If I Stay by Gayle Forman - Everybody has to make choices.
Some might break you.
For seventeen-year-old Mia, surrounded by a wonderful family, friends and a gorgeous boyfriend decisions might seem tough, but they’re all about a future full of music and love, a future that’s brimming with hope.
But life can change in an instant.
A cold February morning... a snowy road... and suddenly all of Mia’s choices are gone. Except one.
As alone as she’ll ever be, Mia must make the most difficult choice of all.
Gripping, heartrending and ultimately life-affirming, If I Stay will make you appreciate all that you have, all that you’ve lost - and all that might be. From Amazon UK
I bought this book a while back before I even knew I would be doing Death and Bereavement Week at the behest of a fellow blogger. I had read on several blogs that this book was brilliant, so I did indeed buy it. Considering its subject matter, it was a no brainer that I would read it for the week. Now I wish I had read it much sooner.
When schools have announced a snow day, Mia's family decide to go out for the day and visit some friends. But then there is an accident, a car crash. Mia ends up in hospital, but is somehow separated from herself; her spirit sees and hears and walks. While her body is lying in a hospital bed, she is roaming the hospital with a decision to make; should she stay, live and deal with the tragedy, or should she go and die?
To be honest, when I started reading it, I had trouble with it. The very first pages were great, as it was painted as being just an ordinary morning. But when it comes to the accident, I couldn't deal with how graphic the crash scene is. So much so, you don't realise actually what's happening until it hits you. That along with all the blood was just too much for me at the time. I had to put it down. I read four other books before I could pick it up again, after some encouragement from another blogger. I picked it up again, and worked past the squeamishness to get to the heart of the story. Once I was there... wow.
The story takes place just over 24 hours, but is interspaced with flashbacks of beautiful, happy, joyous moments of Mia's life. The important things in her life; her family, her boyfriend, her best friend, her music. And it's just wonderful. Some of these moments are so crazy yet normal, they caused flashbacks of my own, moments of my life that are ridiculous and crazy and normal. It was just brilliant.
The main crux of the story is Mia's choice, and which way she will go. Throughout the novel, you're never entirely sure which she will choose. Watching her deal with the her time in hospital and remember all those moments, struggling with the decision of whether to live or die is just... mind blowing. If you think of the gravity of that decision, that there is a possibility she may choose to die, it's just amazing, the whole idea. And seeing both sides of the coin, reasons for living and dying, and undersanding, just makes it even more hard yet beautiful to read, and her ultimate decision so powerful.
What was also really lovely was getting to see Mia's family and friends visit Mia at her bedside, them not knowing about Mia's presence. Seeing them talk to her while they're in this limbo of not knowing whether she'll make it or not is just heartbreaking but lovely.
This is a fantastic, beautiful book that everyone should read. I absolutely adored it, and it makes me so, so happy that I don't have to make Mia's choice.
Published: 13th May 2010
Publisher: Definitions - Random House
Buy on Amazon US
Gayle Forman's Website
If I Stay's Website