This morning I’m kicking myself. I’ve had a copy of Gayle Forman’s book, IF I STAY, on my “To Be Read” pile for literally years. Every time I pass the copy as it sits gathering dust on my book shelf, I feel more and more guilty. So I finally picked it up a couple of days ago. Hence the kicking myself…I’m kicking myself because I didn’t read this book MUCH earlier.
IF I STAY tells the story of Mia whose entire world is shattered with an icy-day car accident. In a moment, her family is gone and Mia is left in a coma and fighting for her life in a hospital’s ICU. The entire story is told sort of as an “out of body” experience as Mia’s soul has separated from her body, and she’s “stuck” in the in-between where she helplessly watches her loved ones as they grieve for her family and pray for her recovery.
Told in alternating timelines of “then” and “right now,” the reader learns all about Mia and her family in the months and years preceding the accident. We learn of her intense love for playing the cello and her dreams of attending Julliard; her boyfriend, Adam, and his exploding music career in a rock band; the strong bond her parents shared, along with their quirkiness; and her deep affection for her much younger brother. IF I STAY is exactly what Mia has to decide…whether or not to stay in the world of the living, or leave this world and join her family in death.
IF I STAY was a wonderful read. It was heartbreaking in moments, but the storyline was one that really evoked a lot of thought and serious introspection. I would highly recommend it to YA readers, but also adults who enjoy a really great and well-told story.