It’s been a while but I’m back with another Read And Rave for you all, this time it’s a work of Young Adult Fiction that I couldn’t put down.
If I Stay is a novel by Gayle Forman.
It is a reasonably short piece of Young Adult Fiction, at just two hundred and ten pages long, but within those pages you are immersed in the life of a young girl, Mia, whose struggles will tug on your heart strings throughout. I had no idea what to expect when I picked up this book for the first time, the blurb gives little away and although this might sound like an annoyance it was actually something I was very appreciative of once I’d finished it. There were times when I was smiling like an idiot whilst reading it but also times when my tears were soaking through the pages; in terms of length and clarity this is a nice light read but when it comes to the emotional side of things it’s quite heavy – in a good way.
I found it very cathartic and it certainly prompted me to re-evaluate how much I appreciate the people and things in my life. Forman’s incredibly emotive descriptions and strong narrative carry the story off the page and encase you in the world she has clearly carefully crafted for this novel. You really end up caring for Mia and the decisions that she has to make, the perspective of the narrative voice in the novel is very different to the traditional voice. It’s told by Mia, but the circumstances under which she is narrating are extremely unusual and may challenge your sense of reality to begin with, but overall, it works really well within the context of the story. From page one you are immersed in her life, her thoughts and feelings.
A common misconception of this book is that you can only enjoy it if you have an appreciation or interest for classical music, but it’s the complete opposite, although an important part of Mia’s character is that she is an aspiring cellist I found that it’s a pleasantly accessible book. Personally I’ve been playing the cello since I was six, which is certainly one of the reasons I was drawn to If I Stay in the first place, but I have friends who have never picked up an instrument in their lives and still loved it.
I cannot recommend this book enough, I was enthralled from start to finish and as soon it was over I bought the sequel just so I could re-immerse myself in Mia’s world. Be prepared to be unprepared for the range of emotions this story will inflict upon you though, it will make you question some of your most fundamental values and beliefs. But in the end you will have found out things about yourself and the world that ultimately will change your life for the better.