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Sex on Earth: A Celebration of Animal Reproduction
Jules Howard

If I Stay

If I Stay - Gayle Forman This novel is claimed to be "heartwrenchingly beautiful" it's not....it could have been...but it wasn't. The overbearing music aspect was one of the biggest issues I had with the novel. Mia is obsessed with the cello, passionate may be a better word but it comes off as obsessed. A majority of the flashbacks involve the cello or some sort of music scene that became tedious.

The cello bits were extremely boring and made me wish Mia had some other hobbies. Also I felt the author's presence far too often when it came to the music inclusions, such as judging the use of Teddy singing "School's Out" when in fact school was out. The back of the book includes the author's own self-absorbed reasoning for including different songs, musicians and such. I love music but this was a level beyond what I care to hear about it.

A major eye roll moment for me was when Mia and her boyfriend Adam play each other like instruments. What? Does anyone actually do this and why the hell would you? The scene felt so awkward and ridiculous. Why? Just why?

As far as Mia's relationship with Adam was concerned, she mentioned her insecurities regarding it many times. How could someone like Adam be with her? Well I had the same question despite the multiple supposed assurances included in the book. The relationship just did not jump off the pages or seem very deep to me the way it was written.

This book did not trigger an emotional reaction or investment, it felt bogged down by the lack of interesting main character (Mia is just perfect isn't she?) and too-cool parents (come on, everyone wants really awesome parents like these but they don't exist and if they do, they do not produce such level-headed children as these). Most characters, including family members we are supposed to care about, are surface level at best, not much depth. So why exactly should I feel any loss? The best character and best relationship written was with the best friend Kim. She was realistic and solid.

Between the music, surface level characters and constant flashbacks which distracted from the present, I failed to find the book overly appealing. However, I will give the sequel a chance as it is told from Adam's point of view, a change from Mia is very welcome.