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Belle's Bookshelf

"With a dreamy far-off look, and her nose stuck in a book..."

Currently reading

What Maisie Knew
Henry James
My Friend the Enemy
Dan Smith
Worlds of Arthur: Facts and Fictions of the Dark Ages
Guy Halsall
If I Stay - Gayle Forman **This review originally appeared on http://bellesbookshelf.blogspot.com/Yep, I finally read If I Stay.It's taken me this long because, while I picked it up last year, out of curiousity for the story of a girl who loses her family in a car crash and has to decide whether she wants to live or die - that curiousity wasn't strong enough to overcome my fear of being utterly depressed by it. So it sat languishing at the bottom of my TBR pile for months. And months. Then I started blogging, and Where She Went came out, and my feed was filled with ridonkulous amounts of praise for both novels. That motivated me to finally see what I was missing out on (and also the fact that SPOILER thanks to Where She Went reviews, I knew that Mia chose to stay and that assuaged my fears somewhat).Which brings me to today. I started reading If I Stay on the bus this morning, and continued on the bus on the way home. Five hours later, I'm finished, and boy have I been on an emotional rollercoaster. Starting with dread (for what I knew was coming), climbing to love, love, love (for Mia, Mia's family, and especially for Adam), before rocketing down to despair and then, ultimately, smoothing out to a sense of hope. I was surprised to find that, like the blurb on the back says, the book IS actually life-affirming. Simply and elegantly told, with wonderful, realistic characters and raw, touching emotions, I absolutely loved If I Stay. So now I sit here, sad, but not utterly depressed - a good thing, for sure. But my mind is starting to go into overdrive thinking about what I've just read - not such a good thing considering it's about 10 minutes past my bedtime. Hopefully if I get all those thoughts out now they won't haunt my dreams. But Mia might. Teddy definitely will.SPOILERS BELOW * The scenes that got to me the most: The state of Mia's dad after the crash - I wanted to vomit. The flashback to Mia and her mum shopping while her mum was in labour with Teddy - in that scene, more than any other, I really "saw" Mia's mum and felt the full tragedy. Then, anything involving Teddy - the moment Mia realises he's gone, her urge to cuddle him and feel his curls and the realisation she never will again - oh, God, talk about pulling the heartstrings. Finally, the end, when Adam's begging Mia to stay and she makes her choice. Sigh. * Speaking of Adam - OK, now I see what all the fuss is about. Swoon alert! * The book definitely got me thinking about what would you do if, God forbid, you were faced with Mia's choice? I honestly couldn't answer. I like how the book ended; how Mia realised there was still a lot to live for and especially how by living, she could hold on to the memory of her family, but goodness, if I was in that position, I don't know if I could do it. * I'm kinda glad it took me this long to read If I Stay, because now I can't wait to dive into Where She Went! I'm tempted to start now, but I really must be getting to bed...