If I Stay
by Gayle Forman
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
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 heartachingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make -and the ultimate choice Mia commands.
Why I Picked This Book: I have seen this book around so much, I think I was purposefully not reading it. You know how that can be. Then one day I found it on sale, and figured it was about time to dive in.
If I Stay pulled me in and didn't let me go. The reader discovered the story with the main character Mia, as the bits and pieces were put together, memories were remembered, and decisions hid around the corner. I couldn't put it down. I finished this book in a day. I could have finished it in a sitting, if life would just stop getting in the way.
I am not typically a fan of ghost/out of body experience stories. I don't know. Maybe because I read too many bad ones when I was younger. Forman redeemed this for me. In If I Stay, Mia and her family have been in a car accident, but she can't remember it. First she is driving along the Oregon road with her family, next she is standing next to her body, the car torn apart.
As the story unfolds, Mia's memories intermix with her present as she watches the doctors rushing to save her life. Her parents are gone. She has no idea if her brother survived. And now she must decide: Go, or stay?
I will admit it: I cried. More than once. Even typing this now and remembering some of the scenes, I am getting choked up. It felt so real, so innocent. Mia's relationship with her boyfriend was simple and real. Nothing amazing or crazy, but so much like my own past relationships I couldn't help but relate. Her relationship with her family was refreshing: She loved them. There was no teenage angst. No mean or crazy or missing parent. Just a family.
And, might I add, Forman got Oregon just right. I couldn't help but chuckle at the cracks on weather.
At times the writing wasn't the most amazing in the world. Sometimes the memories might have dragged, or slowed. Sometimes I wondered why she was even remembering that piece to begin with. Regardless of all that, I couldn't not love this book. It touched my heart and left an imprint in my memory.
And then I ran to hug my kids, and to tell my husband to drive home safe.
I highly recommend this read. Especially to those who love to tear up.
(5 out of 5 stars)