In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeenyear- 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.
If I Stay by Gayle Forman is the kind of book that tugs at your heartstrings and stays with you long after you've read it. It's short, it's bittersweet, and it manages to convey a story that is both emotional and true.
After Mia's family take an ill-fated drive one snowy morning, her life changes irrevocably. Her family is killed in car crash while she remains in a coma. In the hours after the crash, Mia is cast into a sort of limbo, where it's almost like her soul has been displaced while her body is teetering between life and death. She's faced with one of the most difficult decisions imaginable: whether to stay and face having lost close to everything, or whether to leave and die.
I love the way the story unfolds: one minute we'll be reading about her in the hospital, and the next we're fully immersed in some of the most defining moments of Mia's life. Foreman's execution is flawless: my attention was the held the whole way through while we learn about her parents, her brother, her friends, her boyfriend, her life. We learn about her talents and her personality, and we see how much promise she has. Before the accident, Mia's life was near perfect: she was a talented cellist with hopes of attending Julliard, she had a loving family, and she had hopes for her future.
What really struck me about this book was the characters, their personalities, and most of all the relationship between them. The interaction between Mia and her boyfriend Adam is so sweet and beautiful. The father, the mother, the brother, and pretty much every character in this book rang true to me with their quirks and their actions. If I Stay has some of the most believable, likable characters I've ever encountered.
The music that defines Mia's life and the lives of those closest to her is another beautiful element of the book. It's one of the main subjects, and it's perhaps the one of the most compelling reasons for Mia to stay. Foreman expertly conveys the power of music and applies it to create an even more powerful story; the music made the novel all the more heart-wrenching and devastating.
I loved reading this book. It was definitely the emotion behind the story and the characters that did it for me. All in all, If I Stay is a wonderful, brilliantly crafted novel about one girl's choice to live or die in the face of tragedy. It's poignant, it's powerful, and most of all, it's unforgettable.
My Rating: I give it a 9/10. I'd recommend it to pretty much everybody.