Friday, May 30, 2014

BOOK REVIEW - IF I STAY by GAYLE FORMAN - IF I STAY # 1 - YA CONTEMPORARY - RANDOM HOUSE

By: Gayle Forman
Published By: Random House, Definitions
Released: Available Now
Details: Paperback from library, 233 Pages

RATING: 4.5 MOVING STARS!

Blurb: Goodreads

The critically acclaimed, bestselling novel from Gayle Forman, author of Where She Went, Just One Day, and the forthcoming Just One Year.

On a day that started like any other,

Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, admiring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. In an instant, almost all of that is taken from her. Caught between life and death, between a happy past and an unknowable future, Mia spends one critical day contemplating the only decision she has left. It is the most important decision she'll ever make.

Simultaneously tragic and hopeful, this is a romantic, riveting, and ultimately uplifting story about memory, music, living, dying, loving.







BOOK REVIEW by Michelle:

I realize now that dying is easy.


Living is hard.

Yay! A story where the parents are ultra cool and hip.

I really adored this story by Gayle Forman. It is my first Forman read and it is this sneaky story that quietly builds until you become this emotional ball that will move you to tears by the end.

Sure you get the horror of what happens near the start of the book, but because Mia is inner monologuing for most of the book, it really was Gramps who made me get emotional.

A small book that packs a punch by the end and has you grabbing for Where She Went. You will understand once you get to the end.

Mia is a musician, she plays the cello, she is that good she has auditioned for Juilliard.

I know it’s silly but I have always wondered if Dad is disappointed that I didn’t become a rock chick. I’d meant to. Then, in third grade, I’d wandered over to the cello in music class -- it looked almost human to me. It looked like if you played it, it would tell you secrets, so I started playing. It’s been almost ten years now and I haven’t stopped.

Adam is her boyfriend, he plays guitar in his band Shooting Star, they are currently on tour.

He’s such the cool guy with his pegged jeans and black low-tops, his effortlessly beat-up punk-rock tees and his subtle tattoos. He is not the kind of guy to end up with someone like me.


You’ve all heard the term, ‘just before you die your life flashes before your eyes.’ That is pretty much how this story is told.

Mia revisits her memories and she is deciding if she should stay.

The book is told over a twenty four hour period.

Gramps did me in, he cracked my emotional exterior and left me in a puddle.

It’s OK,” he tells me. “If you want to go. Everyone wants you to stay. I want you to stay more than I’ve ever wanted anything in my life.” His voice cracks with emotion. He stops, clears his throat, takes a breath, and continues. “But that’s what I want and I could see why it might not be what you want. So I just wanted to tell you that I understand if you go. It’s OK if you have to leave us. It’s OK if you want to stop fighting.”

I had a favorite memory.

Adam lay down on my bed, stretching his arms above his head. His whole face was grinning -- eyes, nose, mouth. “Play me,” he said.

“What?”

“I want you to play me like a cello.”

I started to protest that this made no sense, but then I realized it made perfect sense. I went to my closet and grabbed one of my spare bows. “Take off your shirt,” I said, my voice quavering.

Adam did. As thin as he was, he was surprisingly built. I could’ve spent twenty minutes staring at the contours and valleys of his chest. But he wanted me closer. I wanted me closer.

I sat down next to him on the bed, perpendicular to his hips, so his long body was stretched out in front of me. The bow trembled as I placed it on the bed. I reached with my left hand and caressed Adam’s head as if it were the scroll of my cello. He smiled again and closed his eyes. I relaxed a little. I fiddled with his ears as though they were the string pegs and then I playfully tickled him as he laughed softly. I placed two fingers on his Adam’s apple. Then, taking a deep breath for courage, I plunged into his chest. I ran my hands up and down the length of his torso, focusing on the sinews in his muscles, assigning each one a string - A,G,C,D. I traced them down, one at a time, with the tip of my fingers. Adam got quiet then, as if he were concentrating on something.

I reached for the bow and brushed it across his hips, where I imagined the bridge of the cello would be. I played lightly at first and then with more force and speed as the song now playing in my head increased in intensity. Adam lay perfectly still, little groans escaping from his lips. I looked at the bow, looked at my hands, looked at Adam’s face, and felt this surge of love, lust and an unfamiliar feeling of power. I had never known that I could make someone feel this way.

When I finished, he stood up and kissed me long and deep. “My turn,” he said. He pulled me to my feet and started by slipping my sweater over my head and edging down my jeans. Then he sat down on the bed and laid me across his lap. At first Adam did nothing except hold me. I closed my eyes and tried to feel his eyes on my body, seeing me as no one else ever had.

Then he began to play me.



Adam visits the story through Mia’s memories and then he makes a real appearance.

“That was a pretty boneheaded move you pulled earlier,” I hear her tell Adam.

“I know,” Adam answers. His voice is a throaty whisper, the way it gets after a particularly screamy concert. “I was desperate.”

“No, you were romantic,” she tells him.



This is a beautifully told story that has very heartfelt moments throughout. Moments that make you think about your own life and the impact you have on your family members and friends.

I’m looking forward to seeing the movie in August 2014. I leave you with some Yo-Yo Ma.



Michelle

6 comments:

  1. Recently I read this book and i loved it! Loved him completely ... it's really beautiful, and I fell in love with Adam and especially in that scene you mention ... it's a wonderful book and I do not see the hour of the movie :D

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    1. Hi Celeste, this was a book that packs a punch for such a little read. I did love that scene. It was different and I really saw it in my head. :D

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  2. I've heard so many great things about this book and this author although I'm yet to read it. I know it's crazy emotional though. Great review Mich!

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    1. Hey Rachel, I think it is more emotional near the end, for me, because there is a lot of inner monologue going on. I can see how this will make a great movie.

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  3. This book was great! I loved the where she went even more!! You should read that one too!

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    1. Hi Johannah! I have the second book waiting here for me to read. Just finding a few spare minutes to slide it in :D

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