Home / Book Club Picks / YA Book to Movie Read | Book Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

YA Book to Movie Read | Book Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

If I Stay is another YA book to movie story, coming atcha!

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if i stay gayle forman book review

Title & Author: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary, Paranormal

Release Date: April 2, 2009

Series: If I Stay #1

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile

How I Got the Book: Bought – Book Club Pick


“Just listen, Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel.

I open my eyes wide now.
I sit up as much as I can.
And I listen.

Stay, he says.

Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?

Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it’s the only one that matters.

If I Stay is a heartachingly beautiful book about the power of love, the true meaning of family, and the choices we all make.”

The Next YA Book to Movie Adaption

After The Fault in Our Stars, of course.

With the recent buzz over If I Stay and its upcoming movie (out August 22), my book club and I decided to take it on.

I knew to expect a sad-ish type moving story, but what I didn’t expect was a relatively short and very to the point story of one girl’s huge literally life-altering decision.

As the book blurb describes, Mia and her family are in a terrible car accident and in an out-of-body-experience state she must choose whether to live or to let go.

What surprised me the most about If I Stay was how closely it stuck to the one main premise. Mia and her decision. There is really no deviation.

What made this book truly moving are all of the flashbacks that are inserted while Mia is at the hospital, trying to decide what to do. Her family is described in such rich detail that I fell in love with her spunky, feminist mom and her retro-cool dad and her precious younger brother.

Forman breathed so much life into these characters. It was so beautiful (and painful) to read.

I was very surprised at how Forman ended the story, but after reflecting on it with my book club, I realized how perfect it was. It was appropriate and clean and just…right.

It makes perfect sense why If I Stay was made into a movie. It’s the type of story that stays with you. It’s so accessible (only 208 pages) and relatable if you’ve ever lost anyone close to you.

It’s a well-told story, and I’ve only heard great things about it’s (one and only) sequel, Where She Went.

What I Hope the Movie Gets Right

With a story like this, casting will be everything. Chloe Grace Moretz (from Kick Ass, Hugo) plays Mia, and Jamie Blackley (Snow White and the Huntsman) plays Adam.

These two actors will be crucial to the success of this movie, and I am truly hoping they can live up the calling.

Other than that, this movie is otherwise pretty straightforward. It will come down to how well the spirit of the characters are embodied on screen.


This is a rich and deeply emotional read. I didn’t cry at all, really. Not like I have in other YA contemporaries. But, this is the type of story that stays with you. That you think about later on with total clarity of the details. If I Stay is an easy book to place yourself in and ask, “if it were me, would I stay?

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • Fiona

    I saw the trailer for the movie last week, and it looks fantastic! Great post!

  • Kayla @ The Thousand Lives

    The trailer never fails to make me weep, but the book was more sobering that sob-inducing for me. I completely agree – I was staring at the ceiling (lovely insomnia) and just thinking “what if it were me?” I can’t wait to read Where She Went!