"You must become so free that your very existence is an act of rebellion." -Albert Camus
I think that there's a lot in a reader's life that affects the rating of a book. When they read it, the mood they were in, how their day had been, what they had been reading previously, what they plan on reading next, etc. In this case, the stars aligned for my reading experience of Gayle Forman's "If I Stay," because I found it to be a nearly perfect book.
I did listen to this, rather than read it, so that my have affected my experience of it, but I honestly feel as if this is the perfect book to listen to. The reader was phenomenal, and the narration is just meant to be read aloud. The short, poetic sentences that Ms. Forman has woven together flow into each other beautifully. There were never any awkward wordings or sentence flaws that threw me out of the story.
I loved all of the characters in this story, especially the parents. When you're listening to a book instead of reading it, different things become important for you to enjoy your experience. For me, the things that became important were the character dynamics, their relationships and their dialogue. All three were excellent. Mia is a conservative teenage girl who loves her alternative family, her alternative boyfriend and her cello. Being able to hear the story from her point of view, considering she was "strangest" of them all, was really interesting. What it was like to grow up with such liberal parents and off road ways of thinking, what it is like having become someone so very different from her parents, but then falling in love with someone so very like them.
What it's like losing your parents and younger brother in one moment.
This book got to me. I did okay throughout the most of it, but the ending, where she's choosing to stay or go... I couldn't handle it. The tears were streaming down my face. I wouldn't say I was sobbing but there was a continuous trail of tears. The author wanted a reaction and she got one. Kudos to her for being able to weave a story so heartbreaking and full of hope at the same time.