If I Stay by Gayle FormanIf I Stay by Gayle Forman

If I Stay

byGayle Forman

Paperback | April 6, 2010

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The critically acclaimed, bestselling novel from Gayle Forman, author of Where She WentJust One Day, and Just One Year.
Soon to be a major motion picture, starring Chloe Moretz!
In the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen ­year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces- to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make. Heartwrenchingly beautiful, this will change the way you look at life, love, and family. Now a major motion picture starring Chloe Grace Moretz, Mia's story will stay with you for a long, long time.
Gayle Forman is an award-winning, internationally bestselling author and journalist. She is the author of Just One Day and Just One Year, and the companion e-novella Just One Night, as well as the New York Times bestsellers If I Stay and Where She Went. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and daughters.
Title:If I StayFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:320 pages, 8.31 × 5.5 × 0.86 inShipping dimensions:8.31 × 5.5 × 0.86 inPublished:April 6, 2010Publisher:Penguin Young Readers GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:014241543X

ISBN - 13:9780142415436


Rated 5 out of 5 by from awesome book i love the story line- the book and movie made me cry. it was beautifully written
Date published: 2018-08-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Emotional I really loved this book. It was written well, and the story was a page-turner. I couldn't put this book down, and i went through so many emotions in this story! #plumreview
Date published: 2018-08-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from wasn't bad This book wasn't exactly bad, just not my cup of tea. I found the plot line boring and slow and didn't really care for the charcters
Date published: 2018-08-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from It wasn't too bad This book wasn't really much of a page turner for me as I would have liked it to be. The plot was interesting at some parts. I found I lost interest to reading it during some parts of the book too. Overall it's a good book, but I do have mixed feelings about it.
Date published: 2018-08-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AMAZING BOOK This was an amazing book! I read it years ago but still remember the tears it brought to my eyes. In my opinion, this book is a must read!
Date published: 2018-08-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing As pon as I picked this book up, I couldn't put it down! In my opinion, definitely better than the movie, nothing but positive feedback for this book.
Date published: 2018-08-05
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Slow and Dry I found this book to be quite slow and the writing amateur-ish. Not really my style, but I can see why it has such a great appeal to others.
Date published: 2018-07-24
Rated 2 out of 5 by from not a fan I really did not care about the characters or what happened in this book.
Date published: 2018-07-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great book This book is packed with emotions. I enjoyed it a lot.
Date published: 2018-07-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Beautiful Story! A wonderful book! really good at bringing out your emotions!
Date published: 2018-07-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Change of Opinions When I first read this book 8 years ago I loved it and though I still find it an amazing book some scenes between Mia and Adam were very unrealistic. However, I believe the second book Where She Went was even better than the first so I highly recommend reading both.
Date published: 2018-07-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Made me cry I loved this book. The story was amazing. Made me cry once or twice though. Definitely would recommend!
Date published: 2018-07-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from sad, but amazing made me cry, books rarely ever do that to me :( such a nice storyline though
Date published: 2018-07-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from It was good It was good, but I just don't care for these kinds of books thar take place within only a day. #plumreview
Date published: 2018-07-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from not bad Not bad, although it was kind of obvious how things could possibly end up.
Date published: 2018-05-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved it! I bough this book when I was 12 years old ( I'm now 20) and I still read it! It was just as riveting and heart-breakingly beautiful since the day i finished it.
Date published: 2018-04-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from SO Good I read this book a while back and it was amazing. I like how it switches from the past and present, in anon- confusing way. This is a great read.
Date published: 2018-04-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great read for sure It was a great read finished it one sitting, the story line was amazing the characters were great.
Date published: 2018-04-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AM COMPLETELY IN LOVE This book was simply amazing. I could not stop reading it and literally brought it everywhere with me until I was done. The characters are outstanding and the storyline is completly devastating... it doesn't happen often that a book can make me want to cry but I was definately shedding a tear or two while reading this. Would 10000% recommend!
Date published: 2018-03-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from okay Good story but kind of boring at some parts. The flashbacks were sweet though.
Date published: 2018-03-26
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not as Good as I was Expecting I heard great things about this book and thought is would be great but was disappointed. The story ends with no closure and despite trying to show the uncertainty of life it leaves the reader looking for a better quality of uncertainty.
Date published: 2018-03-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Could not put this down! A great read. Really tugs at the heartstrings and beautifully captures emotions.
Date published: 2018-03-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Emotional I may be a little too emotional for this type of book. Every time I picked it up my eyes watered. Mia's story really makes you reflect on life and death and although sometimes the memories seem like page fillers, there's something that just stopped me from putting the book down. I needed to know what would happen IF SHE STAYED.
Date published: 2018-02-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from This Book Hurt It was painful to read. Not because it was bad, but because it resonated with me for some reason. There's a part in the middle of the book where I was full on crying. While it is slow its pace fits the subject and themes of the novel. Honestly, I feel that the only major issues I had were with the romance. I didn't really invest in it, but luckily it isn't the main focus of the book.
Date published: 2018-02-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fantastic! I never put this book down! Great storyline that has so many emotions! Read this book in under a day, and it made me love all the characters and feel their feelings! Really emotional and perfect for teen readers!
Date published: 2018-01-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fantastic! I never put this book down! Great storyline that has so many emotions! Read this book in under a day, and it made me love all the characters and feel their feelings! Really emotional and perfect for teen readers!
