Sunday, June 7, 2009

48HBC: If I Stay

If I Stay by Gayle Forman. (Grades 8+)

It snowed in Oregon that winter morning. Mia celebrated the day off from school; it was a day off from everything, really. Her cello was at school, so she couldn't practice. Her parents stayed home from work and the family decided to visit some friends.

On the way there, a truck ran into their car. Mia's parents were killed instantly. Her brother, well, she wasn't sure what happened to her brother. And Mia found herself standing outside her broken body and facing a decision: should she stay or should she go?

As Mia's watching herself go through surgery, watching streams of friends and relatives come to be with her in the ICU, she remembers things about her life. She recalls things she did with her family, how she met her best friend, and when she went on her first date with her boyfriend Adam. And she has to figure out if she can face living without her parents or if maybe the best thing for all involved would be for her to let go.

This is a beautiful little book. The characters felt so real and multidimensional. There's a lot of music in the book. Mia's parents are punk rockers and she plays the classical cello so well that she auditioned for Julliard. I loved reading about Mia's relationship with Adam. It unfolded so organically that it felt really realistic. It wasn't boy meets girl, they kiss, and it's happily ever after. Things took awhile to develop. They had problems that they had to work out. It's one of the most realistic relationships I've seen in a book in a long time.

And ohhh, it's sad. Parts of this book are so touching, I won't tell you how many times I heared up (it was more than a handful). It's definitely character-based, touchy-feely, and kind of quiet in a way. I don't know that it will necessarily be everyone's cup of tea. But if you're looking for a touching book to curl up with for awhile, you can't go wrong here.

Total time spent reading/blogging: 9.5 hours
Books finished: 3
Pages read: 771

And now for something a little lighter, I think...