Name of Book: If I Stay
By: Gayle Foreman
Publisher: Dutton Books (a member of Penguin Group)
Copyright Date: 2009
Number of Pages: 199
Format: YA fiction
Reason for Reading: it came to be on my TBR list via reading several blogger reviews
Normally, I would start this review out with a summary. However, I am so loathe to write it that I’ve decided to honor that feeling and forgo it. I don’t want to spoil any impact of the story. I picked this book up because of a glowing review a fellow blogger wrote. However, by the time I started reading it, I had completely forgotten what it was about. So I was completely floored when the story revealed itself. I was in shock. This was not the story I had been expecting.
So dear reader, in case you have no idea what this is about, I am not going to spoil that moment for you. It’s not a secret if you’ve read any other reviews. Nor does it remain a secret for long in the book. The pivotal moment occurs somewhere around chapter two if memory serves.
I am at a loss for words to describe how I feel about this book. The writing is beautiful. It is lyrical without being flowery or lush. The words flow and create these beautiful images that dig their way into my heart and soul. The characters are so lovingly crafted they jump off the page. It is written in a flashback form, which I personally love. It is these flashbacks that fully flesh the characters and give them breath.
The descriptions of music; the way Mia plays her cello; the way Beethoven sounds, were so evocative. I absolutely love when a book can write poetically about something I know nothing about and make me care about it, appreciate it. If it instills a sense of awe, even better. I am not a musician, I am not schooled in classical music, but Foreman made it come alive. She made me feel what Mia feels when she is playing. She made me understand the heart of it. And she kinda made me want to learn how to play the cello.
Another thing you should know is that this story will tear at your heartstrings. It will make you feel viscerally. It will make you sad and happy and everything in between. It will make you cry. Scratch that. It will make you SOB. So be prepared.
A beautifully written, heart-tugging, soulful YA novel about choice, life, and love.