Date published: 2018-01-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fantastic! I never put this book down! Great storyline that has so many emotions! Read this book in under a day, and it made me love all the characters and feel their feelings! Really emotional and perfect for teen readers!
Date published: 2018-01-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fantastic! I never put this book down! Great storyline that has so many emotions! Read this book in under a day, and it made me love all the characters and feel their feelings! Really emotional and perfect for teen readers!
Date published: 2018-01-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not Bad Not the best novels I have read, but that's taking in consideration this isn't necessarily my genre of books. Overall not a bad one. Decent storyline. Still have to watch the movie.
Date published: 2018-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible book! Great read! A compelling, emotional tale about living and dying. A thought provoking book! #plumreview
Date published: 2018-01-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Book was better than the movie I bought this book a while back after I saw the movie, and found that I liked the book better than the movie! You HAVE to read the book before seeing the movie. No spoilers required!
Date published: 2018-01-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing its an amazing story with mixed emotions but it is such a sweet heart touching story that never fails to captivate my attention.
Date published: 2018-01-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Love! Great read - very emotional and captivating, also well written and the characters are interesting!
Date published: 2018-01-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A beautiful book, 4.5/5 A short, sweet, yet extremely intricate and compelling story about a young girl following an accident. So beautiful, and will definitely stick with you long after you're done.
Date published: 2018-01-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Thought Provoking I really enjoyed the book with the young lady in between living and dying. Made you think . Emotional and a good message to ponder.
Date published: 2017-12-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Really good read. Pretty easy, you can get through it in a day. Really sad and beautiful story.
Date published: 2017-11-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my fav I loved this book so much. Definitely better than the second one!
Date published: 2017-11-22
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Predictable, Cliche **Spoiler** it has a sequel. I have yet to read the sequel but the fact that it has a sequel ruins the book. Although the ending was already cliche and predicable, having a sequel just confirms it. Despite the unsurprising conclusion, it is well written with multiple flashbacks. Teddy is an interesting character and I wish the novel went more in depth with their brother-sister relationship. It has very little action, then again, it is a romance novel. If I Stay leaves me a few questions: If people cannot see her but Mia can manipulate doors, can she open the door for someone or accidentally hit someone with the door or other objects? Can she "physically" pull her own wires if she wanted? Can out-of-body her feel her physical self?
Date published: 2017-11-09
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not what I expected #plumreview I don’t often read young adult books but this one held my interest.
Date published: 2017-11-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Enoyable Haven't seen the movie, but really enjoyed the book. Can't wait to read the sequel. Moment of happy, moments of sad, and moments of pure heart break. Everything I love in a YA book.
Date published: 2017-10-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Enjoyed the read I went into the book not knowing a single thing about it nor the hype about it. I really enjoyed it and they "ghost" like state. It really made me look at things differently while sitting beside my dying mother and what she "may" or "may not" be taking in. The book received many negative reviews but it is one that stays with me long after the last page.
Date published: 2017-09-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Powerful Novel This is a powerful novel that explores themes of loss, survival, and coming of age. Many of the middle-age school children are interested in this series.
Date published: 2017-09-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Loved loved loved this story!! If I Stay is a very intriguing book, mostly because more than half of the story is told in the perspective of a young girl who is in between the stages of living and dying. The author did a very good job of conveying this perspective because it is not an easy task to get readers to understand the place that she is in. It is a book that displays emotion, family, love, death and more all in one suspenseful and heartfelt story that is sure to keep you flipping the pages until you reach the very end. There is a sequel to this book and as soon as I finished reading If I Stay, I ran out to go purchase the second one, Where She Went because the first book ends with a really thrilling cliffhanger. Therefore, I suggest to anyone that wants to read this book to pick up the sequel at the same time because as soon as you finish reading the first one, you will want to start reading what comes next right away, guaranteed!
Date published: 2017-09-01
Rated 2 out of 5 by from movie was better as rare as this is the movie was way better
Date published: 2017-08-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Young Adult Book This is a great novel for young adults which is very powerful.
Date published: 2017-08-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A music lover's dream As both a classical musician and a rock musician, this combined the best of both worlds. From a reader's point of view, it was a captivating page-turner that definitely kept me on edge.
Date published: 2017-08-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A good read, but not mind blowing Very emotional read, I kinda of expected the ending, although I loved it.
Date published: 2017-08-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AMAZING! I was told that it was hard to understand the difference jumps between the times but I found it easy and worth every minute.
Date published: 2017-08-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Picked it up because of the movie I read this a while ago, and I started reading this book because I had heard a movie was going to be made about it. It was okay. Like others have said, the book was a little hard to follow, but nonetheless, I wanted to finish it. The perspective of the main character is what kept me interested.
Date published: 2017-07-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from It was okay I found that this book was interesting but, it was very predictable. At some points, the book became boring but other than that, it wasn't bad.
Date published: 2017-07-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from <3 Although confusing at times, after a couple of reruns and thinking you'll definitely go "OHHHHH" Honestly I love the book so much I bought both original cover and movie cover! I just loved how Forman combined past and present with as little confusion as she possibly could, yet the emotions portrayed stayed true to each character throughout time. Although some problems in the novel relate to the music life and world, I believe that musician or not, you'll be able to learn some valuable lessons with this book. Or at least find it enjoyable!
Date published: 2017-07-12
Rated 2 out of 5 by from CONFUSING I like the story but I was confused. It is kind of boring at times as well.
