If I Stay by Gayle Forman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
You know how, when you're watching a soap opera or a drama on the TV, and one of the characters says something like "I love you- isn't everything just perfect?" or "can life get any better?", you just know that someone's gonna die, or some massive tragedy is about to happen? This is exactly the feeling you get with this book. Chapter one starts off showing us a window into a perfect family, planning their perfect day... followed by the car accident that will change everything. Mia wakes up outside the car watching herself critically wounded be lifted from the wreck of the car.
The rest of the story is told over 24 hours from Mia's bedside in Intensive Care. Mia is badly wounded and in a coma, her family is gone. Unseen by everyone Mia watches over her body as her extended family and friends wait at the hospital for news of her progress. The narrative is peppered with memories from Mia's past- her memories of the birth of her baby brother, summer camp, the first date with boyfriend Adam. In showing us Mia's life, the author just highlights everything that she has lost. If she chooses to stay we can see how her life will change dramatically.
I loved reading about how close Mia was with her parents- the stories that they told, and little anecdotes. Her funny little brother. How Mia and Adam grew close through their shared love of music, and the choices that they faced with Mia on the verge of picking a college. The relationship between Mia and Adam is so sweet, and felt so real. By the end of the book, I really felt that I knew Mia and Adam in real life.
I absolutely loved this book- it was just perfect. I spent Sunday morning reading this and absolutely bawling my eyes out. If I'd had the next book Where She Went I would have started reading it then and there. This book will change your attitude toward life and your ambitions, and the story will stay with you for a very long time- I know it will for me. Moving, heartbreaking, sweet, and brilliant.
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