Asheley Re-Reads! If I Stay by Gayle Forman {Audiobook} #CFMonth13

Posted May 9, 2013 by Asheley in Uncategorized / 13 Comments

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Published by Speak
Publish Date: April 2009

262 Pages
Source: Print – Bought, Audiobook – Library

Find It: Goodreads / Amazon / B&N

In the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen ­year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces- to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make. Heartwrenchingly beautiful, this will change the way you look at life, love, and family. Mia’s story will stay with you for a long, long time. -(excerpt from Goodreads) 

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

My Thoughts: This book is another one of the re-reads I wanted to try again because I didn’t love the book so much on the first go round. The first time, I read the book in print and I thought it was okay, and that was about it. But then as I read more and more about how people were just so in love with this story and so captivated by Mia, and there was so much sobbing – again (just like with Anna and the French Kiss) I felt this huge disconnect from the world of contemporary lovers. 

The story is good. But I did not cry. Also, I didn’t remember tons of details. Put it this way, at the time it didn’t grab me enough to make me want to immediately read Where She Went

On the Re-Read

I listened to the audiobook with the print copy right by my side or in my hands. It never fails that an audiobook brings more emotion to the surface for me and moves me in ways that regular print on regular paper cannot, so since I had such a hard time with the connection the first time around – I wanted to give myself every chance to connect with Mia again. As always, this was a good choice for me because while I didn’t end up falling in love with Mia or her story, I did like If I Stay much better the second time. 

I count that as a success, you guys. But while I feel better about If I Stay, I still don’t feel like I loved it. 

I think Gayle Forman’s writing is nice in this book – I was easily able to follow the story and feel for what Mia was going thru. I loved the musical aspect of the story. I loved the flashbacks and getting to know the supporting cast through Mia’s thoughts and memories. I loved the emotions, particularly where Mia’s brother and her boyfriend were concerned. But try as I might, I just couldn’t care as much as I wanted to about Mia. What I mean is that I couldn’t connect with her on as deep a level as I wanted to. 

It makes me feel pretty horrible, 
because what Mia was experiencing was pretty horrible. 
I really, really love connecting to characters 
and being emotionally involved in a book. 

BUT! I gave the book a second chance and that is what is important, right? Well, that and the fact that from there, I was able to go to Where She Went. Man, I can’t wait to share my thoughts on that one. 

Audiobook Notes: The If I Stay audiobook is published by Penguin Audio and is 5 hours, 2 minutes long, Unabridged. The book is narrated by Kirsten Potter, who did a fine job with the story. She did a pretty good job with Mia’s voice – sometimes Mia has tons of emotion and there are also times when Mia has a pretty flat affect because she feels numb or doesn’t know what to feel. I think the narrator did a great job bringing these emotions to life. I would recommend this rather short audiobook to readers as a first-read or a re-read for this book. There are some musical vignettes interspersed into the story because Mia is a cellist – they didn’t really add or detract from the story in my opinion, although I’m sure that most people would feel that they enhanced the audiobook. 

I recommend If I Stay by Gayle Forman to fans of YA Contemporary with Issues, emotional stories, and people who enjoy stories with a musical component. After two reads – one in print and one in both audio+print, I can safely say that this one just is not going to be a favorite of mine…but I did enjoy it more on the re-read, which I will always count as a success. 


If I Stay will appeal to fans of:

YA Contemporary Realistic Fiction & Romance 
Romance: Already established. No Triangle.
Issues: Death

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
is currently available for purchase.


Here is another example of a successful re-read, 
although I don’t count is as successful as my 

Are you disappointed that I don’t love it more? 

Is there anyone else that had trouble connecting with Mia?
Or am I just unusual?

There’s more Gayle Forman coming up
in this event for you guys! Stick with me!


About Asheley

Asheley is a Southern girl. She loves Carolina blue skies, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and NC craft beer. She loves all things history but prefers books over everything.

You can find her somewhere in North Carolina, daydreaming about the ocean.

Find Asheley on Litsy @intothehallofbooks!