Date published: 2017-06-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A very good story told from a very different perspective! If I Stay is a very intriguing book, mostly because more than half of the story is told in the perspective of a young girl who is in between the stages of living and dying. The author did a very good job of conveying this perspective because it is not an easy task to get readers to understand the place that she is in. It is a book that displays emotion, family, love, death and more all in one suspenseful and heartfelt story that is sure to keep you flipping the pages until you reach the very end. There is a sequel to this book and as soon as I finished reading If I Stay, I ran out to go purchase the second one, Where She Went because the first book ends with a really thrilling cliffhanger. Therefore, I suggest to anyone that wants to read this book to pick up the sequel at the same time because as soon as you finish reading the first one, you will want to start reading what comes next right away, guaranteed!
Date published: 2017-06-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good read, a little confusing I enjoyed the interactions between the characters, although the constant time switching made it a bit confusing to follow at times.
Date published: 2017-06-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from If I stay I love books that switch between time, it makes them more captivating. The characters were likable and the plot is a delight.
Date published: 2017-05-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Characters were great The connection between the characters were what drew me to continue the book, however the switch between time can get rather confusing.
Date published: 2017-05-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Tearjerker The relationship is adorable and endearing, which just adds to the tears. The set up of the book where it goes back and forth between past and present really pulls at the heartstrings. Some parts/memories were more interesting than others, but overall, a good read.
Date published: 2017-05-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Tearjerker The relationship is adorable and endearing, which just adds to the tears. The set up of the book where it goes back and forth between past and present really pulls at the heartstrings. Some parts/memories were more interesting than others, but overall, a good read.
Date published: 2017-05-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from heartbreaking This story is very hard to swallow. In that sense it's impactful. It lost me on the relationship with Mia and Adam. It was a bit cliché there. I was more intrigued by Mia's relationship with her family. That was what made the book so heartbreaking. Gayle Forman did a wonderful job capturing a family it would hurt to lose.
Date published: 2017-05-06
Rated 2 out of 5 by from So-So This book is exactly what you expect it to be. It is written in a creative perspective, but I didn't love it. It was predictable, but I kept reading to make sure I was right. Still a good read, but definitely not the best.
Date published: 2017-05-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from It was okay I thought that this book was good but it wasn't as good as I hoped that it would be. It was hard for me to connect with the characters and the book was predictable in my opinion. I did love some parts of the book, just not enough for me to fall in love with the book.
Date published: 2017-04-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Lovely book I enjoyed this book. It was a light read.
Date published: 2017-04-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good book I liked, but I didn't love it. I didn't feel like I could connect with either characters and kind of felt like the movie did a better job at making it more enjoyable.
Date published: 2017-04-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Did not live up to the hype... Characters: ok Relationships: ok Feels: definitely Relatable: not really... Pace: ok I guess Boring parts: a few Worth the Read: not really
Date published: 2017-04-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I really enjoyed this book! I really like reading this book!
Date published: 2017-04-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Book Ever! OMG I loved this book! I couldn't put it down! A must read!
Date published: 2017-04-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Be Prepared To Cry I am so happy I bought this book, very well written, definitely a tear jerker (I bawled my eyes out), highly recommend this work of art.
Date published: 2017-04-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVED Amazing book. Amazing story. I couldn't put the book down after starting it!
Date published: 2017-03-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Feeling Good A thoughtful book which intrigued the mind and emotions
Date published: 2017-03-28
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Ew This book was nasty. I forced myself to finish it but i wish i saved my time for something better. Ever feel like you were robbed of your time? Well this was exactly like it. Save your money and time!
Date published: 2017-03-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow Gets intense right from the start
Date published: 2017-03-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from I loved it!! I enjoyed this novel and the writing style of the author
Date published: 2017-03-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Touching Good. Very touching ... need a big imagination
Date published: 2017-03-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A page turner book I can't keep my eyes off of this book. I am excited to know what will happen next. I finished this book in an instant. I really prefer the book than the movie though. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-03-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Better than the movie I read this book after the movie came out. I have to say I liked this much better than the movie. So many emotions in this book
Date published: 2017-03-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A Pleasant Surprise This little novel was actually a pleasant surprise. I do not read much YA, but like to dabble every now and then. I listened to it on audio and it held my attention and even got me a little choked up a few times. I will defiantly read the sequel, as it actually got better reviews and I find that intriguing.
Date published: 2017-03-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Terrific This book will really play on your heart strings. Very well written!
Date published: 2017-03-13
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not a Huge Fan... This book is definitely not worth the hype. It was an easy read and semi-enjoyable. But the story was just not entertaining. It was predictable and boring. I would've rated it 2 stars, had it not been for the terrible ending.
Date published: 2017-02-25
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Worst. Just don't waste your time.
Date published: 2017-02-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well written, emotional read! Reading this book you'll definitely feel a mix of emotions. It's a great story, and definitely might get you shedding a few tears. Also a great movie!
Date published: 2017-02-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really Good So many emotions! A very touching novel.
Date published: 2017-02-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So Sad This book was so full of emotion and though the subject is a hard one, I think there are many people who can sympathize with Mia's predicament. It's easy to be selfish and to think of how your actions impact yourself but it's so much harder to think about how what you do affects others around you. Mia has a tough choice to make and the nature of why she makes the choice she does is explored in the second book. This book feels real to me in a way that others of the genre do not. Splendid.
Date published: 2017-02-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Pretty Good This book is actually really good. Full of emotion, and full of good writing. I don't regret picking this book up.
Date published: 2017-02-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Juvenile Easy read - juvenile writing style, but good.
