This Book Hit Me Like A Train

This Book Hit Me Like A TrainIf I Stay by Gayle Forman
Series: If I Stay #1
Also by this author: If I Stay, Just One Night, I Was Here, I Was Here
Published by Penguin on 2009
Genres: Death & Dying, Family, General, Music, Performing Arts, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 199
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon

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 heartachingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make—and the ultimate choice Mia commands.

If there is one person I could blame for the tears I wept during If I Stay by Gayle Forman, it would be Jamie, as her enthusiasm is what FINALLY convinced me to set aside my review copies and pick up this book from my shelf.

If I Stay begins ordinarily enough. We open with Mia eating breakfast with her family. Which, FYI is genetically composed of awesome. Her parents were into the whole punk music scene and her little brother is a huge rock fan too. Anyways, they decide to make the most of their snow day and visit friends. Tragedy strikes to the tune of Beethovan as the family car hits a patch of ice and results in a horrific accident, killing Mia’s parents and brother, Teddy. Now, in a comatose state, Mia must decide between living or joining her family in the afterlife. If I Stay alternates between her memories and the present time.

Oh MY GOD. This book. I swear. It’s hard for me to string together coherent sentences about If I Stay. Gayle Forman absolutely had me enthralled with Mia’s gripping story. I went through the full gamut of emotions. Y’all within 20 pages I started bawling, and did not stop until half an hour after I finished. Actually, when I finished, I wound up calling my boyfriend to talk to him about it, but he was like ‘er, okay Pooks, it’s just a book’ and I’m all BUT WHAT IF THIS HAPPENED TO US.

Right, so. Characterization. Gayle Forman does characterization quite well. You see Mia’s family isn’t one of those backdrop families. They make up a significant portion of her book and her memories, and guys you will fall hard for her family. Her mom and dad are totally in love and totally wonderful and great parents. Her little brother is the brother I would love to have and holy moly it still hits me like a train, thinking about this. I wish more YA had family relationships like in If I Stay. Also also, Mia is totally not an island. She has a best friend, Kim, who was her enemy back in the day but they bonded over being brainy and getting into a fight in the schoolyard. Awesome right. And then oh my goodness, Mia’s boyfriend Adam, who is a rocker, and pretty much Mia’s opposite, as Mia is cellist and really into classical music. Anyways, Adam is totally wonderful and his role made me sob.

If I Stay left me wanting to listen to classical music and hug those I consider dear to me. It’s been months since I read this book, but my heart still clenches when I think about it and the plot and the characters. It is so good and absorbing and a quick albeit heavy read.

Other Reviews of If I Stay By Gayle Forman:

Anna Reads

A Girl, Books And Other Things

Two Readers Reviews

Consumed by Books

Purchase If I Stay here.*FYI I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you if you buy things from Amazon after clicking link.


The following two tabs change content below.
April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. SOBFEST! Jamie got me to read this too — and I was kicking myself that I hadn’t read it earlier. Love the book, love the review.

  2. I think I may pick this one up, there are times when I can use a good sobfest and something heavy to think on.

  3. The title of this post? It’s PERFECT. I was incoherent for an hour or so after finishing If I Stay. Ah-maze-ing.

  4. I actually started with WHERE SHE WENT but had the same emotional reaction to it that you did with IF I STAY. I’ve got to read IF I STAY, though. Love how deep we go into the character’s psyche.
    Happy reading!
    Mary @ Book Swarm

  5. I really enjoyed this book and found it very powerful. I need to read the sequel!

  6. Awww I am the reason why you are crying?! In this case…I’m ok with it!! You must read Where She Went soooon! SO DIFFERENT but amazing!

  7. YES! Isn’t this book just amazing?! Oh I’m so glad you finally read it! Loved hearing what you thought! 😀 Have you read Where She Went yet?!

  8. This was a great book. I loved all of the music-ness in it. I haven’t read Where She Went yet but I hear it is even better!

  9. For the record, I think the sequel, Where She Went, is amazing too. I couldn’t imagine how a sequel could work, but telling Adam’s story was so perfect.

    I can remember not even wanting to buy this book because it was going to be all girly and fluffy and totally not a book that i’d love anf my friend jenny was like omg shut up and read it and well it DESTROYED me. I was a sobbing snotty horrible mess from the mention of the accident to well a couple of days later. I wouldn’t even get in a car let alone a car with other people in it. And then came the question, would I stay? and then i’d cry again. TEDDY!!! MIA!!!!!! ADAMMMMMMMMM!!! Then I read Where She Went and got emotionally battered again. gayle, she likes bringing the tears and distraughtness huh?

  11. I am not pretty when I cry. I’m talking red eyes, runny nose, great heaving sobs- a total mess however I am prepared to forgive Gayle Forman as this book is brilliant. Read it.
    The sequal is also excellent you can read my review of that here:

  12. I totally agree! Like you I waited way too long to read this and finally got pushed into pulling it off my shelf. OMG, such a tear jerker and I loved it.

  13. I love this book. One of my best reads this year. Totally amazing. You can check my review here

  14. If I’m being honest, this was the most over-rated book of the year. I thought it would emotionally grab me (like The Lonely Bones and Winter Girls) but it felt dull and bland for me – and I’ve been through a lot in my life. The whole story was dragging on and on, the flashbacks took away from the story (they irrirated me in fact), and nothing really happened in the story.
    HOWEVER, I decided to give the SEQUEL a try, and I’m glad I did. The sequel was AMAZING, I loved how it was from Adam’s point of the view, and the story was much more interesting. The sequel surpassed the first novel for me, while “If I stay” fell flat. So I recommend reading “Where she went (the sequel), but not If I stay. 🙂


  1. […] by Gayle Forman Book Reviewby April (Books&Wine) on September 29, 2011There are spoilers for If I Stay below. Don’t be stupid and read this and spoil yourself for If I Stay and then come back and […]

  2. […] “…my heart still clenches when I think about it and the plot and the characters. It is so good and absorbing and a quick albeit heavy read.” Good Books & Good Wine […]

  3. […] Books That Broke My Heart A Little Bit1. P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern PS I Love You2. If I Stay by Gayle Forman If I Stay3. The Knife Of Never Letting Goby Patrick Ness The Knife of Never Letting […]

  4. […] If I Stay Where She Went […]

  5. […] a magical way of making me feel ALL of the things – from body-wracking sobs – what up If I Stay to face cracking grins hey Where She Went how you doing to empathy and hope and swoons and a […]

  6. […] I did enjoy Violet’s love of the cello, but that is partly influenced by the fact that I just saw If I Stay in theaters at the time of typing this post on August […]

  7. […] then moving on with her life. I will say right now that if you are a fan of Gayle Forman’s If I Stay, you will also find yourself loving this book. It carries that same emotional […]