If I Stay

Gayle Forman


If I Stay By Gayle Forman is a compelling story about a high school girl named Mia. Mia is a quiet, shy girl with a outgoing, fun boyfriend named Adam. They are madly in love with each other. Mia's best and only friend Kim doesn't get along very well with Adam but both Adam and Kim pretend just to make Mia happy. On one unfortunate morning Mia awoke to find snow falling on the ground. Her dad being an English teacher announced that today was a snow day. On their day free from school Mia, her younger brother Teddy, her mom, and her dad all decided to drive up visit their grandparents for the day. On the drive over the family is jokingly arguing over which music to play and having a good time when a freak accident takes place. The driver of the other vehicle slid into them and he came out with just a few bumps and bruises while Mia's family was not quite as lucky. Her mother and father were killed on the spot while Mia and Teddy were both barely hanging on. This is when Mia comes out of her body and starts taking on a ghost like figure. Mia is airlifted while Teddy is taken to a different hospital in an ambulance. Once emergency surgeries are preformed to Mia and she lays in a coma in the ICU she realizes that Teddy has not made it and died along with her parents. Mia then takes us through the day hour by hour. While her family, Adam, and Kim wait anxiously. Mia realizes while going through her life that she isn't waiting for a higher power to decide her fate. It is her own decision and while that might seem like a simple one to make for some people. It comes as a challenge to her. She has to decide to go with the rest of her family to the gates of heaven or stay on earth with no family and only few friends. What would you choose?


Mia- Mia is the main character of the story. She is a high school student at age seventeen. She isn't a very popular girl at her high school. Kim is Mia's best friend and they are inseparable. It came to everyones surprise when Mia started dating Adam a more popular kid at the school. Mia's main interest in life and what she dedicates her time to is classical music. She plays the cello and has to even practice with college students in order to play with people more her level. Mia is the older sister to Teddy who is just eight years old when he gets in the crash with Mia and their mom and dad. After the crash Mia goes into a coma. She is now trapped in an outside world where she is no longer in her body but she can walk around as if she was. No one can see her or know that she is there but she can watch their every move. Unfortunately this doesn't give her any cool super powers or anything like walking through walls or flying. The book is about Mia's decision to stay on Earth or to go with the rest of her family to heaven.

Teddy- Teddy is Mia's younger brother whom she absolutely adores. After the crash when Mia is walking around outside her body she can see that Teddy for the moment is still alive which gives her hope. He is taken to a different hospital so Mia loses touch with him. Teddy is eight years old. Teddy and Mia's mom is convinced Teddy thought Mia was his mom when he was a baby because she was the first person he saw and she cut his umbilical cord. There were still certain things that Teddy would only do with Mia over there mom which made him and Mia very close.

Dad- Mia's dad is middle school english teacher. He dresses like a classy punk. All through high school he was in a punk rock band and is still into the rock scene. Putting his own spin on bow ties and pipes. When Mia was born her dad cried like a baby and ever since that moment they have been very close. On the day of the crash they find out that school is cancelled do to a snow day. Thats when dad decides they should all go visit their grandparents so they get in the car for a drive not knowing it may be some of their lasts.

Mom- Mia's mom like her dad was a punk rocker all through high school. That is how her parents met each other and fell in love. She is very nice and Mia and her are also very close to each other and when she sees that both her parents died in the crash she is almost happy a little bit. Knowing that they will still be together in heaven makes her glad. She couldn't imagine one living without the other.

Adam- Adam is Mia's loving boyfriend. He is her main draw to staying on Earth. Her love for him going so deep. She and Adam aren't the typical high school couple. Adam is a attractive, popular boy while Mia is a quite, shy girl. Adam is a rocker just like Mia's parents while Mia is in to classical music. Through all their differences it brings them closer together. Adam and Mia introduce each other to their completely different worlds. After the crash Adams was supposed to be playing at a big concert but he skips it to see Mia and he tries and tries to sneak into the ICU to get a peak at her but a grumpy nurse catches him every time. All he wants to do is see Mia to let her know how much he lovers her and maybe just maybe that could be enough to bring her back.