Date published: 2017-02-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Creative, heartwarming, beautifully written Couldn't have asked for a better medical story. I'm a big fan of medicine so anything that requires any medical treatment gets me excited. But not only that, I had a wonderful time reading about Mia's current dilemma as well as about her past and the events that had led up to this moment. Although, I have to admit, the romantic relationships are cringey and not as well developed as I would have liked.
Date published: 2017-02-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A quick read An easy read. Well written and easy to get through
Date published: 2017-02-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Very sad story This book was very sad, but was recommended to me by many people so i gave it a shot. nice writing style, but a little too sad for my liking.
Date published: 2017-01-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book This was great...unexpected throughout. Really enjoyed..cant wait to read the next one.
Date published: 2017-01-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from good Gives you hope that things can turn around
Date published: 2017-01-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful What a beautiful book! i Loved it so much!!
Date published: 2017-01-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Surprised me! I wasn't sure at first if this is something I would like but I loved it! It is a quick read that makes you wanting more with each page.
Date published: 2017-01-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Quick read Good book to kill a couple hours. Moved quickly. Was disappointed with the sequels, felt like it could have ended at the one.
Date published: 2017-01-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Nothing Special Though the story is entertaining, it is not quite as good as all of the hype makes it out to be. The story unfolds well and gives glimpses into the life of a teen struck by tragedy, but falls short of spectacular.
Date published: 2017-01-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Worthwhile Read but not in tune with the Hype I recently finished this novel and though the story telling is simple and enticing, the novel falls far from the hype surrounding it. The story is both tragic and beautiful and it was a very fast read, but it wasn't life changing or anything I haven't read from other authors before.
Date published: 2017-01-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Okay I had very high expectations for this book but, sadly, I didn't find the book to be very special. Overall the book was well written and included beautifully written details but, the book didn't wow me as much as i hoped it to.
Date published: 2017-01-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So good This novel is heartwrenching. A must read.
Date published: 2017-01-05
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Not good. With all the praise I thought this book would at least be interesting. Nope, the writing wasn't very good at all and the plot was fairly predictable. There was a lot of awkward moments and I didn't feel anything for the characters. One of the only books I have gotten rid of after reading it.
Date published: 2017-01-02
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Written for young audience. Very poorly written. I rarely give books a poor review but this one really disappointed me. The plot is good just poor execution.
Date published: 2017-01-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVED IT Decided to read the book after watching the trailer. Glad I did. Great book! #plumreview
Date published: 2017-01-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read I saw the movie first and then wanted to read the book, it was great to get a little bit more background and info. Great read!
Date published: 2016-12-29
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Dissapointed Didn't like all the back and forth between past and present and the ending left me disappointed. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-12-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved this novel! If I Stay kept me reading and never wanting to put it down.
Date published: 2016-12-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Emotional This is an amazing book. Never read this author before but can't wait to red the next one. Awesome.
Date published: 2016-12-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great book Characters are very likable, and the relationships are exceptionally written
Date published: 2016-12-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful book! What can I say about this book. I can't believe I have been putting this book aside for so long. It's one of those books that will stay with you. I don't read contemporary books that much so I was little hesitant at first. When I first read the synopsis I had no idea what was waiting for me during those first pages. Mia has an out-of-her-body experience and watches herself as doctors try to do everything they can to save her body. She had an accident and now she gets to see everything that happens around her even if her body is in coma. Being in this position is confusing but not as confusing as it is when she faces a choice of whether to live or stay. Mia has a lovely family and even lovelier boyfriend Adam. Adam plays a huge role in this book. Thinking of the book and wanting to say more about it I realize that I have to be very careful not to spoil anything. It's one of those books that you'll have to read to find out what it means to you. The book deals with loss, grief, loving and letting go. Music plays a central role in this book as Mia and her family and even her boyfriend are musicians or lovers of music. Gayle Forman captured me with her beautiful writing. As Mia faces the new reality of her life the author gives us a glimpse at her life before the accident. We get to know how she met Adam, know her parents and of course her love for the celo. This book is very emotional and deals with different kinds of emotions. Did I cry? Yes. Not throughout the entire book but there were certain parts that I just couldn't not to. The whole time reading this book I felt sad about what was happening. Saying that this book is awesome feels wrong somehow due to the dept this book has and what it deals with. It's one those books that will stay with you for a long time after you're read it. If I Stay was kept in my mind for days after I read it and couldn't read another book because I wasn't ready to let it go. I would tell anyone who loves books to read this. I even got my mom interested in it, when she learned what was this book about, and she doesn't even read to begin with.
Date published: 2016-12-18
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Unsatisfying I didn't like the story, I didn't like the characters, I didn't like the ending. It didn't live up to my expectations. Too much back and forth between past and present, quite boring.
Date published: 2016-12-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Pretty Good I liked the book when I first read it, and loved how it was structured and the story as a whole.
Date published: 2016-12-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favorites! I got the box set (came with "if i stay" and "where she went") last year, for Christmas. I have read If I Stay 3 times all ready. Each time i've read this book i can't put it down. It is a bit different from the movie so if you have watched the movie you could still read this book. It's a page turner and i completely recommend this book. Great Christmas gift!
Date published: 2016-12-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! It's a quick read but amazing
Date published: 2016-12-10
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Ok Read it beacuse of the movie coming out. Didn't find the book to be that great.
Date published: 2016-12-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Love It I finished reading this in one sitting, I just couldn't put it down. I loved the first book, but the sequel was very disappointing though.
