“‘Sometimes you make choices in life and sometimes choices make you. Does that make sense?’
I thought about the cello. How sometimes I didn’t understand why I’d been drawn to it, how some days it seemed as if the instrument had chosen me. I nodded, smiled, and returned my attention to the game. “King me,” I said.” (page 161)
I bought this book for my little sister’s birthday. She just turned 14 and I am seeing her next weekend, so I wanted to have something to give her. I also wanted to read the book before I gave it to her. I say it’s because I wanted to make sure it was age-appropriate, mostly it’s because I wanted to read it.
This is the tragic story of Mia and her family. On a snowy morning, her family goes for a drive and are in a horrible car accident. Mia wakes up from the accident, but instead of finding her family, she finds the horrible wreckage. Not only does she see her parents’ and younger brother’s bodies, but she sees her own. What follows is a story told from Mia’s point of view, as she watches the horror. She is outside of her body and knows that on some level she has a choice to make – does she stay without her family, or does she let go?
If I Stay is absolutely heartbreaking. It’s beautiful and very character driven. Through flashbacks we get ot know Mia and her family and as readers we feel her loss so profoundly. Forman makes the tragedy so poignant. I was in tears throughout most of the book. The integration of music into the story is also something I really admired about the novel. Mia, in contrast to her punk parents, is a cello player who has dreams of continuing her cello studies in college, including possibly at Julliard. Her boyfriend Adam is in a punk band himself and his band is taking off. Kim is Mia’s best friend. I think that this is as much their story as it is Mia’s; all of the secondary characters in this book are incredibly well-formed and realistic.
This is not one of those books that is trying to cash in on tragedy. Yes, it is a sad book. Yes, it is a terrible thing. But this book is also funny, light and at times, happy. I was very impressed by that.
Even though there are some scenes in the book that are a little mature, I would reccommend this book for readers 14+, especially if they’re more mature readers.
Rating: 87% – Great read, fast. Pick it up!