Gayle Forman’s If I Stay had been on my to-read list since it came out so many years ago. I feel as if I missed the wave and now I’m wading in the ocean whispering, You out there. Did you read it? Can we talk?
It does seem appropriate, as misguided as I was to put it off for so long, that I managed to buy the book twice. At my local bookstore early last week. And then, without realizing it, tucked inside a too-large online shipment. So you, my friends, can benefit from my absentmindness and win the book! Because I don’t need two of anything (except double ice cream scoops.)
There is much to say about this book. Most of it has already been said because I showed up so very late and emptyhanded to the party.
I will say that I was struck by the sheer goodness at the heart of this story and I found it refreshing.
Forman writes a main character, a seventeen year old girl, who is not brooding or sarcastic, who sits on the narrowest edge between life and death and, despite darkness, sees the light of her past, the possibility of her future. Parents who are fully present, quirky, wise and daring in their love for their daughter. A love story that is full of passion but not complicated by a third party, a series of cliched misunderstandings, or wild insecurities. Instead, these young, ambitious lovers are so sure of themselves and their love that it is their bold aspirations and dreams that threaten to tear them apart.
And despite some comparisons to Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones and Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall, I thought this book stood on its own. It is not about standing in purgatory to right past wrongs. It is about looking back on all of the quiet beautiful moments of the past and choosing to see love.
To win a copy of If I Stay please leave a comment below. If you feel like it, share a recent happy moment in the comments because my heart is full and happy after reading this book and I want to ride the wave for as long as I can 😉 I will announce the winner November 10th.