“If I Stay.” By Gayle Forman – Book Review.

By Bry Schulz

5 Stars:

Yes, it's true; this is a book about death. But the common theme takes a new twist in “If I Stay.” In this story you follow Mia, a teenager, who in the beginning of this book is in a terrible car accident, along with her parents and younger brother. Mia has a sort of out-of-body experience after the accident that ends up killing everyone in the car but her.

Through the rest of the book we experience, with Mia, her watching her body in ICU and flashing to some of her greatest memories of life. She looks on as medical staff keeps her clinging to life and as friends and family visit. During this bazaar twist on voyeurism, Mia struggles to decide if she's going to stay or go. But it turns out it's much more than just living or dying. What she chooses I'll leave a surprise.

It's not a new question to ask: would you want to be alive if everyone you loved were gone? I'm sure you've thought about it. But in this story the actual process of deciding is heart wrenching. Mia has a true love that’s well and alive and fighting for her to stay. Watching Mia's boyfriend plead with her to live is oddly uplifting. Sure it's a tear jerker, but not all are sad. Reading along you fall in love with her boyfriend Adam. But is this one person enough to keep her here?

It's worth mentioning that anyone who got into the “Twilight” saga could easily fall prey to this little love story as well. Tagged as a Young Adult novel it definitely appeals to young love. In fact this book is being made into a movie and the director will be the same woman who directed the first “Twilight” movie, Catherine Hardwicke. However, there are absolutely no vampires or werewolves in this book!

While I definitely recommend keeping the Kleenex near by, I say read this book, and do it now! “If I Stay” is short, running only 208 pages. It can be read in one sitting if you've got an evening. And after you're done you'll feel a whole new appreciation for life after death and the complications we may know nothing about in those moments after someone dies. A chick book? For sure. But one no chick should ignore.


Bry Schulz is a writer, photographer, and mother who really hates squash. Not necessarily the game but definitely the vegetable.

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