Friday, May 20, 2011
Book Review: If I Stay
If I Stay is a Young Adult novel by Gayle Forman that centers around a 15ish year old girl named Mia. Mia is left in a coma after a bad car accident, but can still hear and see everything that's going on around her. Shortly thereafter, Mia realizes that she has the power to choose whether she lives or dies, and the next 24 hours are spent chronicling her choice.
First, let me say that while YA fiction is not usually my first choice of reading material, I have often enjoyed YA books, even if they do tend to be a bit melodramatic sometimes. However, even trying to think back to my teenage self, If I Stay was hard to relate to for me--at 15 years old, I certainly wasn't telling my mom, 'Hey, my boyfriend and I are going upstairs to my bedroom to have sex, but I'm all out of condoms, could you buy me some?' At 15 years old, I wasn't allowed to take overnight trips with my boyfriend. Not only was I not allowed to, I just had no desire to. My life at 15 was spent playing basketball and with my nose in books. Mia's life at 15 felt so different from my life at 15 (or even in college).
I can understand how and why so many teens love this book--I suppose there are a good number of teens who ARE allowed to take overnight trips with their boyfriends. And I suppose that a good number of those who aren't are probably wishing that they'd be allowed to do the things that Mia does, or even that their life presented such opportunities. For them, it might be nice to imagine what a life like that might be like. But for me, I guess it came down to the fact that I couldn't relate to Mia at all, and because I had a hard time relating to her, I didn't really care about her either. Towards the end of the book, I didn't find myself rooting for her to live, as callous as that sounds. I had no investment in her as a character, and didn't really care what choice she made.