Thursday, July 18, 2013

Taking Time to Reread: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

 If I Stay 
by Gayle Forman
Published by Dutton Juvenile
April 2, 2009

In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...

A sophisticated, layered, and heart-achingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make, and the ultimate choice Mia commands.
(from Goodreads)


I first read If I Stay back in February 2010. At the time, I wasn’t blogging but I’d read several bloggers’ reviews and all everyone was saying was how much they loved it and how it was one of their favorite books. I didn’t know too much about it but figured I should read it too because so many people were extremely positive and I didn’t want to miss out.

So I did read it, but I wasn’t as moved by it and I really didn’t understand why everyone made such a big deal about it. Now that I’ve just reread it, I feel like a complete idiot - because I do get it. It made me very emotional as I read Mia’s story and everything that she went through and remembered as she was deciding to stay or to pass on.

Why was my response to the reread different from the initial read? There are a couple of possible reasons. One is that just before reading If I Stay, I’d read several books that left me emotionally spent: After the Moment by Garret Freymann-Weyr, After by Amy Efaw, and The Reader by Bernhard Schlink, just to name a few. They exhausted me - reading too much of the heavy can do that sometimes. Another reason is that I’ve read Where She Went. Knowing the complete story and how Mia and Adam’s lives intertwined and changed over the years, makes me see the characters in a new light.

I initially rated (on Goodreads) If I Stay with 4 stars but I gave the reread 5 stars. I was committed to really understanding Mia’s struggle as she remembered her relationships, not just with Adam but with her family and her friends too. I happy to have reread this If I Stay because it was a completely different experience the second time around.

Do you reread books? Or do your every growing TBR piles keep you from picking up some of your favorite books? I'd love to know your thoughts, so leave a comment.


  1. I love books that exert an emotional response from me.
    Definitely going to read If I Stay after reading your review :)

  2. Like the bloggers who recommended this book to you, I also really enjoyed them. But I think I prefer Where She Went more because of Adam. He was so selfless and amazing. The kind of character you wish existed in real life. Great post :)

    -Mari @ The Sirenic Codex


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