If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Sometimes you make choices in life and sometimes choices make you.

Published: 2009

Nominations: Goodreads Choice Awards Best Young Adult Fiction

Film Adaption: 2014 – Trailer

Genre: Young adult contemporary fiction



Mia from a distance had everything: a best friend, a loving family who she felt alien to, a beautiful rocker boyfriend which music meant everything, and a bright future of music. Till one day it is all taken from her. Caught between life and death, you follow Mia through memories remembering what it was like to truly live. While left an orphan in a coma, she makes the decision to stay without a family and live on with her life or live on in death with her family.



5/5 stars


Why I Recommend

Hands down this is one of the best young adult contemporary novels I’ve read! And the movie is just as amazing. The main conflict is beautiful and heart triggering, and even though I read the book a thousand times before I saw the movie, it was so good it even made me question the ending! So if you’re not an avid reader, definitely give the movie a shot. Aside form Mia’s choice to live or die, there is also the small conflicts Mia faces as she goes through memories. Her boyfriend, music, finding where she belonged. It’s so fascinating to see the memories she comes back to to help her decide.

I’d like to put in here that this book isn’t “music geek meet rocker, falls in love, gets in car crash, and is saved by her prince rocker.” To some who doesn’t truly examine the thoughts of Mia it may seem like that, but really it is so much more.

This book inspired me as well for so many things. I was introduced to classical music and is yet another genre I fell in love to appreciate, one day I would also like to visit where this book takes place, Oregon. This book made me open my eyes to really be grateful for my family, and as well as simply love. Not to mention, Adam is just so dreamy.

Here are some of my favorite quotes…

 “Love, it never dies. It never goes away, it never fades, so long as you hang on to it. Love can make you immortal”

“She didn’t care that people called her a bitch. ‘It’s just another word for feminist,’ she told me with pride.”

“The you you are now is the same you I was in love with yesterday and the same you I’ll be in love with tomorrow.”




I’m beginning to really enjoy and get excited when books provide discussion questions.. This may get out of hand.

  1. Discuss the meanings of “sacrifice” and “choice”. How are they different? How are they similar? There is in my opinion a very fine line between sacrifice and choice. It is the situation I believe that divides it to make it a easy choice, or giving up to make a sacrifice. They are different in the way of how the thing they choose to give up if left behind. Similar because the thing they are giving up for, is better.
  2. The themes of sacrifice and choice occur throughout the story and play out in several relationships. Is Mia’s father’s giving up his own music because of his children a sacrifice or a choice? I believe that this is a choice Mia’s father makes. He knows deep down the one thing he loves more than his music is his family. And with that, it doesn’t make it a sacrifice. It makes it a choice because he loved each so much and no matter what he choose it would be like a win win decision.
  3. Kim says to Mia, “You still have a family.” What did this mean to you? What is a family? There has always been the theory family is not defined by blood but love. As Forrest Gump would say, that’s all I have to say about that.
  4. How would your response to the story be different if Mia had died? I would personally be very disappointed. It’s important I think to know life is not all about family, it is about love. Yet family is love but her family is dead. And there’s no guarantee she will be reunited with them after death. But that’s not really her choice. It is if she wants to live without them. But I feel Mia gave life a chance, after all it did to her. She gave a chance to her grandparents, to Kim, to Adam. She gave life a second chance. And that’s I think a really hard decision because life can really be a pain in the ass.
  5. Could the story have been called If I Leave? Why or why not? Even just saying If I Leave sounds weird! Don’t you think? But honestly the story isn’t about is she left. What would happen if she left. It was about if she stayed. What would happen if she stayed. That gives the story a whole new outlook because if she left, she’d just be dead to be frank. But if she stayed… there so many things to think about.


I find it fascinating the memories Mia chose to come back to. These memories nether less, destroyed her will to live but also regained strength. I wonder, what memories I would come back to. What memories would you come back to?


Thank you guys so much for joining me again! Much love to you all xo



2 thoughts on “If I Stay by Gayle Forman | Words in Between The Lines

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