Monday, May 9, 2011

Review of If I Stay by Gayle Forman

BOOK DESCRIPTION FROM GOODREADS
In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-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 finds 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.
This is the fabulous short novel of a girl named Mia. Within the first couple pages of the book we get a very brief description of what Mia's life is like. Her family, the rock & roll parents that have ever so slowly fell into the laid back lifestyle of parenthood that we all secretly wished we had to grow up around. The 10 year difference in age little brother that she has named Teddy. Her quintessential best friend Kim. And her emo-core / punk rock boyfriend Adam. These characters at the beginning of the novel are set up like chess pieces waiting to be played a little later on in the game.

The back drop for the story is a seemingly small town in Oregon. The kind of small town that gets a little crazy about a half an inch of snow and a drizzle of freezing rain. It is a day such as this that Mia and her brother have a day off school and their parents decide that it would be a good day to take a drive to the mall for some shopping and later dinner with the Grandparents. The next thing you know is that Mia is standing outside of the vehicle casting her gaze upon a catastrophic car accident. Mia discovers that she has not come out of this completely unscathed. She finds her body just as ambulances arrive on seen. These few moments of story go by breathtakingly fast and it is the perfect opening to a novel to suck you into the rest of the story. This begins the journey of a 17 year old girl and the very real decision that she needs to face. Does she stay or does she go. This was the question I asked myself probably a hundred times in the course of the few (too few) hours that I was reading this. While in the ICU of the hospital, Mia, is a bystander. She sees the doctors and nurses all frantically rushing around to see to all the damage that has been done to her. Throughout this time Mia's memory flashes back to different portions of her life. These little glimpses into her past are the glue that hold this story together. They mold what kind of person Mia is and the environment that she grew up in. This all made me feel a sort of knowing about Mia that had me pulling for to come out of this just as if I was her family waiting on the sidelines at the hospital. Another thing that I wanted to point out in this review is Mia's love for classical music. Opposed to her parents love for rock and roll and guitar strumming and drum banging music, Mia, at a very young age took an interest in playing the cello. This adds various kinds of interesting aspects to her story that continued to pull me along and keep reading. I got the impression that Mia's life before the accident was picture perfect. Of course she had her share of teenage angst but, the novel did not reveal any other huge stumbling blocks. This idea that her life was so seamlessly perfect is well played, and it is the main reason (I believe) that had her so conflicted about her decision to stay. How was she suppose to live when her family, the people she loved and cared about the most, were no longer going to be with her.

Thanks to the wonderful technological advances we have with such devices as the Kindle. I found out directly after the acknowledgements of the book that there was a sequel to this wonderful story. It is really a good thing too, because I wanted more due to the startling ending this book has. In fact, if this story did not have a sequel, I probably would have still loved it but, I would have been left to draw my own conclusions, and that doesn't usually sit well with me. Even though there is a continuation... This story will be with me for a long time. Thank-you Ms. Forman for an awesome, heart felt, emotional at times, story that has brought back thoughts to my mind that family and friends can make all the difference when you start to lose sight of hope. I Can't wait to check out Where She Went.

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