If I Stay by Gayle Forman

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If I Stay by Gayle Forman

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Category: Teens
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Loralei Haylock
Reviewed by Loralei Haylock
Summary: Incredibly sad, but life affirming and heart warming, everyone who has ever had to make a difficult choice involving things they love should read this book.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 224 Date: May 2008
Publisher: Doubleday
ISBN: 978-0385616201

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Seventeen is an inconvenient time to be in love. Mia has two loves in her life – her first love music, and boyfriend Adam. Half of Mia wants more than anything to go to Juilliard, a prestigious music school. But Julliard is in New York, and Adam is in Oregon. At least, he's in Oregon sometimes – his band Shooting Star is starting to take off and he's always busy. Between Mia's rehearsals and Adam's gigs they barely have any time to spend together as it is. Would their relationship survive if she went to Juilliard?

Then one day Mia's family go for a drive, and their car is hit by a pickup truck. Mia's parents are killed instantly and Mia finds herself outside of her own body. She can't feel or do anything, just watch as her body is transported to the hospital, put on a ventilator and operated on. Then she watches as her family come, her Gran and Gramps, her aunts and uncles, then her friend Kim and finally Adam.

Mia has a choice to make, but it's no longer music or Adam. It's the only choice that really matters in the end. Life or death. But with everything she's lost, does she have enough left to live for?

Oh dear, this book made me cry. It's not very often a book can move me to tears – usually, I need to be listening to soppy music to get that lump in the throat, but If I Stay needed no musical assistance. It's tragic, it's beautiful and it's brilliant.

For the first few pages, If I Stay comes across like a light-hearted story about a teenager, her love life and her kooky family, but from the moment Forman hits you with the devastatingly detached description of the aftermath of the crash, you know you've picked up something special.

What follows is a touching and emotional examination of love in all its forms – the love between children and parents, teenage love, love for music, love between friends, the bond people share through mutual love of another person – and the choices, and sacrifices, we sometimes have to make for love.

Incredibly sad, but life-affirming and heartwarming, everyone who has ever had to make a difficult choice involving things they love should read this book. I challenge any of you not to cry on the final few pages!

If you enjoyed this, you may also like Before I Die by Jenny Downham and Just One Wish by Janette Rallison. We also have a review of the sequel to If I Stay, but beware, there are spoilers!

My thanks to the publishers for sending a copy of this wonderful book.

Booklists.jpg If I Stay by Gayle Forman is in the Top Ten Children's Books About Weighty Subjects.

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Buy If I Stay by Gayle Forman at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy If I Stay by Gayle Forman at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy If I Stay by Gayle Forman at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy If I Stay by Gayle Forman at Amazon.com.

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