This blog is dedicated to the amazing staff at the New Canaan Public Library in New Canaan, Connecticut.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

If I Stay by Gayle Forman, 2009, * * * *

The last normal moment that Mia, a talented cellist, can remember is being in the car with her family.  Then she is standing outside her body beside their mangled Buick and her parent's corpses, watching herself and her little brother being tended by paramedics.  As she ponders her state ("Am I dead?  I actually have to ask myself this"), Mia is whisked away to a hospital, where, her body in a coma, she reflects on the past and tries to decide whether to fight to live. Via Mia's thoughts and flashbacks, Forman (Sisters in Sanity) expertly explores the teenager's life, her passion for classical music and her strong relationships with her family, friends and boyfriend, Adam. Mia's singular perspective (which will recall Alice Sebold's adult novel, The Lovely Bones) also allows for powerful portraits of her friends and family as they cope.  "Please don't die.  If you die, there's going to be one of those cheesy Princess Diana memorials at school," prays Mia's friend Kim.  "I know you'd hate that kind of thing."  Intensely moving, the novel will force you to take a look at your life and the people and things that make it worth living.  A sophisticated, layered, and beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make and the ultimate choice Mia commands. I truly appreciated her family and friends where everyone is their own character with specific traits and quirks and, amazingly, this is not a dysfunctional, but loving, family. Although this is listed in the library under Young Readers, I would highly recommend it to anyone.

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