Date published: 2016-12-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! I loved this book! The concept was really cool and I loved the writing. The story is told through flashbacks and I really got to feel the beauty of life throughout this book. Love loved loved it!
Date published: 2016-12-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A wonderful story One morning, Mia and her family decide to go on a roadtrip since it is a Snow Day and there is no school for Mia and her little brother. The only problem: when it is Snow Day the streets are usually really slippy and dangerous. That is why Mia’s family have a car accident. Now in a coma between life and death, Mia has to decides if she wants to stay or go. This book was amazing! I loved it so much! I was only half way through and I already wanted to give it five stars… What I preferred the most about this book is that it really makes you think about your priorities in life because of what Mia is going through. Also, throughout the book I reflected a lot about I would do being in the place of Mia. The writing style was really fast paced with the story of the present and flashbacks from the past that help us understanding better what Mia is feeling during her decision process. There are a lot of musical references since music takes a big part in Mia’s life and there were a lot of those references that I did not understand. Mostly because they were about classical music or old rock and that I don’t listen a lot to those genres. Luckily, on Gayle Forman’s website there is a playlist of the music she mentions throughout the book and we can listen to them, and even buy them if you enjoy some. In conclusion, I cannot wait to see the movie! And I recommend this book to everyone who enjoys a good and heartbreaking contemporary.
Date published: 2016-12-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Pretty good. Was good but also pretty sad.
Date published: 2016-12-04
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Meeeh I guess I was just expecting so much more. I had to actually beat myself up to finish that book..
Date published: 2016-11-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from sad I found this book super sad. I think it was well down for such a depressing matter
Date published: 2016-11-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Stunning and Beautiful One of my favourite books. Heartbreaking and thought provoking, I will read this book for years to come.
Date published: 2016-11-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really liked it Enjoyed the book. Excited to see the movie and compare them.
Date published: 2016-11-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from WOW I had a lot of feelings reading this book. It's more of those journey books, less of a "quest: time book. The concepts are interesting and wonderfully written, all in all, I liked it very much.
Date published: 2016-11-15
Rated 1 out of 5 by from I hate this book so much. When I heard about it's movie adaptation, my curiosity was peaked. So, naturally I read the book before reading the movie. I think that the trailer might've set the bar for the book too high or something, because this is one of the worst books I've ever read. Conceptually, it's interesting, and has some endearing characters, but Forman's target audience is teenagers and she missed. When reading the book, I felt as if it was written for a fifth grader, or someone with that level of literacy. This has been the only time I have ever said in my life, that the movie was actually better than the book.
Date published: 2016-11-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from loved it this story is written so well that you can feel what the characters are going thought.
Date published: 2016-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Light read Not a happy story but written in the way that I enjoyed it. Very light read that everyone will understand. Good book if you want to read something and relax.
Date published: 2016-11-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Just amazing I watched the movie when it came out, and since then I've wanted to read the book, and oh my god it was amazing! Foreman's writing is amazing, and everything flowed so smoothly. The story was beautiful, and I just love everything about it. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from love love love love LOVE LOVE this book; where do i even begin, its just wonderful amazing beautiful written like all of Gayle Formans other books. this one in fact was one of the best. Mia is a cellist keeps to herself and would not go for Adam, they fall in love yadayadayada, although the car crash come quite quickly in the book and i found that it was confusing when they jumped back and forth between the dates, other than that it is an amazing book
Date published: 2016-06-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Such a good book! Such a diverse book it's one of my favorites!
Date published: 2016-03-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What an experience!! Excellent book!! :) If I stay was an amazing book. Heads up folks….the beginning is pretty graphic. The effects of the car crash are described in great detail. Gayle Forman really took you there, as she does throughout the book. Scenes from the past and scenes from the present are seamlessly intertwined through the main characters senses. It was easy to follow and always came back around to the point at hand. Seriously, job well done Gayle! This book will tug at your heart strings and make you appreciate the life you have! It will make you realize the important things in life, like family, friends and love.
Date published: 2016-02-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome book :) When I started reading this book I couldn't stop!! It was really good :) I really enjoyed it. Great author <3
Date published: 2016-01-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great book Even if it's a bit slow in the beginning, this books is so great because of the storyline in general. When you read this book you go through so many emotions, i felt like it was my story even if it's actually not.
Date published: 2015-12-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good read A little slow to get going this book makes up for it in the end from about halfway thru I sat until I was done!
Date published: 2015-10-27
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great This book was good. I thought it would be more adventurous and thriller. I guess romance is not my cup of tea. I was confused at the end if she stays? i only reAlizd she stays until i saw the second book.
Date published: 2015-10-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it Was a great quick read, definitely tugged at the heart strings! Excited to begin the next in the series!
Date published: 2015-10-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Okay Could have been better. I liked how she had to make a choice there was an out of body experience.
Date published: 2015-09-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved It! The book was amazing.I watched the movie first and had to read the book.I cried the entire book.I can't wait to read the sequel.I recomend it to anyone who enjoyed The Fault in our Stars
Date published: 2015-07-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from If i stay "If i stay" was a powerful book with lots of emotion, but, there was not alot of action in-between the larger moments. It could have been a more ACTION-PACKED book, but, for the most of it, I enjoyed it. - Kaesha
Date published: 2015-07-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from if I stay I loved this book! It only took me a matter of days to read! I can't wait to read and see what happens next to Mia in the next novel called where I went.
