Friday, August 2, 2013

If I Stay

by Gayle Forman
Published: Speak, 2010 (first published 2009)
Pages: 262

Mia has a typical life, a loving family, great friends, a boyfriend that meant everything to her and a bright future.  She wasn't expecting the event that changed her life forever.  Now she's faced with the most important decision she will ever make, one that could, quite literally, mean life or death.

This story takes a look at life and death from a completely different take than the usual.  We are left to contemplate the idea that sometimes people do choose whether or not to live on, to continue fighting for life.

The poetic nature of the writing adds to the discussion.  There is a seamless flow to the letters, creating words, creating phrases, creating sentences, creating paragraphs, creating pages, creating this story.  The rhythm in all of this is very similar to the rhythm that Mia finds in her classical music, and any music really.  But there are also times when the story and her situation seem very edgy and sporadic, the way punk rock can sound sometimes.

I really enjoyed the music aspect of this story and how it brought people together, even if they were different styles of music.  It also threatened to tear people apart.  The ebb and flow of the music and it's connection to people played well with this story and the other themes present.  Gayle Forman masterfully weaves a compelling tragic story.  I cannot wait to read the sequel.

Stars: 4/5


"This book is a do-not-miss story of love, friendship, family, loss, control, and coping."
     --Justine magazine

"A poignant novel... reminiscent of Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones.  Forman is a master at creating memorable characters and at tugging the heartstrings enough to keep us turning the page as we sob our eyes out."
     --Buffalo News

"If I Stay throbs with Love and tragedy .  And the dilemma of choice.  Long after its last moment, readers may find themselves dwelling on how the story resonates in their own lives."
     --Sacramento Bee

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