Seventeen-year old Mia has the perfect life. She has a warm and loving family, a great best friend, a super cool musician boyfriend, and maybe even a chance to get into Julliard music school. She thinks nothing can go wrong.
But one day everything changes.
On their way to visit some friends, Mia’s family has a car accident and she watches from the side as her family is proclaimed dead by the ambulance and police. Only she remains alive, but barely. Neither dead nor alive, ghost-like Mia’s story is told in one day, a day where she is faced with the decision to stay or to go.
Deceptively simple, If I Stay tells the beautiful story of seventeen-year old Mia on the day that her life changes. Despite the fact that the whole course of the story takes place on one day, its anything but boring. Mia’s story before the crash is told by way of flashbacks that the ghost of Mia experiences throughout the day, as she ponders her choice.
The idea sounds simple and maybe even boring, but there is a lot of depth in the simplicity of Forman’s tale, as she describes Mia’s love for music, her feeling of loneliness and isolation, her relationship with her family and friends, her fear of falling in love, and so many other universal human experiences.
Despite a somewhat supernatural event taking place, there is no one beside Mia to help her through her decision or to explain to her what is happening. She observes her family and friends as they fight and root for her, trying to understand what the right thing to do is.
This book was a great break from so many paranormal YA books that I’ve been reading recently. Don’t get me wrong, I love my paranormal fantasies, but it was also great to read about Mia and her seemingly simply life, which was filled with depth. The version that I got from the library had a quote comparing it to Twilight, which kind of put me off for a bit. But I was happy to find that it wasn’t a sappy, melodramatic romance but a story about a girl dealing with the loss of her family. I especially loved the detail with which Forman describes Mia’s cello playing and her unending love for music.
If you’re looking for something different and something not filled with power-hungry vampires or clever robots, then this is the book for you.
Thanks for reading.
‘Till next time,