Book to Movie Review: If I Stay

Posted March 14, 2015 / Book to Movie Reviews / 5 Comments

the basics

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Read my review of the book here.

True to Book: four-half-stars Casting: four-stars Enjoyability: four-stars Overall Score: four-stars

Goodreads Book Plot Summary:

Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?

Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it’s the only one that matters.

If I Stay is a heartachingly beautiful book about the power of love, the true meaning of family, and the choices we all make.

review h

This was such a great adaptation! I’m super impressed overall. I think there were a few areas where it could have been better, but definitely nothing major. I totally cried on numerous occasions.

True to the Book

I can’t give this aspect a full five stars for some reason, but this was really spot-on to the book. (As far as I can remember!)  I actually didn’t like the book as much as I had hoped, but knew it had the potential to be a great movie. I’m trying to think of actual places where the book and the movie diverged, but there aren’t too many. The only thing that bugged me a bit was that the movie was focused mostly on Adam. It showed why she should stay a little more than why she should go. I feel like one thing the book did really well was show how hard of a choice it was; the parents and her memories with them were so fleshed out in the novel. In the movie, most of the focus was on Adam. It certainly showed some of her parents and you could feel that it was a hard decision… but I just think Gayle did a better job of putting “stay” and “go” on an equal playing field.


The main characters were well-cast, I think. Chloe Grace Moretz looked exactly how I pictured Mia. (That’s probably because I read it around the time the movie was coming out in the first place. HA!) Adam, played by Jamie Blackley, was another good one (appearance-wise). Something bugged me a little about their acting though. It was kind of awkward? I know Mia was at first intimidated by Adam, his friends, and dating him – but I think it was a little overdone here. After they were dating for a while there really wasn’t any awkwardness in the book. Maybe it’s just something the actors brought to the table for some reason. The parents were definitely cast well, too.


I really enjoyed this one! I cried quite a bit, as I expected, and was definitely moved by the story. The person I watched it with hadn’t read the book and she really enjoyed it as well. I can tell that this would be a movie I’d like even if I hadn’t read the book. I don’t have many complaints!

Have you seen IF I STAY yet? Did you read the book? How do you think it stacked up?


5 responses to “Book to Movie Review: If I Stay

    • Yes! Exactly! I kind of alluded to that in my review – that I think the book does a good job of really showing how difficult of a choice it was because her family was so amazing. In the movie, it’s mostly about Adam and why she should stay. I feel like it was more evenly distributed and you could see both sides better in the book.

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