If I Stay


If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Life is full of difficult decisions. But for Mia, she’s faced with the hardest decision of them all. After a devastating car accident Mia learns that her cool, quirky, punk rock parents have died instantly. She’s the only one left until she finds what appears to be her younger brother Teddy’s hand sticking out in the nearby ditch. Upon closer examination, Mia finds its her hand – and her body blood soaked and sprawled out in the ditch. Teddy’s nowhere to be found. But wait – if her body’s there, how is she seeing this? How is she seeing her mother being zipped up in a body bag? How is she searching for poor Teddy? How can she hear the paramedics diagnosis?

Mia’s spirit has seemed to detach itself from her body, allowing her to see, to hear, to almost feel the chaos that’s going on around her. What started out as a normal family drive turned out to be life changing. Not only did it leave her nearly dead, but it left her orphaned. No mom or dad, and she’s quickly facing the possibility that there may be no more Teddy either.

Following her body wherever it is taken, Mia has the chance to see, from the outside in, what’s going on with her. She has the chance to see her family, Gram and Gramps, and how they are all waiting, coping, grieving, praying for her. She can see her best friend Kim curse out her own mother, she can see Adam, her boyfriend crumble to his knees. She can see all of this, but she’s physically in a coma – she shouldn’t be seeing, hearing, almost feeling anything.

Not sure of what’s really happening, or why it is happening Mia relived various key moments in her life: her first date with Adam, the day she and best friend Kim duke it out in the school yard, her trip to the Julliard audition with Gramps instead of Gram, her father’s punk rock song, her mother being a bitch as if it were a bad thing. She relived these moments and more all  while struggling with the reality that she has to make a decision.  This is a decision only she could make…

Will she stay? Or will she leave?

Gayle Forman has done the unthinkable. As heartbreaking and tragic as If I Stay is, Forman has managed to smuggle in wit, charm, and humor – things readers will never suspect. 

The driving force isn’t just the storyline or the writing, it’s Mia. Mia has such a strong voice that when you’re reading If I Stay you can hear her voice resonating in your ear. Even though she’s in a life threatening position, she can’t help but be honest and full of raw emotion. 

Short and concise, If I Stay will engage any reader. Forman has created a situation that even though we as readers would never hope to find ourselves in,  we cannot seem to stop thinking about what would we do if we were in Mia’s shoes. 

If I Stay is a powerful eye opener that doesn’t only show the tragedies that often take place in life, but shows us how human we really are, and no matter what our age is we aren’t invincible.

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