AUTHOR Gayle Foreman
PUBLICATION April 6, 2010 by Speak
READ June 10 - 11, 2012
Purchase / Goodreads
A critically acclaimed novel that will change the way you look at life, love, and family.
In the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces- to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make. Heartwrenchingly beautiful, Mia's story will stay with you for a long, long time.
I went into this novel thinking that it was about a girl who was contemplating suicide, deciding if she would go through with the act or stay alive and live. I was so very wrong, this is the story of 17 year old Mia who is in a car accident with her family and is in a sort of limbo while her body is in a coma. While she is in a coma she has an out of body experience, she watches as she is rushed via helicopter to a more capable hospital, she watches as her family mourns the loss of her parents and the potential loss of her and she watches as her boyfriend attempts to break into the ICU.
If I Stay started out as a very emotional ride and I found that the beginning was tearing at my heartstrings. As Mia realises what happened and the implications this has on her life if she should live I was a wreck. She knew that her parents were gone and was unsure of the state of her little brothers life, watching her question whether or not life is still worth living made for a very intense read. It is beautifully written and has perfect pacing, I read it in one sitting and was completely invested in the characters the entire time.
The characters were quite remarkable, my favourite being Mia's best friend Kim. Her loyalty to Mia was admirable, I also really enjoyed her attitude and her blunt way of putting things. She is the first character that brought a tear to my eye so I felt like I really connected with her. Another great person in this tale is Adam, Mia's boyfriend. The romantic relationship in this was a breath of fresh air, there was no controlling of the other person. Mia and Adam knew that their lives were headed in different directions but at no point in time did either of them attempt to make the other persons decision to benefit them. So often in YA we see relationships that have an alpha who forces his/her (more often his) way of thinking on their partner. Adam was the perfect strong, supportive boyfriend and that was something that I really appreciated.
Another aspect of this novel that was nice to see was the family dynamic. Yes, Mia's parents were unprepared to start a family but they pulled their crap together and were very supportive, present parents. Another common factor in YA is unsupportive/not present parents. I often find myself wondering to myself "where are the parents?!" They were so supportive of Mia being a cellist and they wanted to do anything in their power to help her succeed. They also had a very good relationship with her, Mia went to her mom when she was having boy trouble and he mom was the perfect listener. I can't say enough how nice that is to see in a novel!
This was an emotional story that I was totally engrossed in. I loved the characters as well as the premise and I can't wait to see where Gayle Foreman takes the characters in the follow up Where She Went. I highly recommend If I Stay to anyone looking for a great, heartfelt contemporary read.