Thursday, 12 July 2012

If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman!

The last thing Mia remembers is the music.
After the accident, she can still hear it. And she can see her damaged body being taken from the wreck of her parents' car - even though she can't feel a thing.
All she can do is watch as doctors rush to save her life, as her friends and relatives gather outside her room, as the boy she loves struggles to be near her.
As the next twenty-four hours unfold, Mia must come to terms with what came before the crash - and what could come after. And she knows she must make the most difficult choice of all.

All the hype surrounding this book is so well deserved! It was so heart breakingly perfect! This review was hard to write as I loved so much of it but I couldn't quite put it into words!
What I loved:
  • Mia's Family- Her parents were the kind of cool parents everyone secretly wishes they had. Her brother adored her and didn't find her embarrassing. Her extended family rallied around. Willow, not technically family, but still a person you would wanted by your side in a crisis.
  • Mia- So realistic from the way she felt she was an outcast in her family to her issues with her best friend and her boyfriend. She was such an ordinary girl you felt you knew her so the crash really jolted you- she could be your best friend or the girl who's been in your class forever which made her decisions so much more poignant.
  • Flashbacks- I love the way flashbacks were incorporated into the story so you learnt all about the different characters and their relevance. Sometimes flashbacks are just an unnecessary plot device but Gayle Forman uses them to their full potential so they kept the story moving forward.
  • Kim- Such a good best friend. Despite not being Adam's biggest fan Kim goes to tell him in person about the accident and supports him throughout knowing that it would be important to Mia. She also tells Mia one of the most poignant things in the whole book- that she still has a family. Almost had me in tears!
  • Mia and Adam- Her mum says it best- they have a forever love and it is so clear. The little flashbacks on their relationships and the way he is with her family- beautiful. His 'Stay' speech- no words!
  • Adam- Seeing as I'm writing this after reading Where She Went in which I got more insight into Adam I'm just going with I love him!
  • Relationships- The relationships in this book were so perfectly formed and realistic even those less significant. Kim and her mother. Mia and her grandparents. Adam and Teddy, Henry and Mia's Dad. You really felt you knew them and their relationship with just a few paragraphs which I loved.
  • The Ending- which I already knew due to all the blog posts I'd read ages ago and the existence of the sequel but I still found it fit perfectly. It gave you enough closure that you knew the most important part without telling you everything.
What I didn't love as much:
  • Premise- I've put off this book for so long because I knew it would be heart breaking. However I ended up devouring it and loving every second, but do I love what had to happen? Nope! I'll always be a happy ever after girl!
  • The book had everything it needed but I wanted more! More of the past, more of the future... Which is why I rushed out and brought....

It's been three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life.
And three years he's spent wondering why.
When their paths cross again in New York City, Adam and Mia are brought back together for one life-changing night.
Adam finally has the opportunity to ask Mia the questions that have been haunting him. But will a few hours in this magical city be enough to lay their past to rest, for good - or can you really have a second chance at first love?

Where She Went was so similar yet so different from If I Stay. Adam narrated this one from his point of view and it had less of an obvious direction. In If I Stay it was all building to Mia's decision and she had to decide one way or another but in Where She Went there wasn't the same promise of resolution. I don't know who I love more Mia or Adam but I felt this book showed more of Adam's raw emotions whereas If I Stay had less in depth individual emotional exploration.

What I Loved:
  • Adam- A man with everything he'd always dreamt of career wise but an unhappy messy personal life. It was so tragic to see how Adam had changed yet in some ways stayed the same. I found his fear of crowds strangely adorable and the way he treated Mia so hot and cold showed just how confused he was. I think Mia had it right when she realised no one had looked after Adam- he lost three people who were pretty much his family and had to be strong to help the love of his life through it all who then dumped him! That would break the strongest person but he struggled on.
  • Mia- I liked how she'd dealt with her family- by having them everywhere, all over her walls, in her bag and in her decisions, it was refreshing and what her family would have wanted. I liked how she refused to be pitied or treated differently. I don't think she was right to dump Adam like she did, but she understood that and it was in a way understandable.
  • New York- I loved how it provided such a good backdrop with Mia's secret tour. I loved the touches of Oregon in the secret bowling alley and the familiarity in the diner. I liked how the tour like them came full circle.
  • Kim- Still a good best friend to Mia. I liked how Adam and Kim grew into an actual support team during Mia's recovery. I loved how Kim had just gone off to Afghanistan to photograph war- so brave!
  • The pace- The story takes place over one night- so much is done but it's very realistic.
  • Theo- Willow and Henry's baby boy just gave me hope for their future.
  • Flashbacks- continued to add to the story rather than take away. I liked that they were fundamentally different from Mia's flashbacks. You could feel Adam's emotions and the things that had been most important in the past to him. I also liked seeing Adam's family, they weren't cold or unwelcoming like I'd imagined in If I Stay just not as amazing as Mia's.
  • The ending- I loved the flash forward which gave you just a little more closure with the characters, that they were doing ok!
What I Didn't Love:
  • Shooting Star- In particular Mike. Maybe I'm biased but after all Adam went through, yes he left you for awhile but he came back with a double platinum album! I felt that Mike held that absence against him for the rest of their career. I reserved judgement on Liz as she seemed to struggled between compassion, exasperation and jealously but you could tell she still cared.
Loved these books so much- I know they will be staying with me for awhile!
Let me know if you have any recommendations of similar books just slightly out of my happy ever after zone :)

Much Love!


  1. These books are seriously some of my favorites, and I'm so glad that you liked them! And I definitely agree with you about the premise. It turned me off at first, but I'm glad they turned out being good.

    1. They went straight to my favourite list! Me toot he premise is so upsetting but Gayle writes it so well!
      Thanks for commenting :)

  2. This sounds soo good. I have these on audio books and haven't listened to them yet. Great reviews! I love how the characters are so easy to fall in love with. It makes it so much more rewarding to read.

    1. Go listen to them! The characters suck you in- I couldn't put these down as I was so invested in the characters.
      Let me know what you think!
      Thanks for stopping by :)

  3. Great reviews! I love both these books. <3

  4. Brilliant reviews of both books! I agree, Adam is a solid character and a fighter sooso amazing and I wish he could be mine <3_<3


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