Thursday, October 23, 2014

If I Stay

Forman, Gayle. 2009. IF I STAY. New York: Speak (Penguin Group).

At the beginning of the school year, many girls were asking me if we had this book in the library or if we could get it for the library, probably because it had been adapted into a movie that just came out. In order to make that sort of decision, I look in several places. I read reviews and see what grades the book is recommended for, and I also search the catalogs of other middle schools in our district to see if they have the same book. Many did, so I ordered my own copy of the book from Amazon (I still love the way a new book smells and feels) and have been carrying it around in my bag for about a month. I really liked the last book I read, but it took me a while to finish it for different reasons. I liked it too much to abandon it, so I stuck with it and finally finished it after a marathon reading session on Tuesday night. So, when yesterday I arrived at work ready to start a new book, I knew I had to read If I Stay.

The story is about Mia, a high school senior and talented cello player. On a wintry morning, she and her family wake up to a light snowfall in their Oregon hometown. After the morning clears and it's obvious that the storm is over, the temperatures rise and the snow melts. Mia and her mom, dad, and little brother Teddy pile in the car to go visit friends when the unthinkable happens. A truck hits their car. 

Mia opens her eyes to discover that she is outside of her body and can see what is happening TO her. She painfully sees that her parents are both dead from the wreck, but she doesn't look for her little brother. She sees the paramedics arrive and take her to the hospital, where they promptly load her on a helicopter and fly her to a bigger hospital in Portland. 

Mia watches all that unfolds over the next day. The book alternates between Mia telling stories of her former life and watching what is happening to her. Most of the book concerns Mia's relationship with her boyfriend Adam. Mia starts to realize that the choice of whether or not she should return to her body and wake up, or let go and be with her parents is up to her.

I read this book in less than one day, which is crazy fast for me!  It was so easy to read, so engaging, that I couldn't help it. I do think that more girls would be interested in this book than boys, and I know this won't be a popular decision here at my school, but I think it's probably for 8th graders since there is some mature content.

It's a lovely thing when you find a book you want to stay up late with. I was sad when the story abruptly came to an end when it appeared that I had at least 50 pages to go... the rest of the book was filled with discussion questions and excerpts from two others of Ms. Forman's books. I'll definitely be finding those and reading them too!

Keep on readin',
Mrs. Cox

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