Wednesday, March 2, 2011

If I stay review

Book talk: Mia has a good life.  Her parents are ex-punk rockers and are actually pretty cool.  Her little brother is adorable and she loves reading Harry Potter to him at night.  She has a boyfriend who is way too cool for her but loves her anyway with a band that's starting to go places, and she rocked her Julliard audition and is expecting the acceptance letter any day.  But everything changes when a snow day leads to an impromptu family trip that comes to an abrupt end when they are hit by a truck.  Suddenly her family is a lot smaller.  Her parents are killed instantly, her brother sent to the hospital, and according to medics Mia is in a coma.  Except she can still see everything.  She can see the doctors perform emergency surgery on her.  She can see her grandparents in the waiting room.  But even though she can see them, she can't make herself seen or affect anything in the physical world.  So she has to sit and watch and wait and decide if this is really a world she wants to come back to.  Suddenly everything that made her life wonderful is one more painful memory awaiting her if she returns.  Even if she can affect whether she lives or dies, would she want to?

Rocks my socks: The book takes place in Oregon, which wins it points just for west coast pride.  Her parents and their ex-punk friends are pretty amusing and her romance with her own rock star is tender and sweet.  Her own passion for music in the form of the cello is both amusing due to its juxtaposition and inspiring for how wholly she gives herself over to it.

Rocks in my socks: For some reason even though I can read novels full of unicorns and witches and talking animals without batting an eye the premise of her being some disembodied spirit eavesdropping while in a coma strained my suspension of disbelief bit too much. The book was also a bit overly sentimental for my tastes, as these kinds of books tend to be.  It's not overdone in the context of the story--it makes sense that a girl in a coma flashing back on her life would think of it and describe it in that way--it's just  not the kind of tone I particularly enjoy.

Every book its reader: I'd give this to teenagers looking for a tear jerker with a bit of romance.  Fans of A Walk to Remember and that type of thing.

If I stay by Gayle Forman

Buy it at your local independent book store or check it out from your local library

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