Title: If I Stay Author: Gayle Forman
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Starred review in: SLJ, Kirkus, VOYA
Mia is facing all of the typical problems of a high school senior: Will she get into Julliard? If she moves to New York, will she lose her boyfriend? Soon after the book begins Mia faces a challenge that makes all of her worries trivial. She gets into a car accident with her family and is in a coma in the hospital. Throughout the story, she learns the fates of her parents and brother, and watches her family and friends react to her accident. Most of the story is told in short flashbacks to different parts of her life. She looks back at the people in her life and realizes that some of the decisions she had to make have all boiled down to one question: Should she stay?
Get your tissues ready. This is a lovely tearjerker with award appeal written all over it. The writing isn't particularly inventive, but it is clear, concise and there isn't an extraneous word in here. The standout of this book is the characters. In short flashbacks, Forman creates a vivid and loving family, from settled down punk rock dad and mom, to the extended family and friends out in the waiting room. Mia's relationship feels much more authentic than most cookie cutter YA romances. I really don't want to say too much but this is a great one that you could recommend to teenage girls who liked Before I Die and other weepy YA books.