If I Stay: A Book Review

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Kelsi Hidde ‘17, STAFF WRITER

As many of you know, If I Stay has been sweeping the nation just like The Fault in Our Stars.  Both of these novels are along the same genre known as ‘rip your heart up and tear it into pieces.’ It leaves you thirsting for the book as soon as you pick it up. I swear I touched the book and it glued itself to my fingers.

The premise of If I Stay starts with 17 year old Mia waking up to a snow day in Portland, Oregon. The snow day is an overreaction, so the family consisting of her little brother, her mother and father decide to drive out to their grandparents house. Then Mia’s life changes forever. A tractor trailer hits her family’s car killing her mother and father instantly, leaving her and her brother unconscious. Her brother dies shortly thereafter and she is left in an outerbody experience to decide whether she wants to return to her shattered life or go on to the afterlife.

What really got me about this book was the role music has in it. Mia is an exceptional cellist on her way to Juilliard. As a fellow musician I completely understand the connection she has with music. She describes her cello as being a human being, the contours of its expertly crafted wood seem to have a soul. Music has a similar connection to me; when I listen to a piece, I can picture emotion as corresponding to color. A piece of music is a red hot moving body, so Mia’s love of music bringing her back to reality completely resonated with me.

This book allows you to take a step back from your own life. It makes you feel the need to take a self-assessment of what you have in life. If I Stay is the book that shows you how to be happy for what you have because in an instant all of it can be taken away from you. I’m not kidding, when I compare this book to The Fault In Our Stars it is just as much a tear-jerker. The entire last half of the book I had tears in the back of my eyes.

What we take away from this book is to not take life for granted. Put yourself in Mia’s shoes. In the morning you could have everything going right in your life and then you snap your fingers and you have lost everything. Think of all the love you have in your life that you have to lose. Would you choose to go back if everything you lost was gone? That’s what I challenge you to do, answer that question.