Monday, January 14, 2013

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Mia and her family go out for a drive to visit her grandparents, and her life changes forever.  Mia was already struggling with a difficult decision.  Stay with her boyfriend on the west coast, or go to Julliard?  Now Mia is facing the most difficult decision of her life.  Does she want to stay in this world without her family?  Or join them?

Dammit Gayle!  Can I call you Gayle?  Dammit Gayle!  You went and created this amazing family, these incredible people who you just want to hang out with, and then you killed them off!  And I'm not giving anything away by saying that.  It's pretty much in the description of the book, and also, it happens in the first, like, five pages.

Mia is outside her body, watching the surgery that's preformed to try and save her life.  Watching her family and friends arrive at the hospital.  Mia remembers her parents, little brother, and her relationship with her boyfriend, Adam.  We learn more and more about Mia's parents and her brother, and the strong bonds that tied them all together.

Music is an important part of the story.  Mia is a cellist, her father was a punk rocker, and Adam is in a band that is starting to get noticed and tour.  Music brought Mia and Adam together.  Music was an important aspect of her family and her family's friends.

It's such a horrible choice that Mia has to deal with.  She knows she's lost her whole family.  She can see that her body is in terrible shape. Her recovery physically will be long and painful, and how will she ever recover from the loss of her family?  Mia knows that the easiest, and perhaps the most peaceful thing would be to let go and die, but it's difficult when so many people, in particular Adam, and waiting for her to wake up.

It was really a story that tore at my heartstrings.  And it's such a short little book, really a quick read.  But it packs a hell of a punch.  It was amazing how life-like and full these characters became.  Again, this was not a long book, and it just goes to show that when something's written well, it doesn't have to be hundreds of pages long.  The simplicity worked so well.  Even the supporting characters I felt like I knew well by the end of the story.

There's a sequel Where She Went, which I will have to read. 

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