So, 2018 brings with it many New Year’s resolutions. One of my aims of this year is to get more enjoyment from reading. Whether at home, in a forest or on a warm sunny beach I’ve challenged myself to read 52 books in a year. You’re probably thinking why? I find reading an escapism from daily life, immersing myself into the texts, entwining with the words, the characters and the places.

Gayle Forman – If I Stay

Well I don’t know where to start with this. It was a mystery purchase as I happened to buy the trio of books as it was a fantastic offer at just £5.99 for the set, so I thought I would give it a go without reading anything into this set. All I previously knew was that it had been made into a film in 2014. The story is set in America and follows a girl’s decision when she is left with grief, loss and inner conflict to whether she should stay or go. Mia is involved with a fatal crash which sees the demise of her entire family. You follow her path from the lead up to the crash to her out of body experience and her decision as to whether she wishes to live or die.

The story is life affirming from the offset, you are introduced to Mia a 17-year-old incredibly gifted cello player who has the possibility of going to one of the most renowned music schools and whether she goes to achieve her dreams or stay with her equally talented musician boyfriend and family. The crash then leads everything hanging in the balance when she is the only person from her family to survive, she questions whether to live her life with the grief or to let go and be re-joined with her family.

We then go on to see Mia’s out of body experiences of her watching her family and how they are dealing with her parents and brother’s deaths and how they keep going for Mia who is in a critical condition. The ending of the book makes you want to read on to find out Mia’s fate as it ends on a huge cliff hanger which makes you want to know more.

The age range for this book is from 14 years and above however I really enjoyed this as an adult and would recommend to my friends, I wouldn’t have known this was a teen book if it wasn’t for further research. The book highlights just how precious life is and how it can be changed in an instant, the story was gripping, and I managed to read the full book in 2 days. When I started I just couldn’t put the book down? I am looking forward to reading the next book in the sequel Where She Went. I also will be searching for the movie to see if it lives up to the brilliance of the book.

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