If I Stay - Gayle Forman Well, I give this book props for its originality and for being a pleasant surprise. I have to say, it wasn't at all like I expected it to be. I thought I had the whole thing figured out after reading the first five pages or so. You have a setting of a typical happy family: cute six-year-old boy, quiet teenage girl who likes classical music, "quirky" parents who keep throwing jokes back and forth. So I read these few pages and know instantly that something horrible is going to happen. I refer to the summary on the inside cover of the book, where the plot is described something like "After her family dies in a car accident, Mia must decide whether to live or to join her family in death."So I'm thinking … "Okay, this book is going to suck. In two pages, her whole family is going to die in a tragic accident. Then it's going to be two hundred pages of this girl moping around, deciding whether or not to kill herself, and I'm going to be really annoyed."But it turned out I had misinterpreted the summary. What actually happens in this odd little book is that seventeen-year-old Mia spends the entire book in a ghost-like form, watching over her comatose self, having flashbacks of her life, and trying to make a decision over whether she wants to return and keep living or not.Hmm … Interesting.I'm not sure if it was quite pulled off. That is, it was a compelling read, and it had very powerful moments in it, but I don't think it reached its full potential. It fell flat in a couple of parts, I think mostly because of the characters. They weren't very interesting. They all seemed like very clichéd character roles––sort of like I said before, with the cute six-year-old and the music-obsessed teenager and the quirky parents. You also have the rocker boyfriend who drops f-bombs every few words to prove how cool he is, and the dull best friend who happens to be Jewish just to add in some diversity (but of course, it has to be mentioned every time she shows up that she is Jewish). The dialogue between the characters tended to be pretty dumb. Mia's six-year-old brother does not talk like a six-year-old (trust me, I have a six-year-old brother, and he would never say ANYTHING like "I would say you look sexy, but that's gross because I'm your brother"––there's about five things wrong with that bit of dialogue alone, and that's not mentioning all the other ridiculous things this little kid character says …) The other scene that really bothered me was the whole "PLAY ME LIKE A CELLO" sex scene. Like, I don't get how it's a turn-on to be rubbed with a bow, but … ok. I guess it's a weird music geek thing?Anyway, despite its flaws, I really liked it and I thought about it when I wasn't reading it. I loved the premise, and like I said, it wasn't at all what I expected. The writing was nice, and there were a lot of very haunting images and moments in it that I won't be soon forgetting. And even if the characters weren't very interesting, they were still likable enough. Over all, it was pretty good and I would recommend it. :)