Death is a common theme in Young Adult fiction , but If I Stay, by Gayle Forman was different. To me anyways. Instead of the ever-popular main character who is going through her own person struggle with teenage angst – “I will just die if he doesn’t ask me to go to prom…” – Mia is thrown into a situation where she has to stare life or death in the face, with no warning but all the consequences of her decision.
Mia’s tale takes place over the span of 24 hours, and has readers laughing along with her as she remembers stories from her past, and then crying tears of intense sadness as she is faced with what loved ones will endure is she leaves. What should be the most significant factor, as always, is the boyfriend, Adam. For me, it was Gramps….
After breezing through Mia’s story in about 24 hours myself, I am left with….I’m not quite sure. Did I love it? I don’t think so. Did I hate it? Absolutely not. Am I going to read the follow-up (which is rumoured to be significantly better)? OF COURSE!
I guess I just fell into the hype. The fact that the film adaption was starting, which must mean it was fan-freakin-tastic. But in the end, I found myself skimming over sections of the book, not really giving Mia the attention that she probably deserves.
One great thing about Mia, is that she is a strong, confident and smart female. Yes, she has insecure thoughts and bouts of second-guessing herself, but she doesn’t let it define her. She chose to play the cello instead of following in her Punk Rock dad’s footsteps, that should say it all. All too often, the main female character in Young Adult fiction makes me wince and want to reach in to the pages and shake some confidence into her. Why do the young females of the world, or any female or individual for that matter, need even more of a reason to feel insecure, unworthy of love, lack confidence and feel like they need to hide their inner self? We can thank the “Bellas” of YA for that. What we need more of is Mia. And Hermione.
People who know me, know that YA is a guilty pleasure of mine, one that I don’t actually feel THAT guilty about! So when my friend sent me these books, it was a foregone conclusion that they would be added to my list. But did it live up to the hype? Negative. Hopefully, Where She Went has me craving to turn the pages and read until all hours of the night, because that’s what Book Lovers desire….the addiction. I just didn’t feel it with If I Stay. Maybe in this instance, the film adaption will be better than the book. I know, I know….the horror!
I did, however, find that I put myself in Mia’s shoes. What would I decide? Could I leave those that love me behind, give up all my hopes, dreams, goals, desires? Or would I go to the unknown, give into the feeling of “freedom”? Seek out those who had already left me behind? Would I find myself thinking the same as Mia, “I realize now that dying is easy. Living is hard”.
Living is hard, but isn’t that half the fun?