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If I Stay – Gayle Forman

January 14, 2011

If I Stay by Gayle Forman is a haunting little book with a powerful message. Do I stay or do I go? Do I live or do I die? And in this case, the decision to live means completely starting over with no family. It is one of those books that makes you feel a little uncomfortable, contemplate your own existence, and stretch your mind to imagine the “what ifs.”

In If I Stay, Mia sets out on a car ride with her family on a wintery day in Oregon, except that the day ends up changing the course of her life forever when the family is involved in a crash that kills both of her parents and her brother. After the accident, Mia watches from the sidelines as her body is airlifted to the hospital and the doctors attempt to save her life. Throughout the course of the day, she is left to contemplate her life and, ultimately, decide whether to live or die.

This novel is Forman’s first novel and she does a wonderful job capturing the emotional journey Mia encounters as she grapples with the most significant decision she will face in her life. She has to decide whether or not to continue on with her life without her family. I really enjoyed this book overall. I do think that it could have been a little better developed, and it could have delivered an even stronger emotional punch than it ultimately delivered. But, it was very good. As I read through the final chapter of the book, tears started falling down my cheeks and my husband gave me that suspicious look that he gives me when I sit, reading, and crying. That’s how I know a book is good.

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