If I Stay by Gayle Forman (May 2009, Doubleday, ISBN: 9780385616201)
Update: I wrote this review 2 years ago and never posted it as I seemed to be going against the flow of opinion. I have now read the sequel and will post that review as well shortly.
Everyone thinks it was because of the snow. And in a way, I suppose that's true.
Review: When a smattering of snow brings Oregon to a halt, seventeen-year-old Mia and her family take advantage of the school closures to visit some friends. An incident along the way changes everyone's life and Mia has to decide what to do next. Mia's decision process is interleaved with her narration of her life before that day: details of her family, friends, boyfriend and her music career.
I'm trying to leave the premise vague so as not to give too much away but it's the sort of incident that happens everyday and gets a few lines in the newspaper whereas the implications of it are far-reaching.
If I Stay has had lots of great reviews and yet it didn't hit the spot for me. I've been trying to work out why. I think it's possibly because it's in a genre that I don't usually read ie family relationships. I prefer plot-driven books and this didn't seem to have much action in it. Though the premise itself is intriguing, most of the book is Mia's life in flashback, which, to me, wasn't particularly interesting and I didn't feel there was much of an ongoing struggle about her decision. I expected the battle to be tougher between the two options. I was also expecting this to have a stronger supernatural angle than it does, which was partly why I was interested in it in the first place. However a lot of people have loved this book, it just wasn't for me.
Cover: I love this cover. I had been itching to read If I Stay because of the cover.