It comes as no surprise that the author of this novel is an award-winning journalist. Gayle Forman's writing is at once concise and emotionally poignant, reading much like a well-researched feature piece for a magazine. The opening of the novel sweeps us off our feet, with a devastating catastrophe of unimaginably tragic proportions. Mia is left in a coma, stranded in time and space, her parents and brother wrenched away from her. But we
aren't left isolated in one place. She takes us on a journey through her thoughts and past as she reflects on whether to stay rooted or set herself free.
Reminiscent of The Lovely Bones
, this book grapples with the fraught subject of the death of youth. Mia must decide, in her in-between state, whether to live or die. The storyline is heart-wrenching, but restrained enough to really make us contemplate, along with Mia, what...
Beyond the Book
The Little, Big Viola
As Mia's source of strength, the cello plays a central role in If I Stay
. Playing her instrument is her true passion, her future and the reason for her bond to her first love, Adam.
The first cellos were made in 16th century Italy. Composers sought an instrument with a similar sound to other stringed instruments but a lower tone than the violas and violins that were held under the player's chin. Cello is an abbreviation of the Italian word "violoncello", an oxymoron meaning "little, big viola."
As she wrote her novel, Gayle Forman was inspired by the life and work of world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma. In essence, his music sways Mia to make her final choice between life and death. Yo-Yo Ma is...