Review: If I Stay

It’s Friday! And, in case you haven’t been paying attention, that means that my goal is to have a book review for you. (Except for last week, when I decided to post it on Thursday so that I had an open space for a Valentine’s post that didn’t get written, and accidentally hit the publish button on Wednesday, forgetting to schedule the post. Except for that!) Well, I won’t disappoint today.

As you may know, I have a long list of books to read in 2014, and I have been making decent progress on that list. But, I found myself in PA with none of those books {okay, okay, none of those novels} available to me at the moment or through my digital library, and since Jeremy was overseas and Valentine’s Day was right around the corner, I decided to just pick up a little romance novel that was available for a fun read. I got the suggestion from Janssen over at Everyday Reading (who has inspired a number of my reads, to be honest!) So, without further ado, here is your review!

If I Stay, by Gayle Forman, is a young adult romance novel set out on the west coast near Portland. I have to admit, I was a little ways into the book one morning, when I thought to myself, “I wonder why Janssen recommended this so highly . . .” when the next paragraph hit me and the rest of the book pretty much flew by. Not that the beginning is boring, it’s just . . . very normal. {And I may have a thing for books whose first sentence holds the inciting moment. Maybe.} Forman starts by building in her characters and setting, and just starting to make them charming when everything is changed in a moment on a snowy road in Oregon. I loved the author’s style the rest of the book, introducing an out-of-body consciousness with the main character that gave us an omnipresent view of what was going on, as well as linking us to memories of the protagonist’s past. The weaving of memories and current events was brilliant and made the reader battle along with Mia as she faced the heart-wrenching choice of choosing to stay or choosing to go.

I don’t really want to tell you a whole lot more, because that would spoil the premise of the book for you. And you wouldn’t want me to do that.

I will say that I was slightly surprised and disappointed with the amount of vulgar language and intimate scenes in this book. It wasn’t completely obscene or bedroom oriented, and I did finish the book, but it is written as young adult literature, and I personally wouldn’t want to put some of the content of this book into my own teenager’s hands. I have been developing my own stance on objectionable material in literature over the last couple of years, and here are my brief comments from this book:

  • the language does not over-run the book, but neither does it add to it {I personally have a harder time with language if the author is just using it to shock the readers, rather than incorporating it in a way that adds depth and understanding to the story.}
  • the sexuality of the book was not very intense, but there were intimate scenes between teenagers {I don’t appreciate incredibly sexual books, but I especially don’t like to promote books that encourage intimacy outside of marriage and that paint that as normal, right, or acceptable.}

So, bottom line: I loved the story, I loved the character development. The end felt a little abrupt, but very fitting, and I wasn’t disappointed at all, just a little surprised. I could have carried on in my corner position watching this story unfold for a while, but the end was obviously my cue to leave! My only precautions are that if you are uncomfortable with any of the above mentioned things, then I wouldn’t recommend this book for you.

*Sorry for the little caveat, but I sometimes feel like it is necessary to let readers know what to expect from a book that I am recommending. I know many of you couldn’t care less about sex and language in a book, but some of you do care, and I want this to be a blog that you feel you can trust for straightforward information about the books I read.*

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