Book to Movie: If I Stay

There was a lot of buzz leading up to the release of the If I Stay movie adaptation and I kept seeing posts about it all over various social media sites. I really enjoyed reading If I Stay and Where She Went a few years ago so I was curious about the movie but I was fine with waiting. It was released in Singapore in early September and I got to see it last Saturday. I wanted to share my thoughts about the film, mostly in relation to the book and how I felt while I was watching it.

If I Stay movie

With Gayle Forman as an executive producer of the film, If I Stay remained true to the book. Granted, it’s been some time since I read the book but all of the major scenes that I remembered seemed to be in the movie as well. I felt like the movie had the same bittersweet tone and feel as the book, where it lets you experience the emotional ups and downs with the characters. In terms of casting, I think the actors that they chose were a good fit for the roles. Whenever I read, I don’t really get into specifics of what the characters look like and I tend to focus on the emotions they feel instead. So I’m not very particular with appearances when it comes to casting choices. This is the first time I’ve seen a movie with either Chloe Moretz or Jamie Blackley so I have no preconceived notions about them. Overall, I think Chloe did a good job of portraying Mia although I felt that she wasn’t as strong as I would have liked her to be in her emotionally heavy scenes. In some of her interviews, she mentioned that she’s a fan of the book and I think that’s a plus point for her. Jamie was also a good Adam, he was able to exude that rocker guy vibe. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that he also did Adam’s singing voice in the movie and he really knows how to play a guitar.

One of the things I really liked about the book was that it wasn’t just about Mia and Adam, it was also about their friends and family. The movie made this come alive too, and I have no complaints on the casting of the secondary characters. One of the scenes I liked best in the book was when Mia’s grandfather talks to her while she’s in a coma, and I believe the movie nailed that scene. That was one of the scenes that made me teary-eyed. The cinema was only half-full but I could hear other people sniffling as well.

One advantage the movie had over the book was that it had music. Both Mia and Adam are musicians and music is a big part of their lives and is also what brought them together. When I was reading the book, I wondered what it would be like to hear Mia playing the cello or to hear Adam singing while playing the guitar. We definitely got that in the movie. I haven’t had a chance to listen to the movie’s soundtrack after watching it onscreen but I think it sounded pretty good. I think the songs in the movie were chosen well. I really liked the bonfire scene in the movie because it seemed like such a happy, music-filled moment for everyone.

I really enjoyed watching If I Stay but similar to The Fault in Our Stars, I feel like it’s a quiet kind of movie that focuses on human interactions and emotions. I liked watching both films because I’ve read both books and I feel like that gave me a richer experience compared to just watching the movies on their own. So what I’m trying to say is I have no idea whether those who haven’t read the book will like the movie. Other people may find the flow of the scenes a bit disjointed because of the flashback format of the storytelling. Like I said, the movie worked for me and because it did, I will be keeping my fingers crossed for a movie adaptation of Where She Went.

Have you seen If I Stay in theaters? What did you think? Have you read the book and are you planning to see the adaptation on the big screen?

Favorite Literary Couples IV

It has become my tradition to celebrate Valentine’s Day here on the blog by posting my favorite literary couples in books I’ve read in the past year. I can’t believe this is already the fourth installment of this post! Kind of amazing to think that I’ve been doing this for that long. I always enjoy doing this because I love literary love stories and I even have fictional crushes (if you’re a fellow book lover, I’m sure you completely understand). So it’s nice to go through books that I’ve read and try to pick the couples that stood out for me. You can check out posts from years past through these links: 2010, 2011, 2012


Image from We Heart It

Mia and Adam from If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman – I was pleasantly surprised by how invested I was in Mia and Adam’s love story. I liked that they’re so different from each other – Mia is a classical music girl who plays the cello while Adam has his rock band – and yet they work so well together. Another aspect of their relationship that I love is how Mia’s parents are so supportive of it that Adam learns to care about them like he’s part of the family. It was so easy to fall into their story and I wanted to bang my head on a wall for waiting so long to read Gayle Forman’s books – although it was a good thing that I didn’t have to wait for a sequel and I got to read these two novels together (not like after I finished Just One Day and couldn’t wait to get my hands on Just One Year). I need to thank one of my favorite authors for pointing me in the direction of these books.

Leah and Grayson from Such A Rush by Jennifer Echols – I found out that Jennifer Echols can write a great slow burn romance when I was introduced to her writing through Going Too Far. Ever since I finished reading that book, I’ve been waiting for her books to live up to how much I enjoyed the love story in Going Too Far. That finally happened with Such A Rush with all the tension between Leah and Grayson. It took them years to finally realize that they’re attracted to each other and I had such a good time watching them circling each other, trying to decide what the next move should be. It was an added bonus that both of them are pilots because I think pilots are cool.

Beth and Lincoln from Attachments by Rainbow Rowell – Such a fun premise and a sweet romance! Even though the book was set in the 90s, I could relate to the story because of Beth using her work mail to chat with her best friend. I also found Lincoln to be a really nice guy and I thought his geekiness was cute. I loved that these two characters are close to my own age and all the characters in the book felt like they were just trying to figure out what to do with the rest of their lives, trying to make big decisions to take a step in the direction that they want to go. Seriously can’t wait to read Eleanor and Park, they sound like another couple that I could root for.

