If I Stay Gayle Forman
I'm not sure why this gets recommended to/compared to Twilight so much. This is so much better-- the writing is better, the characters are more developed, the girls are strong and the guys aren't jackasses, also, no vampires. But, whatever.
One day, Mia and her family are driving to visit family friends when there's a horrific car crash. Mia's parents are instantly killed and Mia is med-evaced to the hospital, where doctors try to save her. Mia's spirit is outside her body, trying to decide if she should stay, or join her family in death. As she lies in a coma, she flashes back to parts of her life-- her parents, her brother, her extended family and large group of family friends, her best friend and her boyfriend.
Mia's a classical cellist on her way to Julliard, her parents are former punk rockers, and her boyfriend's band is starting to take off. In many, many ways, this is a novel about music-- about people who live music, and the role music plays in our lives. I also loved the conflict in Mia's relationship with Adam-- if she got in (and she was probably going to get in) she would be moving from the Pacific Northwest to New York for Julliard. Adam's band was starting to take off-- he had to stay in the Seattle area and it wasn't easy. Neither wanted to break up, but neither wanted to give up their dreams, and were wary of a long-distance relationship, which put strain on things. I love the fact that while Mia was very troubled by it and obviously loved Adam in a more mature way than a lot of high school loves, she never seriously considered choosing him over Julliard. I also liked the conflict between Mia's classical style and Adam's rocker sensibilities-- she has a hard time connecting with Adam's rock friends at concerts and such and it is a source of tension.
On the other hand, this has the greatest (and hottest, and most emotionally intense) scene of love-making ever. And they don't even have sex and it's not really graphic. But... damn.*
I also love the role her family and the family friends play in this novel. I have an excellent relationship with my parents, and it was good when I was in high school, too. My sister and I are close. My parents also have a strong group of friends that I grew up surrounded by and while they aren't all former punk-rockers, most of them are folk musicians. So much of it mirrored my own upbringing in a way we so rarely see in teen literature.
I never skip to the end of the book. NEVER EVER EVER EVER. Seriously, NEVER. But it became apparent very quickly that I was getting way too emotionally invested in Mia's story. Before I went any further, I had to know what was going to happen, if she was going to stay, or die. I peeked. For the first time ever, I skipped to the last page.
That didn't stop me from crying throughout the entire thing. The best parts of the book are near the end, but aren't really spoilery, plot-wise, but kinda spoilery like the trailer of a movie that shows you all the good stuff and there's nothing left the movie. Not that this is the case here, but yeah... I've hidden them here.
In short, awesome and love. But have your tissues handy.
*I flip-flopped on commenting on it, because it's not a sexual book and it's not a huge scene, and so I don't want people to think that it has graphic sex or whatever, because it TOTALLY DOESN'T. But that scene, which shows that "sex" and "making love" aren't the same thing by a long shot, was super hot, and frankly, my favorite love scene that I've ever read. EVER. So I had to comment, because, as I said before... damn.
Book Provided by... my local library
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