BOOK REVIEW – If I Stay (If I Stay #1) by Gayle FormanIf I Stay (If I Stay #1)
by Gayle Forman
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If you stay, I’ll do whatever you want. I’ll quit the band, go with you to New York. But if you need me to go away, I’ll do that, too. I was talking to Liz and she said maybe coming back to your old life would just be too painful, that maybe it’d be easier for you to erase us. And that would suck, but I’ll do it. I can lose you like that if I don’t lose you today. I’ll let you go. If you stay.

Admission time: I never had any intention of reading this book…like ever. The movie trailer didn’t appeal to me, the book didn’t speak to me, and yet……I saw reviews for book two. And I already knew what happened because, well, I’m me after all. So when I started to see these awesome reviews for the second book and began to hear about all of the angst and emotion brought forth from book two, I decided I had to read it. Have any of you ever done that? Have you ever heard that book two, or whatever book in the series, is awesome and all of a sudden you’re willing to read the first book just to get to book two??? Well…I officially have and I damn well hope it’s worth it, because, again, I warned you myself.

“But I’d understand if you chose love, Adam love, over music love. Either way you win. And either way you lose. What can I tell you? Love’s a bitch.

I think that is one thing I can really brag about. I don’t brag much, but when it comes to this, I’ve gotten really good: I know what will ultimately work for me and what won’t-book wise (and hey, movies, too). I knew book one wasn’t my style and I was right, but in a super weird way, I’m stoked for book two.

The glaring problem with the book: Mia. I have never so strongly not related to a character. Okay, that’s a lie, but at least I normally can find something to relate to. Not with Mia, and I’m not sure why. I just felt like, as a person, even before the surgery, she was a stick in the mud. Always questioning Adam’s love or affection for her, never trying to fully immerse herself into his lifestyle or his shows when all he does is attempt to understand her and her ‘dark’ humor. I dunno. That relationship seemed a wee bit one-sided, in my opinion.

I’m exhausted, but at the same time Adam’s visit has left me…I don’t know what. Agitated. Anxious. Awake, definitely awake. Though I couldn’t feel it when he touched me, his presence stirred me up anyhow.

And then the music aspect just…bored me. Even it didn’t outshine the sullen, childish thoughts that Mia continually replayed in her head. I never have been one to connect to the music aspect of a novel, but in this story I longed to be pulled deep into the music Mia played but never once felt a twang of connection. It’s almost as if her thoughts overshadowed each moment and took the light out of each shining circumstance. Seriously. Mia ruined every moment for me that was supposed to be meaningful or inspirational or a key point to the story.

And Adam. He had me at ‘I saved two weeks’ delivery tips for those.’ A-DOR-A-BLE. He stole my heart in that moment. And that’s not to say he didn’t do more swoony, heart-stuttering things, but that was the one that made my heart go thump…thump…thump. And, of course, I’d be a liar if I said the angsty moments when he was devastated and crushed that Mia might not make it didn’t become my favorite moments of the whole story. In those moments, I felt all the emotion I was missing throughout the rest of the novel. But, and the problem is, those moments were so far and few between. I literally ached for those moments because the rest of the time I didn’t feel near the connection. So…that’s the problem: Not enough Adam.

“I can’t wrap my mind around the notion of you not getting old, having kids, going to Julliard, getting to play that cello in front of a huge audience, so that they can get the chills the way I do every time I see you pick up your bow, every time I see you smile at me.

All in all I never thought I would love or cherish this book….but I did hope for that surprising twist of events where I inevitably fell in love with the story and had to eat crow. But, like I thought, this didn’t happen. I liked it more than I thought I would, but I didn’t connect like I had hoped. So, it’s a toss up, and giving more or less than three would be unfair to my mixed up thoughts. I liked, but didn’t love. Hopefully book two will rectify that.

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