Tuesday, July 12, 2011

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Published Date: April 9th 2009
Pages: 196, Paperback
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: Speak
My Rating: 4/5

In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeenyear- old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she fi nds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...

A sophisticated, layered, and heartachingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make - and the ultimate choice Mia commands.

I've been seeing this book on the shelves for quite sometime but I've never gotten the urge to buy it, but eventually, I did. I gulped this book down in just a few hours. I simply loved it. Our main character, Mia has led a very pleasant life, filled with her quirky family, music, and Adam, her caring boyfriend. But then one fateful morning, as she was in the car with her family, an accident happened. She almost barely survived, and was taken into the hospital. Her parents and brother had slipped away. Then somehow as she is in this state of comatose, her soul seemed to 'separate' from her body and she's able to see everything happening around her.

I was taken on this journey with Mia, as she sees her family members deal with her situation, including Adam. She's left there with nothing to do but watch them and also make that decision, whether she should stay or go. But, she also gives us these wonderful glimpses of her past. I got to know what she's like, who she is and where she came from. Gayle Forman did a wonderful job to combine those past recollections and the present with such ease. I also got to know her family, her fast-talking, sassy mother and her cool musician dad. They were such real and genuine characters, you can't help but get the feeling that you know them. And Gayle has written like she knows them herself. I was also impressed at the relationship between Mia and Adam, it was not cliche'd at all. Music plays a big part in this book and they way Mia talks about it, I could totally relate to her. With almost 200 pages, it's amazing how Gayle is able to put so much emotion into her writing. I felt for Mia.

There were a lot of tender moments in the book, but I wasn't so caught up in that sadness until the last 100 pages or so. Even through the gloomy topic of life and death, her past recollections gave us the feeling of hope, joy, and there were moments where I laughed quietly to myself. I could see that there is that struggle between going with what is easy and to pluck up the strength and courage to go through the difficulties; whether she should go or stay. Whether she should go and join her parents and brother or to come back and deal with the heartwrenching loss and keep on living. It's very evident in what Mia said, "Life is hard, death is easy" . This book is very humbling and you can't help but think about the things worth living for, the things you take for granted, it makes you think about your family and your friends. This book also taught me about moving on. I bet there will be a lot of pain in the beginning, and that denial. But gradually that pain will lessen, the love and the memories will keep the people you lost and love, alive.

"Sometimes you make choices in life, and sometimes choices make you"
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