On My Bookshelf: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

November 07, 2016

In If I Stay by Gayle Forman, Mia has the perfect life. She is a talented cello player headed to Julliard with a loving family and an awesome boy friend and best friend. Then a tragic car accident changes everything and Mia must decide if life is still worth living. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
The basic plot from Amazon: In the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen ­year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces- to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make. Heartwrenchingly beautiful, this will change the way you look at life, love, and family. Now a major motion picture starring Chloe Grace Moretz, Mia's story will stay with you for a long, long time.

Why I liked it: If I Stay is filled with a cast of wonderful characters. Mia, the main character is talented and humble, with an adorable younger brother Teddy and slightly eccentric, but humorous parents. She has a thoughtful boyfriend, Adam, and a supportive best friend, Kim. She's got kind grandparents and hip family friends. Her biggest problem her senior year of high school is that acceptance to Julliard as a cello player will put even greater distance between her and the growing success of Adam's band. 

When disaster strikes, a terrible car accident which leaves
In If I Stay by Gayle Forman, Mia has the perfect life. She is a talented cello player headed to Julliard with a loving family and an awesome boy friend and best friend. Then a tragic car accident changes everything and Mia must decide if life is still worth living. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
Mia in critical condition and kills the rest of her immediate family, she must make a choice between living and dying. The novel flashes between past and present as she dwells on the defining moments of her life and the relationships with her loved ones, living and deceased. I won't tell you what her final decision is, but toward the end of the novel, I began to be annoyed by her indecision and the idea that the choice was entirely up to her (as opposed to medicine, God, or whatever it is that you believe in). However, I did like it enough to want to read the next book in the series, Where She Went.   

Classroom application: If I Stay is an appropriate addition to either a middle school or high school classroom library and will likely appeal to your female students most. Mia's debate over staying or leaving would spark interesting classroom discussion. You could ask students to compile their own list of defining moments in their young lives and which way they would be swayed.

The author also seamlessly weaves together the past and present, so the novel could be used a mentor text for examining the literary technique of flashback. 

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of If I Stay for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here.

For more reading suggestions for students and teachers:



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