If I Stay, by Gayle Foreman
Reviewed by Julia, age 14, New York
If you are looking for a brief, valuable read (and a thorough lesson in new vocabulary) Gayle Foreman's bestseller If I Stay is a worthy novel. The book explores a sensitive topic, death, in a mature manner. Seventeen-year-old Mia, a rising musician with hopes for attending Julliard, is left with a decision like no other after a car accident killing her parents; she must determine whether to live or die while existing in a ghost-like state. The novel addresses all factors of Mia's dilemma through a plethora of well-crafted flashbacks which allow readers to view a good portrait of her family, friends, and boyfriend, Adam.
Despite the unusual plot, there are unmistakable confusions within the text. How could Mia, a girl understood to spend a significant amount of time with her cello and boyfriend, contain such an expansive vocabulary? Also, there is little identification of Mia's existence as a ghost, and it is a conclusion one must draw after reading far enough into the novel. Most of Mia's choice is made by emotions brought upon by her boyfriend, creating a message I'm nervous about a teenage audience reading.
I give If I Stay 3 out of 5 stars. The novel bears a sequel, Where She Went, which is narrated by Adam.