Thursday, July 2, 2009
If I Stay
Mia's life starts out idyllic: it's a snow day and everyone in her family is home. As Mia's mom, dad and little brother make plans to go out for a drive during the day, we learn that her dad is a former punk band member who gave up much of what he did when children came along. He is now a middle school teacher but the love of music in this family is immense. Mia is waiting to hear if she got accepted to Julliard- as she is an incredible classical cellist. Adam, Mia's boyfriend and love of her life, is also a musician but more along the same lines as Mia's dad.
During their drive, however, the family car is t-boned by a semi truck and Mia is the only one left alive- well, comatose. And, she has been transported out of her body so she can watch all that is happening in the hospital. The book spans only a day, but it is interspersed with Mia's detailed flashbacks of her life before this moment. It is the flashbacks that help the reader understand what her family life was like and what she would be giving up if she decides to stay in her body. It's never really clear how much control Mia has over whether she stays (lives) or goes (dies). The aspect of Mia being able to watch her operations, family grieving, and her own body hooked up to monitors and ventilators is a very unique one. I am reminded of The Lovely Bones, but Susie Salmon is narrating from heaven. I know Elsewhere (Gabrielle Zevin) has sort of the same narration, though I've yet to read it (this summer!). This was a fresh and beautiful look at how a teen can appreciate the beauty in life and how one person can choose to fight for their own life. The language read almost like a poem and I have to say that I inhaled this book and still want more. I can't wait to share it with kids this fall!
P.S. Teri Lesesne ( of Professor Nana fame) just reviewed the audio of this book and I can't wait to get my hands on it. She said it was even more of a tear jerker than than the book!