Date published: 2015-05-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from If i stay Wonderful.... Saw the movie first....had to read book..... Book of course better than movie. Can't wait to start sequel
Date published: 2015-04-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from If i stay This book is very touching about chosing to let go of life and staying after an horable accadent tha has happend to her
Date published: 2015-03-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from a good read It was a nice book...I wouldn't put it into my shelf of 'outstanding' books though but it was a different kind of love. I was expecting more of Adam. I grabbed the book when I saw the movie ad although I haven't seen the movie yet. They say its an intense, different story...I was expecting more love in the love story. But still...the writer did a really good job.
Date published: 2015-02-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book I saw the movie trailer then I thought I HAVE GOT TO READ THAT BOOK. So I stumble on the book in chapter and I just couldn't not get it so I bought it, when I started to read it wasn't too bad just a normal girl that loves to play the cello. But it was unique that how she plays the cello but yet her parents were former punk band members when they were younger, which makes her kinda the black sheep in the family ( I know the feeling) for her music taste. Yet again she falls for this guy that's the most popular guy in school and a member of the locals rising fame rock band. Even when everything seems to be going so great for her, it all changed in that one moment, she doesn't know what's happening and she's trying her best to figure out as much as she can. It's a lovely story.
Date published: 2015-02-10
Rated 1 out of 5 by from I hated it I really did not like this book it just didn't catch my interest it just didn't have a lot of action so I hated I his book sorry to those who loved it,it just wasn't for me
Date published: 2015-02-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Soo sad!!!!!!!! Such a beautifuly sad book i literally cried the whole time i was reading it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:(#
Date published: 2015-01-20
Rated 3 out of 5 by from If I Stay I enjoyed this book for its quality in writing, it was artful and descriptive. It just wasn't for me. Firstly because of my beliefes but I will keep those to myself. Secondly im a random teenager, and being a teenager you cant expect me to appreciate something just because of its quality, to me it was a little slow but hey, you might not share this opinion, and granted this is my first book review so the construction and order of my critiques may be askew. Anyway it took uo some of my time and I appreciate that so three stars.
Date published: 2015-01-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Read me The book was ok i mean i didnt really like that nothing happens after the car crash just flashbacks. Thanks, Lydia
Date published: 2015-01-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What i thought of the book This is the kind of book that will inspire you to read, to help your understanding of the true meaning of love and to prosper that meaning. I hope you find that yu could read this book over and over again for this is the kind of book to prove you right.
Date published: 2015-01-05
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Mediocre This book was a very fast read, in fact, I finished it in one sitting. I really wanted to like this book after seeing all the hype, but it did not meet my expectations whatsoever. The story was extremely rushed, there was no chemistry between Adam and Mia at all, and the events were no where near "touching" like the critics said. I'm super disappointed because I really wanted to like this book. ):
Date published: 2015-01-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Title is right on. Loved it so much, I have read it 3 or4 Times already,and I am sure I will pick it up again. It Is fascinating and well done,thank you.
Date published: 2015-01-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from If i stay So excited to read this book. I have seen the trailor of the movie and can not even wait to read the book . Great job Gayle Forman. Can not wait to read this book.
Date published: 2014-12-28
Rated 1 out of 5 by from If i stay You should put it for free so you get more customer's and so I buy it because it costs to much for me.
Date published: 2014-12-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from OMG AMAZING This book is so beautiful. I managed not to cry, up until the part when Teddy dies. Read this book!!
Date published: 2014-12-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoyable This book was a nice easy read I'm glad there's a second book it felt like it was left unfinished
Date published: 2014-11-14
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Not Worth it This book is boring!! I had to push myself to finish it. Certainly hope the movie is better than the book!!
Date published: 2014-10-01
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Not Worth it This book is boring!! I had to push myself to finish it. Certainly hope the movie is better than the book!!
Date published: 2014-10-01
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Not Worth it This book is boring!! I had to push myself to finish it. Certainly hope the movie is better than the book!!
Date published: 2014-10-01
Rated 1 out of 5 by from This was BAD After reading John green books, this seemed awful. Read his books instead
Date published: 2014-09-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best book I've ever read! I bought this book because the movie was coming out so I thought I should read it first and I'm glad I did because I couldn't stop reading, I think I read this in like 5 days.
Date published: 2014-09-21
Rated 2 out of 5 by from mixed feelings I recently bought this book when I heard the movie was coming out. I had just finished the day I saw the movie so it was fresh in my mind. The book jumps back and forth from the present to the past. I didn't notice when the read the book but in the movie she sees the past as being so happy although I am sure there were a lot of unhappy moments too. I think the book is well written but it was a bit drawn out and I was not happy with the ending. For me I don't always expect a happy ending but it has to be satisfying and this was not.
Date published: 2014-09-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An emotional and fascinating read! I didn't have much expectations for this book as I don't typically read romance stories, however this one has been getting great reviews and I was curious to find out why. Despite the sad nature of the events in the story, it is written with such clarity and is so full of emotion that you cannot help but be drawn into it. Yes it is sad, but that's equally balanced with flashbacks of the characters happier memories and experiences growing up. I was surprised by how riveting it was to read, I felt like I was sneaking a peek into the diary of a close friend. I enjoyed it so much that I am now looking forward to reading the sequel (and kicking myself for not buying the box set to begin with!).
Date published: 2014-09-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely heartwrenching and beautiful I couldn't put this novel down. The story was so hauntingly beautiful and I couldn't help but fall in love with Mia and Adam.
