If I Stay by Gayle Forman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
If I Stay is one of those books that so many people blogged about in a way that made me want to read it. I found at bargain price on Amazon and ordered it. Then, it sadly sat on my bookshelf for almost two years, because I am one of those people who have so many books on my tbr pile, but something else is always coming out and catching my eye. I finally picked this book up for a Words with Friends reading challenge. I should never have waiting so long to read it.
The book begins with Mia and her family excited about a snow day. They make plans for a family outing but are in an accident on the way. One minute Mia is listening to her favorite cello music, and the next she is looking down at her own body and witnessing the carnage of this terrible accident. Mia follows her body to the ICU and she waits there, watching as her friends, grandparents and other extended family visit. Mia is faced with an incredibly hard choice of whether or not to stay, to live without her family or to let go and rejoin her family in the afterlife. The story is told through these moments where various people in her life beg her to stay or tell her its ok to go, and through Mia’s memories of moments in her life.
I love Mia as a character and I really feel for her. She has an amazing family. One of the things I love most about this book is how close Mia and her family is. So often in YA, the teen doesn’t trust his or her parents with the issues they are facing and suffer because of it. Mia talks to her parents about things. She adores her family, including her little brother. Mia’s family is very different. They love music and they love their children. They seem like a lot of fun. They’re also very supportive. They are all very close and so it is a tear jerking moment when she loses them.
Mia is a cello player and she is very dedicated to her music. She is very passionate about it. Mia’s family is very rock and roll but they support her in her cello obsession. Mia has been accepted to Julliard and with this acceptance comes a hard decision. Mia’s boyfriend, Adam, has a rock band and they have just become successful. In order to attend Julliard Mia will have to leave Adam. Their relationship, is the kind of relationship that had they both been older, probably would be one of those relationships that lasts forever. Unfortunately they are both young, and they love too much too fast, and in order to pursue their dreams they will have to make a tough decision about their relationship and their dreams.
Mia’s choice is one of the most difficult choices I’ve ever read. Her story is achingly beautiful, sometimes funny, and heartbreaking at times. This is the first book that has made me cry in a while. Mia’s whole live is touched upon in the book and the normal every day life of a teen is made into something beautiful, relatable, and overall hopeful. This is one of the best written stories I’ve read in a long time. The character development is so well done that I felt like I know these people, and I felt their heartbreak and their love. The overall theme of this book that stands out the most to me is the great deal of love that shines through this entire book.
I would recommend this book to older teens and adults.
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