Kim- Kim is Mia's best friend and has been for a long time. When they were younger they hated each other but everyone still said they would be best friends. After their biggest fight yet which involved fists and all they just started laughing and every since then have been inseparable. Kim and Adam don't like each other and do whatever they can do to get along just for Mia. But after the crash is really brought them together to comfort each other for no one else knows what they are going through. Kim's mom is over dramatic and when Kim brings her to the hospital Mia is out she starts crying and so Kim makes her leave. Kim is helping plot with Adam to get him into the ICU. While waiting for her friend to either disappear for forever or come back to them Kim is able to make a new friend and this highly pleases Mia.


The main conflict of the book is the question of life. Mia a high school student with an extreme interest in classical music gets into a awful accident with the rest of her family. Her mom, dad, and brother do not make it and are in heaven now. While Mia rests in a coma. She is almost like a ghost now. Outside her body she watches as her real body back on Earth goes through operations and she watches as her other family members like her grandma, grandpa, and boyfriend Adam sit and await her fait. In Mias head she is struggling to decide if she wants to return to her body and Earth or go with her family into heaven. Her love for her punk rocker boyfriend Adam and her love for her family are the forces driving the difficulty in her decision.


"I realize now that dying is easy. Living is hard" (175).

This is a very important passage in the book. It shows the first time that Mia is actually considering death. She now realizes in just this moment that she has a choice and say in what happens to her. Up until now she was waiting for her fate to be decided by someone else. In her head she is amazed as how easily she could die but how hard it is for her to stay alive and on this world. This brings in the conflict of the book because Mia now has to decide if she wants to stay on this world with Adam or to disappear with the rest of her family.

My Opinion

I liked this book for the most part and I would recommend it to a friend. I liked the format of the book because it was different then any other that I have read before. It takes place all in one day and has a lot of flashbacks to explain things that wouldn't have made sense. Mia, the main character, is a high school girl just like me and the problems and situations she dealt with are ones that I too have to go through everyday. Mia was very relatable and that also added a sense of horror to the story because it was so realistic. I felt like what happened to Mia and her family could happen to any one of us. That was what I liked most about the story.


The type of reader who might enjoy this book is a high school student or someone who is struggling with personal or health problems. A high school student can relate to the book and the main character Mia. She deals with all types of high school problems like boys, best friends, and drama. A high school student knows what thats like and can relate. A person going through problems in their life might like this book because thats what Mia is going through. She has to choose between life and death and fight on to stay alive. A person with a illness needs to do the same and by reading the book Mia can give them motivation to push on. It can also help because Mia knows what these people are going through therefore the reader will be able to relate and find a friend in Mia.

Gayle Forman

Gayle Forman is the Author of If I Stay but she has many other books, 26 to be exact, including Where She Went which is the second book to If I Stay. Just One Year, Sisters In Sanity, You Can't Get There From Here: a Year on the Fringes of a Shrinking World are other books Froman has written. Before becoming a author she was a writer for Seventeen magazine writing articles dealing with young people. That is why most of her books are targeted toward the teenage audience. In 2002 Froman and her husband Nick took a trip around the world which gave her the information to write the book You Can't Get There From Here. After that book had been written she wrote the book Sisters In Sanity. She found what she needed to write this book from her time spent writing for Seventeen magazine. The latest books she has written are If i Stay follow by Where She Went. Forman currently lives in Brooklyn with her loving husband and beautiful daughter.


Works Cited

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"Death." Wikimedia. N.p., 1 Apr. 2012. Web. 16 May 2013. <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Death.jpg>.

"High School Students." Wikimedia. N.p., 22 Jan. 2006. Web. 16 May 2013. <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:High_school_students.jpg>.