Date published: 2014-09-11

Read from the Book

7:09 A.M.Everyone thinks it was because of the snow. And in a way, I suppose that’s true.I wake up this morning to a thin blanket of white covering our front lawn. 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. It is wet water that drops from the sky—and drops and drops and drops—not the frozen kind.It is enough snow to cancel school. My little brother, Teddy, lets out a war whoop when Mom’s AM radio announces the closures. “Snow day!” he bellows. “Dad, let’s go make a snowman.”My dad smiles and taps on his pipe. He started smoking  one recently as part of this whole 1950s, Father Knows Best retro kick he is on. He also wears bow ties. I am never quite clear on whether all this is sartorial or sardonic—Dad’s way of announcing that he used to be a punker but is now a middle-school English teacher, or if becoming a teacher has actually turned my dad into this genuine throwback. But I like the smell of the pipe tobacco. It is sweet and smoky, and reminds me of winters and woodstoves.“You can make a valiant try,” Dad tells Teddy. “But it’s hardly sticking to the roads. Maybe you should consider a snow amoeba.”I can tell Dad is happy. Barely an inch of snow means that all the schools in the county are closed, including my high school and the middle school where Dad works, so it’s an unexpected day off for him, too. My mother, who works for a travel agent in town, clicks off the radio and pours herself a second cup of coffee. “Well, if you lot are playing hooky today, no way I’m going to work. It’s simply not right.” She picks up the telephone to call in. When she’s done, she looks at us. “Should I make breakfast?”Dad and I guffaw at the same time. Mom makes cereal and toast. Dad’s the cook in the family.Pretending not to hear us, she reaches into the cabinet for a box of Bisquick. “Please. How hard can it be? Who wants pancakes?”“I do! I do!” Teddy yells. “Can we have chocolate chips in them?”“I don’t see why not,” Mom replies.“Woo hoo!” Teddy yelps, waving his arms in the air.“You have far too much energy for this early in the morning,” I tease. I turn to Mom. “Maybe you shouldn’t let Teddy drink so much coffee.”“I’ve switched him to decaf,” Mom volleys back. “He’s just naturally exuberant.”“As long as you’re not switching me to decaf,” I say.“That would be child abuse,” Dad says.Mom hands me a steaming mug and the newspaper.“There’s a nice picture of your young man in there,” she says.“Really? A picture?”“Yep. It’s about the most we’ve seen of him since summer,” Mom says, giving me a sidelong glance with her eyebrow arched, her version of a soul-searching stare.“I know,” I say, and then without meaning to, I sigh. Adam’s band, Shooting Star, is on an upward spiral, which, is a great thing—mostly.“Ah, fame, wasted on the youth,” Dad says, but he’s smiling. I know he’s excited for Adam. Proud even.I leaf through the newspaper to the calendar section. There’s a small blurb about Shooting Star, with an even smaller picture of the four of them, next to a big article about Bikini and a huge picture of the band’s lead singer: punk-rock diva Brooke Vega. The bit about them basically says that local band Shooting Star is opening for Bikini on the Portland leg of Bikini’s national tour. It doesn’t mention the even-bigger-to-me news that last night Shooting  Star headlined at a club in Seattle and, according to the text Adam sent me at midnight, sold out the place.“Are you going tonight?” Dad asks.“I was planning to. It depends if they shut down the whole state on account of the snow.”“It is approaching a blizzard,” Dad says, pointing to a single snowflake floating its way to the earth.“I’m also supposed to rehearse with some pianist from the college that Professor Christie dug up.” Professor Christie, a retired music teacher at the university who I’ve been working with for the last few years, is always looking for victims for me to play with. “Keep you sharp so you can show all those Juilliard snobs how it’s really done,” she says.I haven’t gotten into Juilliard yet, but my audition went really well. The Bach suite and the Shostakovich had both flown out of me like never before, like my fingers were just an extension of the strings and bow. When I’d finished playing, panting, my legs shaking from pressing together so hard, one judge had clapped a little, which I guess doesn’t happen very often. As I’d shuffled out, that same judge had told me that it had been a long time since the school had “seen an Oregon country girl.” Professor Christie had taken that to mean a guaranteed acceptance. I wasn’t so sure that was true. And I wasn’t 100 percent sure that I wanted it to be true. Just like with Shooting Star’s meteoric rise, my admission to Juilliard—if it happens—will create certain complications, or, more accurately, would compound the complications that have already cropped up in the last few months.“I need more coffee. Anyone else?” Mom asks, hovering over me with the ancient percolator.I sniff the coffee, the rich, black, oily French roast we all prefer. The smell alone perks me up. “I’m pondering going back to bed,” I say. “My cello’s at school, so I can’t even practice.”“Not practice? For twenty-four hours? Be still, my broken heart,” Mom says. Though she has acquired a taste for classical music over the years—“it’s like learning to appreciate a stinky cheese”—she’s been a not-always-delighted captive audience for many of my marathon rehearsals.I hear a crash and a boom coming from upstairs. Teddy is pounding on his drum kit. It used to belong to Dad. Back when he’d played drums in a big-in-our-town, unknown-anywhere-else band, back when he’d worked at a record store.Dad grins at Teddy’s noise, and seeing that, I feel a familiar pang. I know it’s silly but I have always wondered if Dad is disappointed that I didn’t become a rock chick. I’d meant to. Then, in third grade, I’d wandered over to the cello in music class—it looked almost human to me. It looked like if you played it, it would tell you secrets, so I started playing. It’s been almost ten years now and I haven’t stopped.