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A Reader of Fictions: Meditations from Thais - Yo-Yo Ma

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Meditations from Thais - Yo-Yo Ma

If I Stay
If I Stay, Book 1

Gayle Forman
Pages: 234
Publisher: Speak

Brief Summary:

This day started like any other in Mia's life, except for the super awesome surprise of a snow day. This means Mia gets to spend the day with her parents and little brother, Teddy, all of whom she really loves, not just duty loves. When the snow turns out not to be all that much, they decide to go for a drive to visit some good friends. Mia wakes up to find the same song playing on the radio, only she's standing outside the smashed car and her parents are dead; she cannot find her brother, because she is distracted by the sight of her own mangled body. She follows her body as it is med-evaced to a hospital. In her ghost-like vigil over her own injured body, Mia must decide whether to live or die, to stay or go, to be or not to be.

On setting out on my reading journey for If I Stay, I was full of anticipation, because I have heard a lot of good buzz about this title, but also a bit cautious, due to the Twilight comparison on the cover. Let me state for the record that this book is nothing like Twilight. All they really have in common is that both are YA novels aimed primarily at a female audience.

The opening of the novel definitely worried me as to whether I would like the book (which, just so you know, I did). The first page includes a description of the snowfall: "It isn't even an inch, but in this part of Oregon a slight dusting brings everything to a standstill as the one snowplow in the county gets busy clearing the roads" (3). This sounds like a description of the reaction to snow in Atlanta, not Oregon. As a northern state that, to my knowledge, gets a pretty good amount of snowfall, there seems to be no way they could be so unprepared for the inclement weather. Or the kids would just never have school.

That section aside, I really, really likes this book. It deals with a serious topic, but does so without being preachy or heavy-handed. The writing is fairly simple and even distant in places, but this fits perfectly to the tone of the novel. The whole story just came together beautifully.

What really made the book work for me (and made it completely different from a book like Twilight) was that it did not focus only on Mia's romance. She is in love with a fabulous boyfriend, yes, but he is not all she thinks about. She also spends her time, as she makes her decision, contemplating her family, best friend and love for the cello/classical music. The flashback sections of the novel were definitely my favorites. They just burst with life and I could really feel the love Mia had for those people in her life, even in the times where everything was not as happy. Plus, they felt like real relationships, not like melodrama.

My suggestion to you, dear reader, is to put on a CD of gorgeous cello music and enjoy, although perhaps not on a day when you're sad. For a somewhat similar read (in mood more than anything else - I kept thinking of this book as I read) try The Adoration of Jenna Fox, which I read earlier this year.

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Blogger Sarah Elizabeth said...

So glad this book isn't like twilight. I couldn't bear another one! I also like that the book isn't exclusively about the boyfriend either! :)

May 27, 2012 at 10:52 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yup, this one was a good surprise. I wasn't sure if it would be up my alley, but I totally loved it.

May 30, 2012 at 12:00 PM  
Blogger Mimi Smith said...

This is a great book! Knowing the subject, I was a bit apprehensive before reading it, but I ended up liking it, luckily. Liked the sequel even more :)

December 30, 2012 at 4:30 AM  

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