If I Stay by Gayle Forman

March 2, 2017
By , Norridge, IL

In the young adult fiction novel “If I Stay” by Gayle Forman, a loving family of four suffer through a traumatic event in present time. In a small town near Portland, Oregon, there lived a family including Mia Hall, the older sister, Denny Hall, the father, Kat Hall, the mother, and Teddy Hall the younger brother. All together they were just plain happy, but that one accident changed their happiness eternally.


Mia Hall was the protagonist of “If I Stay.” She is the persona telling the story from her point of view. Mia is a diligent, determined cello instrumentalist. As described in the novel Mia’s hair was brown, not blond like in the movie made. As a first impression, Mia seems extremely shy and introverted, but once you get to know her she can be outgoing. Her boyfriend, Adam Wilde, is the lead singer and guitar player in his band "Shooting Star." Adam usually lets Mia’s wild side out and makes her more extroverted. She tends to have a lot of different sides to her throughout the story.

All her family and friends around her are so supportive of her path and journey. They’re always by her side no matter what her decision might be. Her mother and father have always been rocker types, and Mia was always the black sheep. She enjoyed a more classical taste in music. Even though she was so different, they still all loved her very much. They were as close to a perfect family as possible. Because of that, Mia took her family very seriously. She put them first in her priorities. Mia always looked out for her younger brother, Teddy. Stating that does not mean her friends didn’t matter to her. Kim is Mia’s best friend because Mia admires her for personal strength and resilience. Kim and Adam were very significant people in Mia’s life.

When the story first unfolded in my fingertips it developed the personality of the character, Mia Hall. In the beginning, the family wakes up to a wonderful snow day. They jump out of bed, have breakfast together, and everything seems perfect. They went out for a drive on the peculiar snowy day. Then it came out of nowhere, the car crashed. Both of the parents were instantly dead, but the siblings were hanging onto dear life. As some sort of invisible spirit, Mia watches as her grandparents, relatives, and best friend Kim stay to her side. Mia prays for her little brother, Teddy, is still alive, but the person she really wants to see/hear is her boyfriend, Adam.


Throughout the entire novel, Mia has these major flashbacks from periods of her life before the incident. Mia was either to choose life or death at this point, and her grandfather said wise words in her ear while she was laying on her hospital bed. Her grandfather stated that it is okay to let go, to give up. Luckily, Mia chose to live. Unluckily, Teddy didn’t survive in the end. The novel ends with Mia opening her eyes and walking up to the sound of Adam talking to her.

Personally, I believe this novel “If I Stay” by Gayle Forman, is beautifully written. Throughout the entire book you could feel the pain and suffering Mia went through trying to stay alive. The scenes where you go back in time and learn more about her life and family makes such a connection between the character and the reader. It’s a very tragic story, but such a page turner. Children would not understand the novel and the pain Mia went through, so that is why I recommend to anyone thirteen and over. In the end, the book was touching. “If I Stay,” was an incredible read.

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