When I started the 2016 Reading Challenge, there were some categories I was very excited to choose a title for. For others, I didn’t have a clue where to start looking. And for a few, I groaned inwardly at the thought of having to delve into that genre at all. As a 47 year old woman, I am FAR from being a Young Adult so choosing a YA Bestseller just didn’t sound like fun. But I dove in and figured that if I got it read early in the challenge, I could move on to other categories I like more!
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed “If I Stay” by Gayle Forman. True, the “teen angst” was there with lots of tortured teen romance thrown in for good measure. But I believed the story. I won’t spoil it for you but suffice it to say that the main character, Mia, is in a horrid car accident along with the rest of her family. Her parents are killed instantly and her 7 year old little brother is taken to the hospital. She is also taken to the hospital then taken by medical chopper to a hospital better equipped to deal with the severity of her injuries. This happens fairly early in the book and most of Mia’s life, friendships, and love story are told in flashback. Mia spend most of the story having an “out-of-body” type experience where she grapples with whether she should fight to stay without her family (**spoiler – little brother Teddy succumbs to his injuries) or if she should just let go and slip peacefully into . . . well, she doesn’t really know what she’ll find on the other side of death. So which will she choose?
The writer did a beautiful job creating the inner conflict for Mia as well as making us care for those that care about Mia. Empathy, compassion, hope . . . Forman evokes them all in the reader. I thoroughly enjoyed the read.