If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Came out: April 9, 2009
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Age Group: Young Adult
In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...A sophisticated, layered, and heartachingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make—and the ultimate choice Mia commands.
My reaction to this book was this: "..." I was speechless. It took me about twenty minutes to calm down. Fat tears were rolling down my face and they were impossible to stop. "Heartachingly beautiful" is right. The gorgeous quality of this book was how powerful and strong it was. It was slightly raw, while being elegant and beautifully written.Mia is one of the strongest characters that I have ever had the pleasure of reading about. I loved her strength and shock as new memories and surprises flooded her in her comatose state. I found myself immersed fully in this book, transported to the in-between place where Mia silently observed.This book was different than how I thought it would be. Not better or worse, just different. With a stunning fashion similar to Before I Fall, Mia explores these new developments and how it affects her family, friends, and how love can help her through it. She faces the toughest choice: stay or go? Family or people left behind? She finds herself drawn to her surroundings and desperately trying to find the answer.Beautiful. Icy. Elegant. Sad. Heartbreaking. Insightful. Poignant. This book is all of those and more! I'm on a vacation, but I couldn't stop myself from tearing through this book while we drove around! I simply HAD to write a review right now. I love love love the relationships built and recalled all throughout this book as Mia tries to find a balance.Adam and Kim added a wonderful element to the book. They tried anything to be able to support and see Mia and they were continually reminisced about by Mia. She talks about their friendship and love. They were great additions to the story and I look forward to hearing more about them. You see how strong and how fragile they could be all at once. You could see how much they cared about Mia and how much their words influenced her final decision. Stunning secondary characters MADE this novel. Gran and Gramps added a family touch that remided me strangely enough of Grandma from the House of Night books. The angels and the passages where Mia reflected on experiences and the world made this novel unique. It was brilliantly crafted with a new direction that few take: the choice. Mia is stuck and she decides where to go. You wonder about the inner tunings of the world and how music, love, and death shape society.The music was a major part of this book. I identified with Mia, and musicians will love this book. With her love for classical and her punk-rock boyfirend and parents, it appeals to a variety of tastes. And surprisingly, music played a large role in Mia's decision. I loved to see how it affected Mia and the people around her. I was interested that music played a major role all through this book. It had to do with memories, her family, and her uncertain future.Surprises and shock saturated this book. It was so achingly sad, but it still managed to convey a refreshing air. This book is the work of a master! Recommended for anybody who loves: Before I Fall; Sold; The Ghost and the Goth; Code Name Cassandra; North of Beautiful; Girl Overboard; The Dust Factory; books about limbo; etc,.Possible book club questions:Do you think that Mia's choice of classical music was a form of rebellion?What choice do you think that she should have made? Use examples from the story to support your answer.How would the story have been different if Mia had played a different instrument?Do you think that the actual instance of the accident should have been more detailed? Why?The nurses must see a lot of patients in similar situations. Why does Mia in particular call out to them as someone that they cherish?Why do you think Adam's band was so eager to help? Do you think that it was because of Adam, or because they knew Mia from concerts?How did the Halloween night influence Mia's self-esteem? Has anything similar helped yours before?etc,.