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If I Stay

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

I heard about this book awhile back and finally got my hands on it on Saturday, and finished it Monday. Pardon the cliché, but I could not put it down. I was mesmerized by it. The story is told from the perspective of Mia, a seventeen year old girl, who is stuck between living and dying. She is watching herself and those around her from outside her body almost like a ghost. Mia watches herself while the doctors and nurses try to keep her alive and her friends and family come to visit her, we get flashes of her life. She has a life most teenagers would love; cool, funky parents, a wonderful rocker boyfriend, a best friend to confide in, and a younger brother that she feels is practically her own.

Mia realizes that whether she lives or dies is up to her. Now, all alone, she has to make what is probably the hardest decision imaginable. How can she go on without her family? How can she leave when so many people love her?

At first I didn’t think I was going to like it. It started off a little gruesome. It begins with a horrific car accident where both of Mia’s parents die instantly. There is a short but vivid description of both of them. Then I was captivated by the narration. The author does a wonderful job capturing the pain of the characters in the book. Foreman organizes the story like someone who is thinking of memories. Not necessarily in chronological order, just what comes to mind when things happen. It is easy for the reader to get confused with a structure like this, trying to remember what happened before this scene, or which events came first in time. But the author lays out Mia’s life so well, I never allowing the reader to loose track of the story line.

I was brought to tears many times while reading this book. I tried not to think about myself in Mia’s shoes because it would be too painful to imagine. I have no idea what choice I would make either as my 17 year old self loosing my parents, or my 30 year old self with my husband, and … Nope, not going to think about it! The ending was perfect. I loved it so much that I immediately went and got the second book. And when I say immediately, I mean I closed the book, stood up and went to get Where She Went (which was also amazing).

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