If I stay is a story about a girl, Mia, who lives in Oregon, and comes from a family of four; her parents, who used to be punk (her dad was in a local band), Mia herself, and her little brother, Teddy, who is very young. Mia gets into a car accident and becomes something between a ghost an a zombie; basically, her soul is outside of her body, and she sees the doctors and all of her loved ones react to her nearly fatal accident in different ways. Based on all of this, Mia has to see what she has lost, and what her life will be like if she stays, hence the title. She also has a best friend named Kim, and an amazing rock star boyfriend named Adam, and a strong passion, (and talent) for playing the cello.
The thing about this book is that it's very direct; there aren't too many fancy words or sentences for that matter, which might confuse you otherwise. It's easy to read in terms of style.
However, it is quite a heavy book, so maybe some people would not like to read it. The characters were all very lively, the kind that really draw you in and make you feel at home. Kim, Mia's best friend, is Jewish, and hilarious. Adam is, well, he's punk rock, all the way. From cursing loudly in the ICU to taking Mia to some classical music thing, he's definitely earned himself a place in my heart. Mia's parents, and little brother re some of the most amazing, confident and unique characters I have come across, warm, loving, and fierce. Her mom an her mom's "rocker friends are said to be a "feminist bitch" which I kind of agree with-- but in a good way.
The story is told in present time, where Mia's souls is trapped outside her body, along with flashbacks or memories with of her with various characters, like Adam, Kim, her parents, etc.The memories are vivid, and enjoyable, though some of them really strike your heartstrings.
What I didn't like was how bland Mia, herself felt. It was as if everyone else, all the other characters were drawn in colors while Mia was a black and white sketch. I also didn't really like this one intimate scene with Adam, to be honest I just found it plain freaky.
Some scenes in the book had me laughing, like when Kim and Adam try to break into Mia's ICU with the help of a bunch of hipsters, but some scenes, like where dam visits Mia in the ICU ( finally), just broke my heart. I have to admit, in the beginning, when I started reading this book, I didn't really enjoy it all that much, but it slowly grew on me. One thing that I really did not like, though, was the lack of racial diversity in the book; I think only one character was black, and she was like a supporting character.
In terms of emotional baggage, this book holds a lot. It definitely has something to teach you about love, loss, and hope. Hope is eminent throughout the book, along with some themes of ruining relationships, and happiness, and cello--don't even get me started on the cello.
All of these different elements to the story, Mia's more-than-20 visitors to the ICU, her family, friends, boyfriend, hope, her music, her passion for playing the cello and applying to college in New York, have been so beautifully combined along with the simple narrative that the book makes it feel consistent.
And that is a commendable feat.
Overall, I give this book maybe a 3 and a half stars out of five, 3.5/5.
Gayle Foreman has other books too, the If I Stay series also has other books, but I don't know if I will read them soon. Or if I would recommend this book either.
It's up to you, really. You've read this review, what do you think of the book, if you've already read it?