Imagine this: It’s the first snowfall of the year. School is cancelled, and your parents decide to take the day off, too. Your little brother is bouncing up and down with joy, and your mom announces that today will be spent visiting some close family friends. You all pile in the car, and it looks as though it’s going to be a nice, perfect day.
Until a four-ton pickup truck slams into the passenger side at sixty miles per hour. Tearing off the doors and shattering the windows and setting the remaining pieces of the destroyed vehicle on fire. Damaging every person inside beyond repair.
For seventeen-year-old Mia Hall, her world has just been broken into thousands of tiny pieces. Seen through her eyes in an out-of-body perspective, Mia must watch helplessly as her family is rushed to the hospital and doctors and nurses rush to and fro, struggling to keep their patients alive. She painfully listens to each nurse’s report on her family (including herself) and struggles as her boyfriend, best friend, grandparents, and other loved ones arrive at the hospital, each hoping that the people they love will make it through.
As disaster begins to strike and Mia is put in a coma, only she can make the final decision. Should she let go of the life she once loved so much, or should she stay?
Filled to the rim and overflowing with raw emotion, If I Stay by Gayle Forman is a powerful story of love, loss, and heartbreak. 234 pages made for a bit of a shorter book than what I’m used to, but the lesser amount did not disappoint in content. Mia’s voice rings clear and strong throughout the entire novel. Sentences like “His face, illuminated by the lights, is blank, like someone vacuumed away all his personality, leaving only a mask,” and “pull my hair out in clumps until the pain in my scalp overcomes the one in my heart,” are pieces of bright red raw pain, giving perspective to those who perhaps have never experienced such loss.
An easy, quick read, If I Stay is a novel that is throbbing with heartache and proves that no matter our experiences or losses, life is always worth living.