by Gayle Forman – There isn’t much I can say about why this book is transcendent, moving, heartrending, haunting and achingly poignant without telling you what happens to make the events of the book resonate so deeply. And I won’t spoil it for you, because this is a book you should experience for yourself, so I’ll simply tell you the bare bones. Mia is a 17-year-old high-school student, a cello-playing prodigy. She is out with her parents and her 7-year-old brother on a rare snow day in their small Oregon town when the unthinkable happens: a car crash changes her entire existence and leaves her in limbo, with a decision to make. As she tries to figure out what has happened and what she really wants to do, we discover the people she loves and how their relationships with her have shaped her. Music runs through the story and through Mia’s life, adding depth and texture.
I love this book. It is a gem that will remain on my bookshelf for many years. And yes, it’s labelled a YA book, but don’t let that stop you from reading it. The themes and characters transcend the label. If I Stay will move you, deeply. I’m not ashamed to admit that I read parts of it through tears, especially the end. I hope you will give it the chance to do the same for you. (finished 7/22/11)