Title: If I Stay
Author: Gayle Forman
A critically acclaimed novel that will change the way you look at life, love, and family.
In the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces- to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make. Heartwrenchingly beautiful, Mia’s story will stay with you for a long, long time.
On their way to her Aunt’s house, her family is their usual cheery selves. They are arguing over the radio station and the music. Her parents lived for music, as did she. With her parents and her brother, they begin their day, ready for an adventure, little did they know that they would find a tragedy instead. A ghost, or a spirit, something on the plane between the worlds, she watches from afar. The bloodied snow, the smashed car, and the bodies. That’s the part that scares her most. As she follows her own body to the hospital, she worries about who’s still alive in her family, who’s still there for her.
This story is utterly heart wrenching. The books begins with the preliminary scenes, the family talking about the future, worrying about the weather, and deciding to visit family. After the crash, we experience what Mia sees in her spirit form. As time passes while she’s a ghost, her history runs through. Stories about her past, her boyfriend, her love of music, her connection with her family, all of this is told throughout the story as Mia looks for what’s left to live for. Flashing back and forth between the past and the present, we see many sides of Mia and watch as she struggles to stay in this world, partially ready to move on, go with those who died. However, a part of her waits, hoping for something, anything, that will give her the initiative to live another day, to return to her body, to her, now broken, life.
This story was amazingly and beautifully written and I HIGHLY recommend it.
World Building: 5/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.00/5
“If you stay, I’ll do whatever you want. I’ll quit the band, go with you to New York. But if you need me to go away, I’ll do that, too. I was talking to Liz and she said maybe coming back to your old life would be too painful, that maybe it’d be easier for you to erase us. And that would suck, but I’d do it. I can lose you like that if I don’t lose you today. I’ll let you go. If you stay.”
“It’s okay,’ he tells me. ‘If you want to go. Everyone wants you to stay. I want you to stay more than I’ve ever wanted anything in my life.’ His voice cracks with emotion. He stops, clears his throat, takes a breath, and continues. ‘But that’s what I want and I could see why it might not be what you want. So I just wanted to tell you that I understand if you go. It’s okay if you have to leave us. It’s okay if you want to stop fighting.’
For the first time since I realized that _spoiler_, too, I feel something unclench. I feel myself breathe. I know that Gramps can’t be that late-inning pinch hitter I’d hoped for. He won’t unplug my breathing tube or overdoes me with morphine or anything like that. But this is the first time today that anyone has acknowledged what I have lost. I know that the social worker warned Gran and Gramps not to upset me, but Gramps’s recognition, and the permission he just offered me–it feels like a gift.
-Mia’s Grandfather and Narration (Mia)
“But I’d understand if you chose love, Adam love, over music love. Either way you win. And either way you lose. What can I tell you? Love’s a bitch.”
-Mia’s Mother (I believe..)