Jacqueline and Lucas from Easy – I think Easy’s love story appealed to me because of the college setting. And also because Lucas seemed like a typical bad boy when he’s really not. I’m a sucker for characters like that. Plus this relationship took time to form, both characters had to work through their own issues before they could be together. I think it’s pretty obvious by now that I’m not a fan of instalove.

Kami and Jared from Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan – Okay, so this might be considered cheating because Kami and Jared aren’t exactly a couple but what they have is even more intimate. I can’t imagine what it must be like to have someone in your head all of the time. I think that bond makes Kami and Jared unique and in tune to each other like no other couple could be (unless they could also read each other’s minds). So even if they’re technically not together as a couple, I’m including them in my list. Looking forward to the sequel (also known as the make out book)!

Oh wow, quite surprising that most of the couples in the list above are from contemporary novels. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been reading mostly contemps but it seems like I need to discover more fantasy couples in the coming year (feel free to give suggestions). And because I always have a hard time narrowing down my choices, here are the runners-up:

Harper and Travis from Something Like Normal by Trish Doller
Seraphina and Lucian from Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Violet and Martin from Her Best Worst Mistake by Sarah Mayberry
Richard and Charlotte from Steel’s Edge by Ilona Andrews
Jasmine and Sean from Amplified by Tara Kelly

But wait, there’s more! The special mention award goes to:

Lizzie and Darcy from the Lizzie Bennet Diaries – I couldn’t talk about my favorite couples without mentioning these two. So these are characters from a web series instead of a book but they’re based on Pride and Prejudice characters so I think that still counts. In case I haven’t been talking enough about the LBD here (and in both Twitter and Tumblr), I just wanted to say that I like how they modernized the love story. It’s a slow burn romance and every episode with the two of them together is scrutinized in detail by fans all over the world. I can’t wait to see how it all plays out. I refrained from posting a picture of the two of them together because I don’t want to spoil the Darcy reveal for those who haven’t reached that part yet.

Those are my favorite literary couples from books that I’ve read starting mid-February last year. Who are some of your favorite fictional couples? ♥ Would love to hear about them! One sure way of convincing me to pick up a book is by letting me know that there’s a well-written romance in there.

Linkage:
My friend Heidi of Bunbury in the Stacks also talked about her fave couples

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

I really don’t know why I put off reading If I Stay by Gayle Forman for so long. Maybe I felt like there were already too many YA novels about grief and death? But I’m a sucker for books like those when they’re beautifully written so I knew I’d read this eventually. Because of a certain Twitter conversation, I knew I was going to read If I Stay sooner rather than later.

Here’s the summary from Gayle Forman’s website:

Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, adoring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. Then, in an instant, almost all of that is taken from her. Caught between life and death, between a happy past and an unknowable future, Mia spends one critical day contemplating the one decision she has left—the most important decision she’ll ever make.

If I had known how much I’d enjoy reading If I Stay, I wouldn’t have waited so long to read it. I think Mia’s interactions with the various people in her life – parents, younger brother, grandparents, boyfriend and best friend – were done really well. It was surprising how fully fleshed out the secondary characters were, given that there were so many of them. It felt like I really got to know them as Mia looked back on her significant memories of them. If I Stay is one of those novels that are all about relationships and can make readers feel all kinds of feelings. It’s a book filled with heartache – it always is when we’re dealing with life and death situations – but I never felt overwhelmed. I admit I found certain sections of the book a bit slow but I didn’t mind because I understood that Mia had a difficult decision to make – the kind of decision that involves a lot of introspection. I find it amazing that I haven’t seen spoilers about Mia’s choice even though I’ve read so many reviews for this book. I guess the book has such a beautiful ending that people understood it would be a shame to ruin the experience for other readers.

I really liked how close Mia was with her non-traditional parents because it’s always nice to see supportive parents in YA. Mia’s parents were the opposite of strict and they reminded me a bit of my own parents. I was also a fan of the slow burn romance between Mia and Adam. How they love different kinds of music but it still brought them together – Mia plays the cello and loves classical music while Adam plays the guitar and is a member of a rock band. Their relationship isn’t perfect because they both have their issues and they had to work until they found their rhythm. I think what they have is intense and sweet at the same time. I’m not as into music as these two but that didn’t keep me from liking their love story. I know I said I liked how things ended in If I Stay and I was okay with leaving things like that but I have a feeling I’ll be reading Where She Went soon. I can’t resist, knowing that it’s written from Adam’s point of view. If I Stay is a delightful read in so many ways and is the kind of contemporary YA that I can recommend without hesitation. I’m so glad I gave in and read it. Will now be on the lookout for Gayle Forman’s other novels. Going back to the reason why I read this book, do I think Adam and Tom (from The Piper’s Son) will be mates if they ever met? Maybe. But I get the feeling Adam would get along better with Jake (from Saving June). Or they could all just form a band and have jam sessions together.

Other reviews:
Book Harbinger
Angieville
See Michelle Read
Wear the Old Coat
The Readventurer