I read If I Stay by Gayle Forman and really liked it.
There were some things I loved about it, some things I had mixed feelings about, and no hate for nuthin'.
I loved the cover. It was an easy buy at the book store. No League Of Shadows invisibility skills needed for the purchase.
I had no idea what the story was about before I started reading. When I go into a book blind, multiple things can happen. Sometimes I'm pleasantly surprised. Sometimes I'm like, "Oh, hell...vampires?" And other times the unexpected is so powerful it's as if the author somehow reached an invisible hand out of the book and grabbed me by the balls.
So yeah, Gayle Forman grabbed me by the balls (Can I say that?) right from the start.
As the story went on, though, I began to have mixed feelings about the pace. That initial attention-demanding, ball-grabbing was wearing off as the story dipped into the main character's (Mia) past. It was necessary and important in getting to know the characters, but I found myself not caring about the characters as much, and just wanting to see how the ending would play out.
I did like the characters, though. I found them to be authentic and interesting. I liked Adam (the boy). He was good to Mia and I liked watching them struggle with the idea of Mia having to leave for school. That's an issue most "young lovers" have to deal with at some point, so I'm glad Gayle Forman wrote about it in a realistic way.
One area I feel differently about than the peeps that LOVE this story, is the intensity of emotion I felt. Or, rather, I didn't feel any intense emotions while reading this story.
When I eat a reheated Chipotle burrito...it's really good. I eat it and enjoy it.
When I eat a fresh Chipotle burrito, with a side of guacamole and a coke...it's freakin' glory. (My wife accuses me of "making out" with the burrito. I personally don't think there's anything wrong with holding the burrito close to your lips and taking in the aroma before slowly sinking your teeth in.)
If I Stay was sort of a reheated burrito for me. I knew what choice Mia was going to make in the end (because there's a second book), so I missed feeling those intense emotions.
Seriously, the entire story hinges on Mia's big decision. If you already know what she's gonna decide, it takes the suspense away. Know what I mean?
With that said, I still give If I Stay 4 out of 5 reheated burritos. And, I'm definitely gonna read the second book: Where She Went.
The writing is excellent and the storytelling is unique.
I'm gonna go ice my balls now.