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>If I Stay by Gayle Forman

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[image description: a blue and white stripped deck chair with a copy of Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol in it.  Above that the words The Summer Reading Challenge are written in an arc (split in two lines with challenge on the second).  Plain font, dark blue.  The background is white]

I was given a copy of If I Stay by Gayle Forman to review as a part of Transworld’s Dan Brown Summer Reading Challenge

Product description from Amazon:
Life can change in an instant. A cold February morning …a snowy road …and suddenly all of Mia’s choices are gone. Except one. As alone as she’ll ever be, Mia must make the most difficult choice of all. Gripping, heartrending and ultimately life-affirming, “If I Stay” will make you appreciate all that you have, all that you’ve lost – and all that might be.

My review:

If I Stay is a lovely book.  It’s very poignant but despite the subject matter not overly sad.  It’s really well written – Gayle Forman isn’t a writer I’ve come across before but she has a way with words.  With the exception of one very disappointing inappropriate term (ableist language when the term “stupid” or “idiotic” would have done), she uses each word carefully and to further her story.

The idea of being able to choose whether to stay or not after such a tragic accident is new to me and I particularly liked it.  The choice Mia needs to make is handled in a mature way that reflects both the age of the character (17) and the sort of upbringing she’s had.  The range of responses to the comatose Mia that her various friends and relatives have all ring very true to life without being twee or cloying.

A good afternoon’s read this book keeps you wondering all the way though whether she will stay.  At one point I was convinced it would go one way, then a twist had me thinking it would go another.  The book ends by answering the question but still leaves you wanting more and wondering what happened next.  The ending is sudden but it works and changing it would definitely have taken away from the feel and the power of the book.

Overall this was a very enjoyable read and a powerful book.

This review can also be seen on Amazon

I didn’t add this bit on Amazon but as I’m sure a lot of my readers will have guessed the ableist language I was talking about was the R word.  I’ve read several books with it in lately and I’m getting very disappointed and frustrated by that.

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