If I Stay by Gayle Forman is the story of a teenage girl named Mia who, in an instant, has her life completely turned upside down when her and her family are involved in a car accident on the slippery snowy roads of Oregon in the winter. Mia is critically injured, and somehow has the ability to watch the chaos that ensues around her from a ghost-like point of view.
throughout the book she relives parts of her life that had the most impact on her - including the day she met her boyfriend, Adam and the day her little brother, Teddy, was born. as she lies in a coma in the ICU of the hospital, she remembers the significant moments of her life and watches the reactions of her family and friends as they deal with the aftermath of the accident.
she realizes that she must make a choice regarding her presence on Earth... should she stay and suffer the emotional turmoil that is sure to come after such a tragedy, or should she go and leave those around her even more heartbroken?
let me start off by saying that I read this book in a mere 48 hours. I began on Thursday evening (June 2nd) after finishing the latest Sookie Stackhouse installment, and finished Saturday evening (June 4th) after returning home from an evening out with friends. I found it extremely difficult to put the book down in order to be social (or employed, for that matter), and when I wasn't reading, I was thinking about the story.
this book will easily be placed in my top 10 favorite books,m and subsequently, I gave it a solid 5 stars on GoodReads. the fact that the entire book spans a 24 hour period amazes me. the descriptions of her memories are vivid and clear, and although Mia doesn't remember the accident, you can picture it, and you feel like you are living through the devastation of the day.
you love the characters like they're your own family and friends, and you hurt right along with them too. the emotions that are expressed throughout the novel are so well depicted that I was in tears many times, which is always a sign of a well written book, if you ask me.
Mia's love of the people around her is contagious and heart warming. her obsession with classical music and her ability to excel as a cellist is admirable and is an aspect that was necessary for this book to succeed. I think what really pulled me in about Mia is her maturity - I didn't feel like I was reading about a 17 year old girl, at ALL. she is wise beyond her years and although most teenagers are so caught up in popularity and acceptance, Mia is happy with herself, which is refreshing.
although the book is labeled as being YA, it didn't read like most young-adult stories. there were no annoying love triangles or internal "who am I" struggles. it was just a simple, albeit brilliant, story about a girl and her choice.
Forman did an A+ job with this novel. I've already ordered the sequel, Where She Went and I cannot wait to dive in!