13 responses to “Asheley Re-Reads! If I Stay by Gayle Forman {Audiobook} #CFMonth13

  1. I just read this for the first time this past weekend. I really liked it (and couldn't put it down), but didn't love it like I thought I would. The ending is what saved it for me and made my rating 4/5 instead of a 3, honestly. So you're not the only one who didn't put this on a favorites shelf! 🙂

    • Yeah, I think there are people that really, really love it (like, sobby) and there are those of us that think that it is a well-written, good story. It IS a good story, but it was just different enough (with Mia's character so hard to connect to, IMO) that I had a harder time really falling in love. HOWEVER, if I wouldn't have given it another chance, I wouldn't have fallen head-over-heels in love with the second book, Where She Went. I am madly in love with that one. It's written so differently than this one, it's amazing. The story continues, and the emotions are there, but just WOW. I hope you're planning to keep going with the duo, just to see if you like Where She Went as much or more than this one.

  2. I'm glad that you liked it better the second time you read it! I haven't read this book yet, but I have heard a lot about it. It makes me nervous (all the hype, I mean), but I'm game to give it a try eventually.

    • You know, I think if you go into this one knowing it is a GOOD book rather than OMG THIS BOOK IS SO AMAZING I CRIED FOR HOURS – I think that'll be much better. I was expecting to need a Kleenex box by my side and never did, which I think affected my first read. I was let down by what I thought would be this huge emotional experience. The second read was better (and partly because of the audiobook) and MAN OH MAN Where She Went is now one of my favorites. So I would certainly read it, but be wary of the hype and not have too high expectations because expecting too much really messed me up!

  3. I think it's okay that you did not FALL HEAD OVER HEELS IN LOVE, I mean sure I wish that you did love one of my favorite books ever, but you know what these things happen and it's not a huge end of the world deal. Also, I think I might want to try out the audiobook at some point. I would like the musical inserts, I think.

    • I SURE DO LOVE WHERE SHE WENT. Like I want to marry it. Does that count?

      The audiobooks are good. They're short – both are 5ish hours – I think if you do re-reads for readathons, they'd be perfect. And OH OH OH Dan Bittner reads Where She Went. Lord have mercy. That character and that narrator.

  4. I feel like If I Stay is one of those books I'd go back and not enjoy as much on a re-read. Where She Went is like that for me too. I think when I first read these two, I was just SO SURPRISED by their depth and I feel like a re-read would make me disappointed. With Just One Day, I already WAS a little disappointed on the first read, so I think a re-read would make me love it all the more. I really want to go back to this duology, though…Great review, Asheley! 🙂

    • I think staying away from Just One Day for this long has probably kept me from being disappointed – I'm ready to read it now and Heather has let me borrow her copy since my library does not have one yet. I'm not sure that I'll revisit If I Stay again, but I'll certainly re-read Where She Went. Good gracious, that one was really excellent, in my opinion. But it was so different from this one. (I always connect better to male pov's too for some reason.)

  5. We've talked a little about this book, and while I liked it more than you (and I did tear up a little, especially where Mia's little brother was concerned) I was not overwrought with emotion. What I did like was 1) BF Kim– she totally ROCKED. One of the best BF's in YA I can think of and 2) how much punch was packed into this super slim (at least in my opinion) novel. I am amazed at how much Forman was able to put into this book considering it was such a quick read.

    I'm glad you did the re-read and glad that the audio worked better for you in the end:)

  6. Well, that's great that you were able to at least enjoy the story better through your second reading, even if you've also realized that this will never be a favorite contemporary of yours. If I Stay is so short that I'm kind of tempted to give it another go at some point, but I'll see. I felt incredibly similarly to you about the whole disconnect with Mia. It is a sad story, but one that did not elicit any emotions from me personally.

  7. My feelings about this one are more in line with yours. When I first finished it, I had more of the "that was all?" feeling about it. It wasn't that I didn't like it – just that I didn't really connect to it in the way that everyone else seemed to be connecting. I had no desire to cry when reading it. It was good, but wasn't that memorable. However, I read Where She Went immediately after and that gave me better feelings about If I Stay. I'm really glad you read the companion book this time around!

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