Book Club: If I Stay

Thursday, August 28, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| , |

Thursday, August 28, 2014

I want to preface this review, by making it clear that this book is nothing like The Fault in Our Stars. Disregard any comparisons between the book/movie. It's not even close. And if you begin reading it expecting to uncover John-Green-words-of-wisdom then you are gong to be disappointed.

The book is based around the question posed to the main character, Mia, as she's on the brink of death "Does she want to continue to live, or go on?" Her parents and brother have just died in a car accident, so learning to live a life without them would be immensely difficult. However, she's on the edge of the rest of her life, has friends and family who don't want to learn to live a life without her. And Adam. I won't give any spoilers to how it ends in case you haven't read it yet. 

I think the book would have been much better as an extended short story or a novella. While reading it I kept feeling like the characters were running in circle, debating the same pros and cons to living/dying over and over again. The story is told through flashbacks that introduce you to the people who mean the most to Mia: her parents who are the punk to her classical, her much younger brother who breathes new life into the family, her grandparents, her best friend Kim who seems like more of a sidekick for most of the story until it's almost too late, and finally Adam, her soon-to-be-famous musician boyfriend whose life is moving in the complete opposite direction as hers. 

Music plays a key role in the lives of all of the characters. Mia stands out from her friends and family for her love of the cello, which is a stark contrast to the speaker-blaring cares-to-the-wind punk rock that is the center part of everyone else's life. Mia thinks that she can only perform alone, practice alone and develop the passion of hers alone. She looks to the others performing together, bonding over a common passion and spurring each other on to play better and is a little jealous. She thinks that she doesn't quite fit in. The turning point comes during a front porch jam session when her friends and family insist she join in and Mia finally realizes that her two worlds can coexist just fine and she is not an odd one out. 

All I will say about the end is that it is abrupt. There is not further explanation about everyone goes on with their life. Many questions are left unanswered; there is no epilogue. Overall I thought it was an interesting read, especially to make you think about whether or not you were put in the same situation, if that was a possibility, what would you choose to do?


Megan said...

I saw the preview for the movie and immediately wanted to read the book. Just like you said I had high hopes and was immensely let down. I found myself skipping the flashbacks and continuing onto the next chapter of what was happening to her currently. The ending...unreal. I thought I had two or three more chapters and then all of a sudden its over. Not a fan :(

Jess said...

I read it on my kindle at the last page was at 78% of the way through thanks to all of the discussion material. I had not mentally prepared myself for it to end!

Sara Rose said...

I thinking about reading this book! I'll probably give it a read since I'll have so much time after my dissertation!

tiffany said...

I actually really like this book and I thought the movie was a great book to film adaptation. It was very true to the book, and even though they may have changed a few things in the movie, it still felt authentic to the book. If I Stay does end abruptly but if you do want to know what happens next, I suggest reading the sequel, Where She Went. It's told in Adam's POV of what happens afterwards. :)

Jess said...

No one told me there was a sequel!!! Knowing that, my opinion of the book just went way up. I'm all for cliff hangers when I know there is another installment to continue the story. Thanks for letting me know :)