If I Stay by Gayle Forman is a young adult novel about a seventeen-year-old girl, Mia, who is having an out-of-body experience. She is in a car crash with her family and ends up in a coma but is observing everything as if she is a ghost alongside her body. The book follows her through the trauma of listening to her bereaved friends and family, and jumping back into memories. There are spoilers, so stop here if you don’t want to find out.
I finished this book in about 3 hours. It simply sucked me in and held me there. I couldn’t stop. It’s a roller coaster from complete nervous breakdown when she sees her family smeared across the road; to hearing her Grandpa say it’s ok if she doesn’t fight anymore, she can let go; to laughing with her when she remembers how hopped up on marshmallows her little brother was the night they had a big labor day picnic.
The characters are vivid. They are people that I can’t stand not knowing. I want to immerse myself in their lives and just swim around for hours.
Mia’s boyfriend, Adam, says at one point, “I’ll let you go. If you stay.” It seems like a seriously overused idea, but it really gave me the chills. I was so invested in the story that I didn’t care if it was something I might have seen before.
What a way to end a book. It was like death in reverse. They always say life flashes before your eyes before you die, but hers flashes before she wakes from her coma. She’s a very dedicated cellist and it’s the sound of a cello (Adam brought her a song to listen to) that immediately changes her mind about dying and wakes her up. I don’t think a book has ever truly made me cry before.