Genre: YA fiction
Mia is a normal seventeen-year-old girl. She has problems dividing her time between family, her boyfriend, and music. But one day, on the way to visit some family friends, a tragic accident happens. From that moment on, Mia's life is changed forever.
For such a small book, If I Stay is an emotional powerhouse beyond its size. At just under 200 pages, I flew through this book in a few days - but that wasn't just because it was a short read. I love the characters, I love the concept, I love the structure. Even though parts of this book are on the brink of being depressing, it doesn't matter. If I Stay is delicate, intricate, and poignant.
Some people might consider this a spoiler, so read the rest of this paragraph with caution. Judging by the summary, I think it's fair to assume that even without reading this book you can deduce that Mia and her family are involved in a terrible car accident. Because of this, the majority of the book is, essentially, Mia having an out-of-body experience in which she reminisces about her old life and memories. At first I was a bit turned off by this; it seemed a tad on the cheesy side. I soon realised, however, that there's no other way to write the book and still have the same effect as this provided. I grew to accept it, and I even loved it.
It's also fair to assume that If I Stay is an extremely emotional book. And it is. I think this is due not only to the nature of the accident, but to the authenticity of the characters. They're certainly not generic, predictable clones like the people in some of the books I've read in the past. Mia, her parents, Adam, Teddy, Willow, Henry, and Kim feel like they could be based on real people - they're that life-like. Each of them have a personal way of displaying their inner feelings, and this makes If I Stay so much more special. After spending only a couple of days with this book, it already feels life I've known about it for years.
And the ending - oh, then ending. I have to admit that I saw it coming, but who wouldn't? If it ended any other way, the book would have been a complete contradiction. So yes, while it wasn't a shocking ending (which, might I add, would be out of place in a book like this), it was a perfect one. Just the right amount of positivity, curiosity and hope to end the book on a good note.
Recommendation: If you're an avid YA reader you won't want to miss If I Stay. But even if you aren't, pick it up for a quick yet inspiring read.