Reviews for If I Stay

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2009 #5
A family car trip ends tragically, leaving seventeen-year-old Mia to face a critical choice. Narrator Potter conveys the raw emotion and tender memories that alternate in the comatose Mia's mind as she contemplates life as the accident's sole survivor. Matching the hour-and-minute chapter headings, Potter grounds the action in the hospital here-and-now with the tension and immediacy of her tone. Yet in the next breath, Potter's expression modulates to clearly demarcate the flashbacks to Mia's pre-accident life, her voice warming and softening to share the humor and romance of the past. As Mia confronts the choice of whether to stay with the living or join her family, Potter imbues her completely convincing first-person account with a lifetime of character development. The importance of music in prodigy Mia's life is underscored by the cello interludes that accompany each chapter transition. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

School Library Journal Reviews 2009 August

Gr 9 Up--When you are 17 years old, you believe life is full of never-ending possibilities and promises. Mia, an exceptionally talented cellist, was no exception; she envisioned a life at Juilliard, New Years Eve on Times Square, summers and holidays with her supportive family, and a deeper relationship with Adam, her boyfriend. But one snowy morning, an ill-fated family trip to town leaves her parents and brother dead and Mia the lone survivor. She awakens from the crash to find herself in a "suspended state" of being--she has left her body, but not this side of life. In a coma, Mia must decide if she wants to fight to live. Although she feels like she is "experiencing everything through a fish bowl," it allows her to reflect on past memories and to contemplate her future. She reveals the love and commitment of family and friends connected directly or indirectly to her. Gayle Forman's novel (Dutton, 2009) alternates between Mia's past and present. Narrator Kirsten Potter is exceptional in her range of attitudes, from deep remorse to dripping sarcasm and everything in between. She offers small variations between characters, but she is Mia. Listeners can't help but revisit their own perspectives on life, rethink what is truly important, and expand their definition of family. A moving novel for young adult collections.--Cheryl Preisendorfer, Twinsburg City Schools, OH

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