Beyond the Book: Background information when reading If I Stay

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If I Stay

by Gayle Forman

If I Stay
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2009, 208 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2010, 208 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Allison Stadd

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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 Mia's musical idol, and joking with Adam about his name forms the foundation for their friendship, and later, their romantic relationship.

Yo-Yo Ma began his study of the cello at age four. His principal teacher was the esteemed Leonard Rose ...

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