Title: If I Stay
Author: Gayle Forman
Genre: YA fiction
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: Kirsten Potter
First line: Everyone thinks it was because of the snow.
If I Stay by Gayle Forman is a small but powerful book. I listened to the audio version, and it was only four discs long, but it was riveting.
Mia is a seventeen-year-old high school senior. She has a relationship with her parents that is without the usual teenage angst, a seven-year-old brother who adores her, a fantastic boyfriend that she is completely head over heels for, a best friend who “gets” her in the best way, and an incredible talent. She is a cellist and on her way to study at Juilliard.
All of these things – her whole life – hangs in the balance after a devastating car accident. Mia is left with a choice, a choice that is almost impossible to understand, let alone make.
This YA novel is a celebration of life and love and family. In flashbacks, Mia’s life unfolds for the reader, demonstrating just how full her life is. One of the best things about this book is that Mia’s family isn’t dysfunctional. Her parents aren’t perfect, but the family is loving and healthy – something you don’t see too often in YA fiction.
The only negative I have is the flashback Mia has of the first time that she and her boyfriend become intimate. I think this book would be appropriate for grades 7 and up without that scene, but with it, I think it’s probably best for high school readers. Not only was the scene unnecessary, but it was a bit cheesy.
In spite of that scene, though, I truly loved this book, and highly recommend it.