Saturday, April 4, 2015

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

I'm sure there isn't a person alive who hasn't heard of "If I Stay". I truly had high hopes for this book. I know a lot of this book's popularity stemmed from the movie hype. Despite that, I honestly thought maybe the book had merit on it's own. Imagine my disappointment when I learned how wrong that assumption was. I thought surely they wouldn't make a movie out of a mediocre book. Obviously I've learned nothing from the ''Twilight'' debacle.

Technically speaking, I had no real complaints with the book. The author's technical ability is about what I'd expect from your typical YA author today. It pains me to say that, but it's true. Although I don't agree with it, it seems the publishing powers that be don't expect much from their YA authors in terms of technicality. Truthfully, I believe the demand for quality writing has all but disappeared across all demographics. However, that is an entirely separate post.

Back to the technical aspects of this book. As previously stated, the author's writing was about on the level of what I expected. The prose was certainly not beautiful as in some books I've had the pleasure to read, but neither did I feel as though a child had written the book. The writing was easy enough to read although I would have preferred a bit more "grownup" writing. Thankfully the author was not a fan of endlessly using the same phrase and her vocabulary, though not scholarly, was sufficient. 

Perhaps the simplistic writing is why the characters felt very shallow and one dimensional. I truly did not connect emotionally with any of the characters. Yes, there were times throughout the book where certain situations made me tear up, but a book like this should have ripped my heart out and stomped on it. Instead I found myself responding emotionally to a line here or there that reminded me of something in my life. For example, at one point Mia states in her narration, ''I'm not sure this is a world I belong in anymore. I'm not sure that I want to wake up." While I understood why Mia was saying this, the tear in my eye was not for a character I really couldn't connect with, but for myself and all the times I've felt like that. 

The premise of this book was so incredibly promising. This book should have been an incredibly emotional read. Instead I was left feeling like that's it? By the end of the book I was completely unfulfilled and incredibly disappointed. I feel like the author really missed the mark. The length of the book seems too short as well, but I wonder if that may simply be a result of a completely unfulfilling read. In fact, I'm almost sure of it.

As for age appropriateness, there really isn't anything horrid in the book. My only caution would be to warn that there is considerable use of the "F-word". There is also mention of premarital sex, but no detail. Ultimately, I'd say this book is safe for its intended audience. 

All things considered, I truly believe there are better books out there that would be more fulfilling. However, if you're looking for a quick, easy read, this book will do. 

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