Title: If I Stay
Genre: Realistic Fiction/Paranormal
Format: Paperback; 320 pages
Publisher: Speak; Reprint edition (April 6, 2010)
Author's Website: http://www.gayleforman.com/
Notes: I borrowed this one from the library.
But in spite of that, I believe it’s true. I hear the nurse’s words again. I am running the show. Everyone’s waiting on me.
I decide. I know this now.
And this terrifies me more than anything else that has happened today.'
Mia was a girl who had everything going for her. She had dreams of playing the cello in the New York Philharmonic orchestra. Her father was in a rock band until the time her baby brother was born and he's slowly been turning from a tattoo touting rocker in a leather jacket to a throw back from the 50's Leave It to Beaver era swapping out his guitar for the textbooks of a middle school teacher. Granted, his brand of parenting would probably clash with that of Ward Cleaver, but he gets by. Her mother was an outspoken tell-it-like-it-is feminist who doesn't pressure her daughter to do the right thing, but instead pushes her to think things through to come to the right conclusion. She loved her baby brother something fierce and will miss all of them. While perhaps not the perfect life, it was damn close. She still has a boyfriend that she loves, and a best friend who will always have her back. Grandparents who love her. In one minute, however, half of the life she'd once knew was taken away and she finds herself literally making the decision of her life. Does she go with the rest of her immediate family or stay and face the music that is life and deal with the pain and anguish that will accompany the knowledge she'll have to go on without them?
What I like about the book is it is all written from Mia's perspective. We see her first realization she's been in an accident. We gradually learn her story as she sifts through her memories. We get an intimate view of what she's lost and what she still has waiting for her if she stays. We see her inner struggle as she realizes her fate lies in her own hands and is waiting for her to choose. While at first she feels the choice is a curse, she slowly realizes its a gift because not everyone is so lucky to have a choice. We, as the reader, become the one cheering her from the sideline to make the right choice. If she stays the road ahead will not be easy. She's suffered injuries and will need healing both inside and out. Mia even admits, "I realize now that dying is easy. Living is hard."
I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. I enjoyed the emotional roller coaster. Ms. Forman knows how to bring emotion to life and draw us into the story. Perhaps not the best book to read if you recently suffered a loss, but a great great book none the less that will tug at your heartstrings.