Read + Review — If I Stay, by Gayle Forman

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Seventeen year old Mia Hall couldn’t have had a more normal life. She went to high school everyday, came back home, did her homework, and then practiced her cello for hours on end. Until one morning, her routine is broken by a terrible accident. A car crash. Mia “awakens” after the accident, but no one can hear her voice or see her body, and she then realizes that she is some sort of spirit. She finds that her father and mother were instantly killed on the scene, while she and her younger brother Teddy are being taken to the hospital in critical condition. The rest of the book is spent with her watching her loved ones come visit her comatose body in the hospital, while she reminisces about picture perfect moments she spent with her family and boyfriend. The employees at the hospital and her family and friends keep encouraging her to push through and stay with them because ultimately the choice is up to her. But the question keeps swirling around her head, “What will happen if I stay?”

This book was definitely a page turner. Although the climax of the story, the car accident, came very early in the novel, Forman kept the pace up with little scenes here and there that had some action. I felt as though the development of each character in the book was very strong. By having Mia talk about experiences she had with her family and boyfriend I got to know the qualities and beliefs of every character. It was definitely a good choice for the book to be written in first person by Mia because it would not have given the same effect if written in third person. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I would recommend it to anyone looking for an extremely well crafted novel.

The most memorable thing about the book is when Mia dresses up as a punk rocker chick to attend her boyfriend, Adam’s, Halloween costume concert. This is because she shows a side of her that readers had not yet seen in the book.

four stars

Reviewed by Raghda, grade 8, Twin Hickory Area Library

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