I realize now that dying is easy. Living is hard” – If I Stay by: Gayle Foreman
Initial Thoughts: I remember when I was in high school, I was assigned to do a project with a girl that I didn’t know very well. Trying to find something to talk about, I found my eyes roaming towards the book on her desk. This book was If I Stay by Gayle Foreman. She told me that this was her second time reading the book because she really connected with the main character, Mia, as she is a musician herself. Year later, I decided to give this book a try.
Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?
Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it’s the only one that matters” – Goodreads
I’ll admit it, I cried. Yes, this is yet another tear-jerker type of book whose success is almost comparable to The Fault in Our Stars by: John Green. If I Stay tells the story of a promising young cellist named Mia Hall. Mia is just a typical teenager with a best friend, amazing parents, a sweet brother, a promising career, and a devoted boyfriend. When Mia decides to apply to Julliard – thousands of miles away from her home, she finds herself undecided about her life. Then, on one snowy February day, Mia finds herself on the brink of life and death after she and her family are in a terrible car crash. Now, Mia is forced to make a terrible choice. Will she live on in spite of knowing that her parents are dead? Or will she let herself die to be with her parents while abandoning her dreams? It’s a heart-breaking choice. Regardless of her choice, she knows is destined to loose something.
The structure of the book is very unique and fits appropriately with the genre of story. The story is told in flashbacks of Mia’s life. Gradually the readers find out just how much Mia has to loose and just how devastating and challenging a teenager’s life really is. Mia’s parents are amazing parents who are ready to accept Mia for who she is. Even though Mia’s dad is an ex-rock star and her mom used to be her dad’s groupie, they are ready to embrace Mia’s passion for playing classical music. Their words of wisdom and playful nature makes them feel very real. As I got to know them better through flashbacks, I found myself grieving for their deaths as Mia does throughout the events of the story.
As Mia is remembering the past, her body remains in a coma. However, Mia’s (spirit? consciousness? essence?) is very much awake and alive. She can see and heard everything going on around her in the waiting room and at her bedside. Meanwhile, Mia is invisible to her loved ones who keep vigil hoping that she will wake up. Although the story is completely improbable, the choices that Mia has to make is similar to nearly any young adult. Growing up is frightening. Sometimes things happen that are completely out of our control and our seemingly infinite choices are narrowed and full of consequences. The sense of helpless urgency throughout the novel is extremely relatable, even for those who haven’t been in a situation like Mia’s.
Although this book was a powerful tear-jerker (normally, I avoid tear-jerkers because I cry way too easily), I really enjoyed this story. It is a very unique story which dives into the heart of an uncomfortable subject. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy coming-of-age stories, and tear-jerkers such as The Fault in Our Stars by: John Green. I would also recommend Where She Went, the sequel to If I Stay if you enjoyed If I Stay.
About the Book Title: If I Stay Author: Gayle Foreman Series: If I Stay (Book #1: If I Stay, Book #2: Where She Went) Pages: 201 Year Published: 2009 Genres & Subjects: Fiction, Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Until Next Time,