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.
Like a lot of others I picked this up after seeing the movie trailer. For me, it wasn't about preparing to go see the film, (those trips are usually to see the latest and greatest Abrams flicks), but the premise of a comatose girl trying to decide whether she should give up and die or find something worth living for drew me in.
Many other reviewers have commented that the girl, Mia, spends very little time actually contemplating this decision over the course of the novel, but I have to disagree. While the character doesn't brood openly about her decision, every memory she has helps tip the scales against or in favor of waking up and living a life permanently altered by tragedy.
What I did have trouble with is the ending, not because it was poorly written, or out of place - the last pages of 'If I Stay' were exactly what you would hope for given the emotional roller-coaster that the author pushes you through from page one. What I had a big problem with was the preview for the sequel novel 'Where She Went' that followed the closing chapter. For whatever reason, the first chapter of the second novel, told from the boyfriend Adam's perspective now, totally turned me off to not only reading the next book, but spoiled the experience of reading the first one.
Bottom Line: 'If I Stay' is a quick read worthy of it's fan base. An emotional page-turner that doesn't get heavy handed but does feature characters that can be a touch unbelievable. Overall, a solid entry in the young adult category that I'd recommend for anyone looking for something substantial as it raises real questions about life, death, love and family. If you like titles such as 'The Fault in Our Stars' then this one is for you - just learn from my mistake and avoid reading the preview for 'Where She Went'