Reviews for If I Stay

Booklist Reviews 2008 December #2
"*Starred Review* Forman (Sisters in Sanity, 2007) provides a compelling and highly textured account of the brutal 24 hours that may be 17-year-old Mia s last. Her day starts with a drive, with her loving and moderately punk parents and her effervescent little brother, to a bookstore. A collision with another vehicle leaves Mia s parents dead. The narrative is told in a robust first-person voice, with flashbacks, flash-forwards, and out-of-body reports on her immediate surroundings as Mia is transported, in grave condition, to the hospital. The story then follows the medical efforts to save her life, extended family and friends efforts to provide emotional care, and Mia s coming to terms with what has happened and what might still await her. Mia, a gifted cellist, finds support from her alt-rock boyfriend and a best friend whose own mother is a hysteric. Mia s recounting of this critical day is laced with insight, good humor, and wonder, allowing the reader to enter the scene as fully as Mia herself seems to have, at least for now, left her broken body. More developed and satisfying than a Lurlene McDaniel drama, Mia s story will engage readers willing to suspend their disbelief that the future can be seen in the present." Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2009 Fall
A car accident leaves seventeen-year-old Mia in a coma, her parents and brother dead. She hovers between life and death, watching surgeons bustle around her comatose body. The story moves easily between the present vigil and Mia's past as she considers the unbearable pain of living with so much loss. The stakes are poignantly conveyed through Mia's vivid memories. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2009 #4
What begins as the gift of a rare snow day in Portland, Oregon, turns suddenly into nightmare. Seventeen-year-old Mia drives off with her family on the unexpected holiday. A sudden explosion of metal, and Mia is looking at her dead parents sprawled on the asphalt, her little brother nowhere to be found. An ambulance arrives to take Mia's body, bristling with tubes, to a trauma unit, and incorporeal Mia rides along. Distant kin to the dead narrators of The Lovely Bones et al., Mia hovers somewhere between life and death, watching surgeons bustle around her comatose body. An empathetic nurse clues Mia in that "she's running the show" -- that the choice to live or die belongs to Mia. Forman's one-sitting page-turner moves easily between the present vigil and Mia's past as she considers the ultimate choice. A talented classical cellist, Mia is deeply in love with punk-rock singer Adam, who has more in common musically with Mia's formerly punk, effortlessly cool parents. As Mia holds out for Adam's arrival at the hospital and considers the unbearable pain of living with so much loss, her best friend Kim reminds her that she does have family -- all the relatives and friends out there pulling for her. Apart from a heavy-handed clunk or two ("I realize now that dying is easy. Living is hard"), the stakes are poignantly conveyed through Mia's vivid memories of a rich, rewarding life. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2009 April #1
When snow cancels school, Mia and her family pile into their beat-up station wagon for a drive. Unlike most 17-year-olds, Mia is secretly enjoying hanging out with her quirky family until an oncoming driver shatters their lives, leaving the gravely injured Mia with the ultimate decision: Should she stay or go? As a spirit-like observer, Mia narrates the next 24 hours, describing how her medical team, friends, boyfriend and extended family care for her each in their own way. Woven into her real-time observations are powerful memories that organically introduce Mia's passion for classical music, her relationship with her boyfriend and her bond with her parents and brother. These memories reinforce the magnitude of Mia's decision and provide weight to both sides of her dilemma. Forman excels at inserting tiny but powerful details throughout, including the realistic sounds, smells and vocabulary of a hospital, which will draw readers into this masterful text and undoubtedly tug at even the toughest of heartstrings. (Fiction. YA) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2009 March #1

The last normal moment that Mia, a talented cellist, can remember is being in the car with her family. Then she is standing outside her body beside their mangled Buick and her parents' corpses, watching herself and her little brother being tended by paramedics. As she ponders her state ("Am I dead? I actually have to ask myself this"), Mia is whisked away to a hospital, where, her body in a coma, she reflects on the past and tries to decide whether to fight to live. Via Mia's thoughts and flashbacks, Forman (Sisters in Sanity) expertly explores the teenager's life, her passion for classical music and her strong relationships with her family, friends and boyfriend, Adam. Mia's singular perspective (which will recall Alice Sebold's adult novel, The Lovely Bones) also allows for powerful portraits of her friends and family as they cope: "Please don't die. If you die, there's going to be one of those cheesy Princess Diana memorials at school," prays Mia's friend Kim. "I know you'd hate that kind of thing." Intensely moving, the novel will force readers to take stock of their lives and the people and things that make them worth living. Ages 14-up. (Apr.)

[Page 64]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

School Library Journal Reviews 2009 May

Gr 9 Up--Forman creates a cast of captivating characters and pulls readers into a compelling story that will cause them to laugh, cry, and question the boundaries of family and love. While out on a drive with her family, 17-year-old Mia is suddenly separated from her body and forced to watch the aftermath of the accident that kills her parents and gravely injures her and her younger brother. Far from supernatural, this shift in perspective will be readily accepted by readers as Mia reminisces about significant events and people in her life while her body lies in a coma. Alternating between the past and the present, she reveals the details and complexities of her relationships with family and friends, including the unlikely romance with her punk-rock boyfriend, Adam. An accomplished musician herself, Mia is torn between pursuing her love for music at Julliard and a future with Adam in Oregon. However, she must first choose between fighting to survive and giving in to the resulting sadness and despair over all she has lost. Readers will find themselves engrossed in Mia's struggles and will race to the satisfying yet realistic conclusion. Teens will identify with Mia's honest discussion of her own insecurities and doubts. Both brutal and beautiful, this thought-provoking story will stay with readers long after the last page is turned.--Lynn Rashid, Marriotts Ridge High School, Marriottsville, MD

[Page 106]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

VOYA Reviews 2009 February
Beginning with the idyllic chocolate-chip-pancake morning, seventeen-year-old Mia recounts the twenty-four hours surrounding the tragic car accident that kills her parents and leaves her comatose in an ICU ward. In a manner that is not stilted, Mia becomes the invisible observer and narrator of her roadside rescue, emergency surgery, and the waiting room vigil of family and friendsExpertly woven into the detail of medical procedures and heart-wrenching visits by loved ones is the story of Mia, her parents, and ten-year-younger brother Teddy; her passion for the cello; and the unlikely but true boyfriend Adam. And although Forman's novel is about what might go through the lucid mind of a teen who finds herself in Mia's horrific spot, it offers even more. It is a story about the difficult choices facing teens everyday--even those who, like Mia, are part of a supportive family and have everything going for them. Mia's retelling of her own history is not a lament. At times, the reader will forget the narrator's present circumstance and get completely lost in the description of her first date with Adam at a Yo Yo Ma concert. Still the accident and Mia's condition provides a powerful backdrop that brings the history into frighteningly sharp focus--especially at the novel's conclusion. Forman's characters are smart and solid. There is little wasted prose, and not a single event rings false. Music lovers will appreciate the passions of Mia, Adam, and her family, who adopt an eclectic mix of favorites.--Lauri J. Vaughan 5Q 4P S A/YA Copyright 2009 Voya Reviews.