If I Stay is the first of two books (the second book is Where She Went) that tells the story of Mia who lost her entire family in a freak car accident. Suddenly the perfect life Mia seem to have is gone. Mia herself is not spared from the accident because she is in critical condition at the ICU. The weird thing is, Mia can see her own self at the hospital bed and can hear the grief of her relatives. Is she dead? Is she a ghost?
This is not an entirely ghost story, the kind of ghost story that is popular during Halloween, and though If I Stay contains paranormal elements, these are not presented in a spooky way. Somehow, this book reminds me of The Lovely Bones, minus the catch-the-murderer suspense. At best, If I Stay is a highly emotional read. I am not a fan of the supernatural but Gayle Forman managed to tell a story about living and dying through the eyes of Mia’s “ghost” without necessarily freaking me out.
I love Mia. I love that she is honest with her feelings, of her fears and struggles. My heart goes out to her as she carries the indecision of whether to go or stay. Who would want to live when everything you live for is taken away from you?
But there is Adam. And there is music. Will these be enough to make Mia stay? I love the premise of the story and how it all beautifully wrapped up in the end, including the highly suspenseful cliff-hanger ending! And I love how Gayle Forman weaves through the lives of each of the characters through periodic flashback scenes.
If I Stay is a short read and is made even quicker by the fast pace. I finished this in one day and it has taken much effort for me to immediately start the sequel. This is certainly one of my best reads for this year. Gayle Forman is a new favorite. I will definitely watch out for her upcoming books.
“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 just 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.”
32/50 2011 Goodreads Reading Goal.