If I Stay
Series: If I Stay #1
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publication date: April 2nd 2009
by Dutton Juvenile
In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...
A sophisticated, layered, and heart-achingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make, and the ultimate choice Mia commands.
A powerfully emotional novel, If I Stay is a journey through life and death, in the eyes of a young girl who has lost just about everything.
After a disastrous car accident, Mia finds herself looking down at her own battered body, barely alive. This is one case where, immediately, you get a feel of who these people are, their realness, the love they have for each other. With only a few minutes of getting to know them before the accident, I already felt a connection with Mia and her whole family, turning an already emotional novel into a gutting one. Mia’s loss and grief is tangible through Gayle’s effortless writing style. It’s a tragic tale of unimaginable life changing loss that will make you thankful for everything and everyone you have in life.
This novel is not a story, there is not even a plot per se; in short, it is a chronicle of Mia’s life. While she’s lost in this sort of limbo, we relive her life with her. She sends us through the ups and downs of her past years. Her relationship, fun family anecdotes, talents, dreams, everything she has ever had, and everyone she can still lose. Mostly, you can see how fast a life full of potential can be changed so drastically. You know that even if she does get through this, nothing will ever be the same. She will not be the same person that we’re being introduced to. Through her stories and her time at the hospital, we also get to know other people in her life who love her so fully that you feel their pain for Mia’s uncertain future. What got me the most emotional was not Mia’s reminiscing, but the reactions to others towards her. There’s an especially powerful scene with her grandfather that… ugh *clutches chest*. It shows exactly how talented Gayle is; to be able to render so much sympathy for characters you have only just met, in a book with a mere 200 pages at that, that is some outstanding writing. This is not just Mia’s story, it includes everyone that has touched her life as well.
Brilliantly written with as much love as there is sorrow, with as much life as there is death, If I Stay shows us the importance of family and friends that, together, make up our lives. A must read that I would recommend for all fans of YA contemporary novels such as Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall.
Audiobook note: I wasn’t the biggest fan of the music between certain chapters, but the narrator was truly amazing. Her voice authenticated all the emotions coming off of Mia wonderfully. A+!
Cover Blurb Note: “It will appeal to fans of Twilight” O_O This book is not even close to being anything like Twilight in any way!