If I Stay by Gayle Forman

June 7, 2009
By Anonymous

I have been in one car crash before, but nothing as tragic as the one Mia and her family were in. Gayle Forman puts Mia in a life or death situation; literally! Mia is severely injured from the impact of a four-ton pickup truck, and is in a coma. This story is told from her perspective during her out-of-body. Mia is forced to make the biggest decision of her life; stay alive with her boyfriend and her passion for music or go with her mom, dad, and brother forever. This deep, compelling novel of Mia's journey will defiantly leave you in awe.

Mia, the main character in If I Stay, is a seventeen-year-old cellist. I fell in love with this book partially because of how Mrs. Forman develops a certain passion of music for Mia and her family. Throughout the story you, too, will feel their strong connection and dedication to the music world.

Mia, her family, and their friends live in Oregon. Most of the story takes place in a hospital in Portland. I like this for the fact that I'm familiar with the area, and I could imagine the story taking place there. The way the hospital was described, it seemed as if you were standing next to Mia's hospital bed along with the rest of her relatives and close friends.

While in the coma, Mia's boyfriend Adam and her best friend Kim try to break into the ICU and visit her. The nurse that was working that shift was a stickler for rules wouldn't let them see her, due to the rule that only family could. Even so, they tried everything to get to Mia. It was their perseverance and love that got the two of them far in this book.
Throughout this novel, Mia experiences flashbacks of moments in her life that were important to her. One was of her and Adam's first date, one when her dad matured from a young punk to a mature father, one when Mia finally enjoyed herself at one of Adam's concerts. All of these glances at her life before the accident give you a better sense of her personality. The author does a nice job of describing each even so that you understand why it's important to Mia and her tough decision.
If I Stay is centered around three main themes: love, family, and passion. Love, because of all of the people who come to see Mia and express their love for her in their own way. For Adam, it was simply just to stay with him. For her Grandpa and Kim, it was their permission to decide what was best for her. Family, because even though it seems as though all of Mia's family is gone, this experience brings all of her friends and extended relatives together to make a safe barrier for Mia. And passion, because of the passion Mia has for music, Adam's passion to see Mia, and Kim's passion to make sure Mia felt loved.
Gayle Forman does a lovely job of conveying Mia's extraordinary experience in an interesting way. She makes sure that the readers are involved in the story and can make their own predictions and connections. If I Stay is a wonderful book that will teach you the true meaning of family.

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