I’ve seen the movie a dozen times and have finally worked the book into my reading schedule, so I apologize in advance (for probably the millionth time) for living under a rock and reviewing a book from almost a decade ago. But hey, that’s what happens when you are determined to accomplish the #unreadshelfproject2018!

Now, on to the review. If I Stay is about seventeen year old Mia as she’s stuck somewhere in between life and death after a horrific car accident. Her parents are immediately killed, her little brother Teddy is barely hanging on, and she herself is in a coma in the ICU. Mia is torn between letting go and joining her parents, and living with the pain of the loss. She knows that it would be easy to just let go, but there are still so many things that she would miss: her cello, Adam, Kim, her grandparents, and her parent’s friends that have always been like family. Alternating between the past and present, Mia shares her intimate thoughts on her relationship with Adam, a sweet, grand gesture, punk rock wannabe-star; with Kim, her best friend who knows everything about Mia, including things she didn’t know about herself; and with her family, and what it was like growing up classical in a family of punk rockers.

I have to say, I really enjoyed the read. It is a little cheesy at times, and there are some moments where I may have done a subtle eye roll at the predictability. But overall, I think Forman wrote a touching young adult novel that opens discussion on death, grief, and sacrifice. To me, it evoked the question of what I would do in Mia’s shoes, or Adam’s, or Mia’s grandparents. I know that there was some controversy in that train of thought- about life support and making the decisions to stay or go on- but I think there was enough fluff in this book to make it inviting enough to talk about such a heavy subject. It’s not easy to do that, and so I believe that Forman should be appreciated for accomplishing that task.

I do have to say, though I enjoyed the book, I think the movie is better. *gasp!* I know, I’m usually in agreement that the book is ALWAYS better, but in this case, the movie adds an element that the book can’t possibly- audio. Music is such a key concept, but reading about music is different than listening. I never really thought about cello music, to be honest. Though I enjoy classical, I haven’t connected with it on an emotional level the way I have with other genres. Being able to listen to Mia play in the movie added more of that emotional connection than the book did, in my opinion, and made me admire the instrument more. So I doubt I’ll be rereading the book, but I’ll certainly be watching the movie again.

Image result for if i stay cello

(Photo Credit: Google Images)

However, if you are like me, and you haven’t given this a read, I’d recommend it. It’s fast paced, emotional but also enjoyable, and a short read- under 240 pages. Bare minimum, it’ll inspire you to give your loved ones a squeeze and to go turn on some tunes.