, her best friend, and she plays a rather minor role if I do say so myself. This whole book was about music, which hey, I'm all about that, but then again, not like that. This makes me sound like an unappreciative 13-year-old girl that likes One Direction because of their looks and voices, but ... it's just the way it is. I admire all those people to whom music means the world and who are able to drop everything to pursue their dreams. It's what I love about 5 Seconds of Summer so much, they are just genuinely so happy to have this crazy opportunity to travel the world and just play that damn music that means so much to them. I, however, am simply not one of them.
So. That alone has left me feeling very disconnected from the overall plot of the novel. But it's not even that that made me really mad about this novel. Don't get me wrong, it's beautiful and a really nice tale about life, and it did almost manage to make me cry a couple of times, but in the end, its message is so similar to the one Just One Day sent out. Because, in the end, Mia wasn't ready to stay for her grandparents, or for her best friend, or for the rest of her relatives and friends waiting in the waiting room. Actually, I'm realizing I'm kind of getting into spoiler territory here, woopsie. Then again, there IS a sequel, so I guess it's not a huge ass mystery what choice Mia makes. But, you have been warned. Anyways, she was ready to depart this world altogether, she was getting ready to go, and it was only because of Adam's last ditch desperate attempt to get her to stay that actually got her to stay. Boo fucking hoo. OF COURSE. Love conquers all, the boyfriend is so fucking important and has so much sway she'll stay for him. Just like, in Just One Day, Allison whines and cries after that one boy that was the be all and end all, it's the fucking same all over again for this one. UGH. Just UGH. I just ... ultimately, the one factor that makes her decide to stay is her freaking boyfriend, whom she probably maybe has to leave behind anyway if she wants to continue living her normal life. God fucking damn it.
I'm done. I'm out. BYE.