“If I Stay” by Gayle Forman

If you have either read or seen “If I Stay,” then you understand why it is so near and dear to my heart. It is a story about love and life and making hard decisions about your future. The story centers on Mia, a musically gifted high school Senior trying to find her place.

Why You Should Read It

I bought this book over two years ago and always meant to read it and never got around to it. But when I saw that it was being made into a film, I kicked my but into gear and sat down and finally read it. I can honestly now say that it is one of my favorite books to date. I laughed, I cried and I wanted to be in Mia’s world.

I finished the book in under a day. I have literally only done that four times in my life. (In case you’re wondering, the books were: “I Heart You, You Haunt Me” by Lisa Schroeder, “Breaking Dawn” by Stephenie Meyer, “Warm Bodies” by Isaac Marion and –obviously– “If I Stay.”)


Let’s Talk Positives (SPOILERS AHEAD)

The film was very well done and I loved almost every part of it. They stayed true to Mia and her personality. Adam, her boyfriend, was as perfect as when I read him. He was everything he needed to be and it was a great experience to see that on screen.

Mia’s family was just as funny on screen as when I read about them in Mia’s point of view. They were lively, funny, sarcastic and over the top – Something I wish my family could be. Imagine the fun we’d have!

One of my favorite parts in the book was Adam. Seeing how he was with Mia and how much he wanted her to be happy. When he creates a replica of the ceiling she will be looking at for her Julliard audition, it melted my heart. The movie fully did that justice.

The best thing about the fil adaptation? Mia’s song, written by Adam. Adam tells her in the book, “Don’t make me write you a song,” when he visits her in the hospital. He told her the only way he could write her a song was if she broke his heart. In the book, she never got a song; in the movie, she did (and it was beautiful!)

Now Let’s Talk Negatives

I had one major issue with the movie, and if you’ve seen the movie and read the book, you will know what I’m talking about. The break-in scene to get Adam in to see Mia.

In the book, the whole elaborate scheme to get Adam into the hospital room (where he wasn’t allowed) was much more intricate than the movie version. The book romanticized the whole ordeal. Adam got a famous friend to start a scene in the hallway and then rushed the hospital ward to get to Mia.

In the movie, it wasn’t so exciting or planned out. It was quick and left me feeling disappointed. Kim, Mia’s long time best friend is the force behind the plan and is supposed to distract the security guard while Adam sneaks in. Her scene is clever and has its moment, but it is nothing compared to the book.

Meanwhile, I had another problem with the way the movie portrayed people other than Adam in her book. As I said before, her family was great. However, it could have been better.  The book version allows for more swearing by her parents who make you, as the reader, feel like you belong. The movie didn’t include many profanities, understandably.

Another issue I had was that Mia spends a vast majority of the book worrying about her brother and if he was okay. This was only background fluff as far as the movie was concerned.

The thing is, the story isn’t just about Adam. It’s about everyone. The book illustrates that and shows us how important family and love are, not just one or the other.


I think the movie was great. I think the book was a little better though. Nevertheless, it still made me laugh, it still made me cry and it left the audience in the theater feeling like they were affected by what they watched.

When I read this book, I immediately told everyone about how great it was and tried to convince them to read it NOW. I’m still working on my roommate, the girl doesn’t want a sad book and I just want her to feel my pain as I read it! It’s not a bad thing to cry over a good storyline.

But my point is, go watch the movie. If you loved the book, you will enjoy the movie. And if you saw the movie without reading it, please go read it! IT adds more depth  and it makes you feel. Trust me on this, it’s worth it.




NEXT WEEK: “Warm Bodies” by Isaac Marion


If you want to read more about the differences, go check out this blog by Shaina Landis. She goes into more detail with her own opinions and talks about some things I didn’t mention here.


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