Thursday, April 23, 2009

If I Stay - Book Review

- Caitlin Tadlock
The new young adult novel by Gayle Foreman (Sisters in Sanity) hit shelves this month with much anticipation. The book centers on a teenage girl that is comatose after a tragic car accident that took her family’s lives. Even before the book was released to the public, it was picked up by Summit Entertainment for a 2011 feature film release date with Catherine Hardwicke set to direct.

The 196 page turner is set in the Portland, Oregon suburbs. I returned from a week and a half Spring break visit from Portland and enjoyed the book’s references to Mt. Hood, Hawthorne Street, the downtown sites and the Portland hipster scene, since I just recently discovered those places myself a little over a month ago.

Mia has an outer body experience while she is in a coma in a Portland hospital. Through out her time in intensive care, Mia follows around her comatose body as nurses and doctors perform surgery on her and check her vitals. She also follows around her grandparents, best friend, and boyfriend through the hospital and reminisces about the time spent with them in her life. The book jumps back and forth from present time to past events that make you feel connected with her family and have more sympathy for Mia. You learn that her parents were punk rockers and that Mia was the odd one out as she was a budding cellist with a passion for classical music and a pending acceptance at Julliard.

The book has its silly parts in it, being a young adult fiction and all. In one chapter, a famous rock star from the band Bikini stops by the hospital to distract the nurses as Mia’s indie-cool boyfriend Adam tries to rush the ICU with his band mates and Mia’s best friend to visit her.

All of the past stories Mia shares with us have a hand in making the hardest decision of her life. Mia’s character is likable and somewhat relatable, in the beginning her only common concern was choosing college or her boyfriend and how to deal with relationship and family matters. I read the book in one sitting, not because it was a highly addictive read but because it was just shy of 200 pages. Overall the book is nicely written as Mia struggles between deciding if it would be better to live or to die. If I Stay is a moving and thought-provoking book that attracts an audience of both adults and teenagers.

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