Posted on September 14, 2015
Audiobook review: If I Stay (If I Stay #1) by Gayle Forman
Author: Gayle Forman
Narrator: Kirsten Potter
Story rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Audio rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Overall rating: 5 of 5 Stars
If I Stay by Gayle Forman was on my to-be-read shelf for a long-long time. Many of my friends have read and highly praised it. I don’t have a good reason why I haven’t picked it up sooner. I guess it just stayed buried under new releases. Then the movie was released, and everyone was talking about this book again. And again I stayed away. It looks like I just needed a good push to finally read it. For me such a push was a reading challenge. So I’ve finally read it. Now I’m mad at myself for waiting so long, because I loved this book. It ended up on “my-true-book-love” shelf, and I don’t give up a spot there easily.
This story is unique. What genre is it? Probably contemporary with a touch of paranormal. Such books often don’t work or me. I prefer my stories to be solid contemporaries without any paranormal distractions or paranormal novels with werewolves, vampires and other creatures. But everything worked wonderfully in this case.
Mia and her family got into a car crush. Then something strange happened, she didn’t die, she became a ghost. This book consists of Mia’s present, her memories about her parents, friends and her boyfriend Adam.
Before I started If I Stay I worried about its size. It is rather short book. It’s not an easy task to make well-developed characters, interesting plot and genuine emotions in a short format. I shouldn’t have been worried. Gayle Forman managed it all. If I Stay is so emotionally charged; I’m in awe with author’s talent. It was like I was there with Mia. I felt her confusion, her grieve, her hopes and her despair.
Gayle Forman’s writing is beautiful. Not too flourish, but easy-flowing, lyrical and emotional. I want more and more and more of her words. She takes mundane moments and transforms them into something emotionally charged and moving.
And the romance. This Romance… I loved Mia and Adam together. They are both musicians and it added something special. Music is a big part of this book. It helps us to understand characters better. Since both Adam and Mia are musicians, it’s easier for them to express themselves through music. They met thanks to music, it stayed with them, and at the end (the most crucial scene in the book) it was also music.
I planned to watch a movie, but now I’m not sure about it. I loved the book so much; I don’t think the movie can reach this level of emotions for me.
My thoughts about the audiobook
This audiobook is narrated by Kirsten Potter, and she is one of my favorite narrators. She brings so much to the story. I’m not sure she is the best choice for this particular audiobook, though. Mia is seventeen, Kirsten Potter just doesn’t sound like a 17 years old girl; her voice is older and more mature. But despite this I still recommend the audiobook, because her performance is amazing. She perfectly captured Mia’s emotions and really brought this character to life.
If I Stay is a beautiful emotional and unique story about choices, about family and friendship and love. I highly recommend it.