By Sarah Beningfield
If I Stay by Gayle Foreman is another book that deals with a slightly darker subject matter. If you recall my review on The Fault in Our Stars for the letter ‘F’, then you will be aware that it is a book that is well known for being a bit of a tear-jerker. If I Stay is of a similar calibre.
The book follows the life of a 17-year-old girl called Mia after she is involved in a serious car accident with her family on a snow day in Portland.
The story is split between flashbacks to Mia’s life with her family, friends and boyfriend before the accident, and her experiences as an almost ghost-like presence that watches her body and the people around her as she lies comatose in the hospital.
Mia soon finds out that her mother, father and little brother did not survive the accident, but her grandparents, friends and boyfriend, Adam, are gathered at the hospital praying for her to wake up.
The flashbacks serve to show us how close Mia was to her family, and how her life would never be the same without them. However, they also show her relationship with her boyfriend, who is in a rock band, and completely opposite to Mia, who is an extremely talented cello player. Mia knows that if she were to wake up from the coma she would have a bright future ahead of her in classical music, and that she would still have her grandparents and other family members around her.
The decision is hers to make; life or death. The idea is not a happy one, but a story like this is capable of making a reader really re-evaluate their own life and to be grateful for the love and happiness that exists in their world.
The book was captivating, and tears were shed during particularly emotional moments, but it must be said that the book doesn’t hit you right in the heart in the way that a book like The Fault in Our Stars does. There is less character development and definitely not as much investment in the relationships between the characters. Yes, there is romance, but often it feels forced, or even unrealistic.
It is worth reading, but don’t have expectations of it being on a John Green level, not many can write emotional material quite the way he can, and it is very difficult to impress his massive fan base.
A memorable quote from this novel:
“Sometimes you make choices in life and sometimes choices make you.”
Readers who would enjoy this:
Those who do not mind a book with a sad subject matter. The content is emotional, but the storyline is unique and it has a lesson worth learning – that of appreciation.
Other books by this author:
Where She Went (sequel)
Other books beginning with ‘I’:
I Am the Messenger – Markus Zusak
In Her Shoes – Jennifer Weiner