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Monday, February 25, 2013

Review: If You Stay by Courtney Cole

Posted by Irish in Review2 Comments

Title: If You Stay (Goodreads)
Publisher: Lakehouse Press

Source: Purchased
Publication Date: 05 Feb 2013
Series or Standalone: Series
Format: ebook
Pages: 220
The Author on the Web:

Courtney Cole – Twitter
Courtney Cole – Facebook

Place(s) Traveled to: Angel Bay, Illinois // Chicago, Illinois // Connecticut
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
First Line: “Pax.” I can’t be sure that the girl said my name.
Beautifully Broken Series Order
Book 1 – If You Stay
Book 2 – If You Leave
Book 3 – Before We Fall (Dec 2013)

I first read Courtney Cole late last year when I read her young adult book Mia’s Heart (my review). Which was a fluffy, contemporary romance that I enjoyed but didn’t make me rush out to read Cole’s other works. Recently I was talking to a friend and she mentioned this new adult/adult book that she just read by Courtney Cole called If You Stay and I was intrigued enough to download a copy right there in the coffee line from my phone (oh the wonders of modern technology!)

I started to read If You Stay not long after and was immediately sucked in. That opening scene is not for the faint of heart! Pax is a jerk and the opener really sends that message. When you learn his backstory you can understand why he took the path he did but initially he isn’t the most likeable of characters. So its amazing that Mila saw through his gruff exterior and the walls he put up to see the potential that is underneath. Their relationship also reminds me of a quote that I saw on tumblr (or somewhere else on the internet, I forget) that said something along the lines of ‘girls are attracted to assholes as they are taught in grade school that that when a boy is mean to them it means they like them.’ 

This was a very eye opening quote for me as it really hit home because, be honest now, who doesn’t love that tortured and often jerkish hero in a romance? Who doesn’t love that push and pull as he falls in love and then changes into that perfect man that the heroine always knew he could be? Its one of the biggest romance novel tropes out there and its one that never seems to get old. There is no denying that the hero of If You Stay is an asshole. He admits it often and he makes no apologies. Though he does try to be better for Mila and for me its around then that this story losses a little something for me. 

I just felt that Pax’s change came to fast and it lacked a lot of the spark and tension that filled the first portion of this book. He became a little too passive for me and Mila also lost some of her spunk and fire. I read this book quickly so it did manage to hold my attention but I just wish that there was more depth in the last half of the book. Which is weird to say since that is where you learn ALL THE THINGS. So it should be gritty and raw and tearing at the heart strings. But, for me at least, these events just seemed to be a bit glossed over. 

One thing I really did like about the book though was how the narration was split fairly equally between Mila and Pax. I love multiple POV novels as they give such a well rounded reading experience. I love seeing into the heads of different characters and seeing what makes them tick. Its a writing trope that can sometimes make things too easy and can often be done poorly with too much random headjumping. Cole does a good job though and includes a name in the text right before she moves into the other characters head so the reader is never left guessing at whose POV you are in. Though with such different personalities as Pax and Mila have even without the names the reader would be able to tell.

Despite the things that I didn’t like about this book, I do know that I will be checking out the companion novel of If You Stay when it is available. That book, If You Leave, will feature Mila’s sister and so I am curious to see what her story is. If You Stay also did something that Mia’s Heart didn’t, it made me curious about Courtney Cole’s other books so once I get through a bit of my mountain of a TBR pile I will probably download more by her. 

It should also be noted that If You Stay is classified as New Adult but due to language, drug references and sexual situations that it should really be read by a more mature audience. 

In parting I thought I’d list out two quotes that I highlighted as I read the book that I feel capture both Pax and Mila well.


“Are you trying to find some sort of reason that I’ve become such an asshole? The reason is…I’m an asshole. There are some things in life that can’t be explained. Period. Assholes are assholes. Rainbows are pretty. Kittens are cute. Chick flicks are sad. Its the way of things, no explanations.” (If You Stay by Courtney Cole, pg 144)

Mila’s response:

“Things are the way they are, but everything has a reason. Kittens are cute because they are tiny fur-balls with smushed faces. Rainbows are pretty because they have every color in the world in them and they’re made from refracted light. Chick flicks are sad because chicks sometimes just need a good cry. And assholes are always assholes for a reason. (If You Stay by Courtney Cole, pg 144)

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