If I Stay: A Comparison Between the Book and Movie


Ava Stathakis , Public Relations/Marketing Manager

Most of the time, there’s a huge difference between a book and a movie. Important scenes and supporting characters taken out, a change in which which character does what. Not all changes are necessarily bad, but it makes a difference, especially if you read the book and go to see the movie and are looking forward to seeing a scene that ends up getting cut from the movie. Some things are just too hard to imagine I guess. This, however, was not the case for If I Stay by Gayle Forman.

Before completely diving in, here’s a quick background of If I Stay. The main character’s name is Mia, who oddly enough has no mention of a last name in the book or the movie. She is a regular 17 year old girl who happens to be extremely gifted at playing the cello. She has a boyfriend named Adam, both a mother and a father, a brother named Teddy, and her best friend Kim Schein. The book and the movie begin with the family discussing the snow day they have received and what they’re going to do with it. They decide to take a drive to see the grandparents. This is when everything takes a tragic turn and they get in a deadly car crash. Both parents pass, no spoiler, and both Mia and Teddy are in deadly condition. The crash puts Mia in a coma. The story follows what is assumed to be the spirit of Mia. She sees both herself in her unconscious condition and everything happening around her. The decision she has to make is to decide if she stays with her boyfriend Adam or moves on to be with her parents.

Although it might seem boring that the movie almost completely follows the book, it’s actually rather refreshing. Seeing everything that you imagined in your head finally on the big screen really pays off. Most movies will only take the more significant parts of the book to make the movie, but sometimes they’re hard to understand without knowing what seems like insignificant details at the time. The movie adaption of “If I Stay” has essentially the entire book in the movie, really only changing some minor details that really aren’t important. 

There were only a few significant changes between the book and the movie; however, these changes were for the better. After Mia, the main character, has her live audition for Juilliard there is a part when her Grandpa praises her about how amazing of a cello player she is and how Juilliard would be stupid not to accept her. Another part that was just completely taken out was about how Mia always felt that Teddy kind of saw her as his motherly figure, but you can kind of see that throughout the movie. Other than that, there really aren’t any changes to the movie that would completely change the dynamic of it.

All in all, the movie adaptation of If I Stay positively reflects the book. If I Stay contains teen romance, the importance of family, and highlights the way people bond in tragic situations. Whether you want to see the movie or read the book, I would highly suggest it.