Friday, 20 February 2015

'If I Stay' and 'Where She Went' (Book Review #2 #3)

          You don't just read books like 'If I Stay' and 'Where She Went' and get over them in a single day. Such books stay with you forever. They make you believe in love, tragedy and above all, in life. The story is so captivating that it is impossible to keep the book down. Gayle Forman has written this story with such conviction and flow that you get engrossed in it quickly. And without even knowing, you are hooked to it! Even if it is a continuous series, the actuality of both the books differs a lot. 'If I Stay' is nothing like 'Where She Went' and vice versa and yet both of them turn out into a lovely story. (This review contains spoilers.)
          Starting with the characters, I loved them all. Mia is someone who is passionate about the cello. Her intensity in playing music is very inspiring. She is a very sweet girl to have to go through all the tragedy. Adam (Mia's boyfriend) is a very handsome and punk guitarist who is in a band named 'Shooting Star'. The love story of this guitarist and cellist is the most amazing romantic story I have read. Mia's mom and dad; Kat and Denny's love story isn't less romantic. Then there's Mia's baby brother; Teddy, who I loved the most (which is obvious.) Mia's best friend, Kim is literally what every girl seeks in a bestie.

          The book, 'If I Stay' is partly into flashbacks and partly in the present. Needless to say, I loved both the parts. Even though there is more of life in the flashbacks and more of death in the present, it just makes perfect sense because it develops a sync with the reader. Mia's various roles are seen in the flashbacks. The role of a daughter, sister, friend and a girlfriend. The cute love story between the popular guy at high school and an average classical-music-obsesssed girl is sweet. This is a love story of two musicians. Reading 'If I Stay, was a whole new experience. It was not a cliche young adult fiction book. Sure, it had a beautiful love story but it also had a death story. Mia's ghost felt impossible but it also felt very real. Mia and Adam's love story felt like a lot of sadness but it also felt like perfection. Mia's family felt so alive and then they weren't.
          After finishing 'If I Stay', I was speechless. I just sat there holding the book dearly and trying to bring myself back to reality. What I felt was wonder and magic. I was astounded by it. Decisions, I believe now, are something that we ought to make by ourselves. Every decision is going to have its impacts. It doesn't really matter what impact it has on others. It matters what impact impact it has on us. Mia decided to let go and it was okay but then something changed and she decided to live. She stayed for the people she loved and the things she loved. She stayed for her cello and for Adam. The power of love made her stay.

          'If I Stay' ended with Mia waking up and hence I was keen on reading 'Where She Went'. The sequel is conveyed by Adam, three years after the accident. It was a lot to take in as the theme totally changed. Adam and Shooting Star became an international band with huge popularity and fan following. And somehow Adam became 'that kind of guy'. I, for one, danced around when Adam finally met Mia at Mia's first ever official concert at the Carnegie hall. It was destiny or it may have been Mia's dead family that got Adam to Mia. Their first conversation in three years was very hurtful as it was very professional. But later they were on a New York farewell tour. They visited all of Mia's favourite places; the garden, bus station, the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge. Then finally, it was time to get some answers and for mysteries to resolve. Mia had known things which she wouldn't possibly have known. She may not have known that she roamed around the hospital as some sort of a ghost but she was aware of everything that happened when she was lying on the hospital bed. She dealt with the death of her family and it became a positive energy for her when she escaped Oregon. They were close to her through their voices. As for Adam, he broke his vow and Mia had every right to to be mad and she chose to move on as she hated him. As the ending comes near, I was hoping for them to get back together somehow and they did. I loved the part where Mia plays her cello and Adam plays his guitar. It was a pleasant, rhythmic and aesthetic pleasure to behold.
          I felt a mixture of all the feelings; happiness, sadness, fear, hope and pleasure throughout the reading experience. There was a surge of happiness when they both finally meet. There was sadness over the kind of life Adam was leading. There was fear of not wanting them to break up and move on all over again. There was hope for their patching up. There was freaking out at Kat, Denny and Teddy's dead voices but there was also some weird kind of belief about their super naturalness. There was pleasure for the constant love for music in their lives. At the end, all that was left was a feeling of completion. The invisible broken pieces filled up, making me feel whole and complete. I felt free. 

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