Recent Reads: If I Stay

If I Stay paperback

I enjoyed every second I read this book, which I finished in mere days (with work and other life things, it usually takes me at least a week).
I had heard about it from this article on HelloGiggles, instantly put it down in a memo on my phone so I’d remember to look it up, went to Target for something totally different, saw it staring me in the face, and bought it without a second thought.

Quick Rant: I hate the critic quote on the cover of this book. There are so many excellent quotes from all sorts of wonderful newspapers and magazines and authors and critics when you open the cover, and they chose to suck readers in by using a popular franchise that is nothing like this book at all. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of Twilight and I suppose it would help the book sell, but it’s an excellent book that could do well without that little quote. You have me at a great premise.

Anyway, If I Stay is so different from anything I’ve ever read. Our main character and narrator is 17 year old Mia Hall, a cellist who is on the verge of graduating high school and awaiting an acceptance letter from Juilliard. She has a cute, emo-punk boyfriend, Adam (he’s a year older) and a super supportive, loving family in her mom and dad (two former punks who understand a love of rock and roll, music, that lifestyle, and being young and in love) and her younger brother Teddy.

It’s a snow day in Utah. Nothing much catches on the ground, but school has been cancelled and the Hall family decides to enjoy a day off, venture out to see some family and visit a bookstore and enjoy some time together.
All of that changes when they get into a car accident.

Mia wakes up in a ditch, wondering how she got there, and tries to find her family. Her parents were killed immediately in the accident, so she goes looking for Teddy, and when she thinks she found him, she is actually looking at herself. The accident has put her into a coma, and for whatever reason, she is outside of her body. She feels no pain or connection to her injured self, but she has no idea how to change the circumstances and get back into her body. She only learns her choice when a nurse at the hospital tells her grandparents that Mia is the only one who can decide whether or not she wakes up from the coma, no matter what the doctors do.

This means our out-of-body heroine needs to choose whether or not she wants to live or die. A heavy choice, obviously.
She has lost her family, but she still has a lot to live for. She just isn’t sure if she can handle the weight of it all.

This is such a beautiful book. And, obviously, very sad. But there are bits of hope, bits of love and happiness and memories and wondering about the future, a future without the most important people in your life. I really liked it because it tackles a topics we all deal with in life…our mortality and the mortality of those we love, relationships with friends and lovers, choosing our future in one way or another.
And it was done so beautifully and the storyline is unlike anything I’ve ever read.

I would highly recommend this book. It’s just a smidge over 200 pages, so it’s a fairly quick read.
Just don’t finish it in the waiting room of a doctor’s office.
It might get a little embarrassing if you start to cry.

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