Book Review: If I Stay

19 Apr

Mia is on an everyday car ride with her parents and younger brother when a truck hits them from the side, killing her parents on impact and leaving her brother critically injured.  She finds herself observing unseen from a distance as her body is transported to an intensive care unit and doctors work hard to breathe life back into her.  The story progressives as she continues to watch her life in the hospital, struck with the realization that she is being given the choice to leave or to stay.

Through simple yet profound writing, author Gayle Forman gives us a story about life and love.  Met with the decision of her own fate, we follow Mia as she relives her past and comes to grips with what she has lost and what she has left.  The story flows beautifully between her time in the hospital in the present and what has happened in her past to bring her to this point, to the decision that she must make.

The stories of her past are filled with the reality of life and loss, seemingly preparing her for her present reality.  As you read, simple ideas and circumstances surrounding her stand out in your mind, helping to understand who exactly she is and why she must make the decision that she does.  Though we only really encounter her parents in the first chapter, before they meet their demise, they very much come alive throughout the rest of the novel, standing out as complex characters woven into Mia’s life.  A very deep and emotional contemporary novel, If I Stay is one that will stick in your mind and enable you to mull over your own fate and the decisions that you make every day.

If I Stay

by Gayle Forman

Published by Dutton

April 2009

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Posted by on April 19, 2011 in Book Review, Contemporary, Penguin


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