Summary and book reviews of If I Stay by Gayle Forman

If I Stay

By Gayle Forman

If I Stay
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  • Hardcover: Apr 2009,
    208 pages.
    Paperback: Apr 2010,
    208 pages.

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Book Reviewed by:
Allison Stadd

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About this Book

Book Summary

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.

Excerpt
If I Stay

7:09 a.m.

Everyone thinks it was because of the snow. And in a way, I suppose that’s true. I wake up this morning to a thin blanket of white covering our front lawn. It isn’t even an inch, but in this part of Oregon a slight dusting brings everything to a standstill as the one snowplow in the county gets busy clearing the roads. It is wet water that drops from the sky—and drops and drops and drops—not the frozen kind. It is enough snow to cancel school. My little brother, Teddy, lets out a war whoop when Mom’s AM radio announces the closures. “Snow day!” he bellows. “Dad, let’s go make a snowman.”

My dad smiles and taps on his pipe. He started smoking one recently as part of this whole 1950s, Father Knows Best retro kick he is on. He also wears bow ties. I am never quite clear on whether all this is sartorial or sardonic—Dad’s way of announcing that he used to be a punker but is now a middle-...

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Reviews

BookBrowse

I closed this book without a single criticism or negative comment. I think Forman is a skilled and funny writer who captivates her readers from the first page to the last. The book is tightly constructed and thought-provoking, and will leave you wrestling with Mia's dilemma even after the book's resolution.   (Reviewed by Allison Stadd).

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Media Reviews
Kirkus Reviews

Forman excels at inserting tiny but powerful details throughout ... which will draw readers into this masterful text and undoubtedly tug at even the toughest of heartstrings.

Booklist

Starred Review. Laced with insight, good humor, and wonder..

VOYA

Starred Review. There is little wasted prose, and not a single event rings false. Music lovers will appreciate the passions of Mia, Adam, and her family, who adopt an eclectic mix of favorites.

School Library Journal

Starred Review. Both brutal and beautiful, this thought-provoking story will stay with readers long after the last page is turned. Grades 5+

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Intensely moving, the novel will force readers to take stock of their lives and the people and things that make them worth living.

Reader Reviews
Amanda

Awesome
This is the best book I've read in a long time. I read the whole book in one day I can't wait until I can get Where She Went. My uncle needs to stop being a bum and buy it for me..lol

Louise Jolly

Beautiful Novel!!
If I Stay is a tear-jerker that will illicit emotions about things buried deep inside you. There are so many words I could use to describe this story: inspiring, funny, visceral, humbling, touching, powerful, sad but yet calming. Young Mia is a ...   Read More

Alyssa

If I Stay :)
I think it was great! I'm glad my book club teacher recommended it. I really want to read the sequel of it (Adam's point of view "Where She Went") I wish it told a little more after she woke up though.

sensitiveguy01

Awesome
I loved it. Nothing else. It makes me depressed though, that the story is fiction.

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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."

Yo-Yo Ma
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 ...

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