“So much for going back to sleep,” Mom yells over Teddy’s noise.“What do you know, the snow’s already melting.” Dad says, puffing on his pipe. I go to the back door and peek outside. A patch of sunlight has broken through the clouds, and I can hear the hiss of the ice melting. I close the door and go back to the table.“I think the county overreacted,” I say.“Maybe. But they can’t un-cancel school. Horse is already out of the barn, and I already called in for the day off,” Mom says.“Indeed. But we might take advantage of this unexpected boon and go somewhere,” Dad says. “Take a drive. Visit Henry and Willow.” Henry and Willow are some of Mom and Dad’s old music friends who’d also had a kid and decided to start behaving like grown-ups. They live in a big old farmhouse. Henry does Web stuff from the barn they converted into a home office and Willow works at a nearby hospital. They have a baby girl. That’s the real reason Mom and Dad want to go out there. Teddy having just turned eight and me being seventeen means that we are long past giving off that sour-milk smell that makes adults melt.“We can stop at BookBarn on the way back,” Mom says, as if to entice me. BookBarn is a giant, dusty old used-book store. In the back they keep a stash of twenty-five-cent classical records that nobody ever seems to buy except me. I keep a pile of them hidden under my bed. A collection of classical records is not the kind of thing you advertise.I’ve shown them to Adam, but that was only after we’d already been together for five months. I’d expected him to laugh. He’s such the cool guy with his pegged jeans and black low-tops, his effortlessly beat-up punk-rock tees and his subtle tattoos. He is so not the kind of guy to end up with someone like me. Which was why when I’d first spotted him watching me at the music studios at school two years ago, I’d been convinced he was making fun of me and I’d hidden from him. Anyhow, he hadn’t laughed. It turned out he had a dusty collection of punk-rock records under his bed.“We can also stop by Gran and Gramps for an early dinner,” Dad says, already reaching for the phone. “We’ll have you back in plenty of time to get to Portland,” he adds as he dials.“I’m in,” I say. It isn’t the lure of BookBarn, or the fact that Adam is on tour, or that my best friend, Kim, is busy doing yearbook stuff. It isn’t even that my cello is at school or that I could stay home and watch TV or sleep. I’d actually rather go off with my family. This is another thing you don’t advertise about yourself, but Adam gets that, too.“Teddy,” Dad calls. “Get dressed. We’re going on an adventure.”Teddy finishes off his drum solo with a crash of cymbals. A moment later he’s bounding into the kitchen fully dressed, as if he’d pulled on his clothes while careening down the steep wooden staircase of our drafty Victorian house. “School’s out for summer . . .” he sings.“Alice Cooper?” Dad asks. “Have we no standards? At least sing the Ramones.”“School’s out forever,” Teddy sings over Dad’s protests.“Ever the optimist,” I say.Mom laughs. She puts a plate of slightly charred pancakes down on the kitchen table. “Eat up, family.”8:17 A.M.We pile into the car, a rusting Buick that was already old when Gran gave it to us after Teddy was born. Mom and Dad offer to let me drive, but I say no. Dad slips behind the wheel. He likes to drive now. He’d stubbornly refused to get a license for years, insisting on riding his bike everywhere. Back when he played music, his ban on driving meant that his bandmates were the ones stuck behind the wheel on tours. They used to roll their eyes at him. Mom had done more than that. She’d pestered, cajoled, and sometimes yelled at Dad to get a license, but he’d insisted that he preferred pedal power. “Well, then you better get to work on building a bike that can hold a family of three and keep us dry when it rains,” she’d demanded. To which Dad always had laughed and said that he’d get on that.But when Mom had gotten pregnant with Teddy, she’d put her foot down. Enough, she said. Dad seemed to understand that something had changed. He’d stopped arguing and had gotten a driver’s license. He’d also gone back to school to get his teaching certificate. I guess it was okay to be in arrested development with one kid. But with two, time to grow up. Time to start wearing a bow tie.He has one on this morning, along with a flecked sport coat and vintage wingtips. “Dressed for the snow, I see,” I say.“I’m like the post office,” Dad replies, scraping the snow off the car with one of Teddy’s plastic dinosaurs that are scattered on the lawn. “Neither sleet nor rain nor a half inch of snow will compel me to dress like a lumberjack.”“Hey, my relatives were lumberjacks,” Mom warns. “No making fun of the white-trash woodsmen.”“Wouldn’t dream of it,” Dad replies. “Just making stylistic contrasts.”Dad has to turn the ignition over a few times before the car chokes to life. As usual, there is a battle for stereo dominance. Mom wants NPR. Dad wants Frank Sinatra. Teddy wants SpongeBob SquarePants. I want the classical-music station, but recognizing that I’m the only classical fan in the family, I am willing to compromise with Shooting Star.Dad brokers the deal. “Seeing as we’re missing school today, we ought to listen to the news for a while so we don’t become ignoramuses—”“I believe that’s ignoramusi,” Mom says.Dad rolls his eyes and clasps his hand over Mom’s and clears his throat in that schoolteachery way of his. “As I  was saying, NPR first, and then when the news is over, the classical station. Teddy, we will not torture you with that. You can use the Discman,” Dad says, starting to disconnect the portable player he’s rigged to the car radio. “But you are not allowed to play Alice Cooper in my car. I forbid it.” Dad reaches into the glove box to examine what’s inside. “How about Jonathan Richman?”“I want SpongeBob. It’s in the machine,” Teddy shouts, bouncing up and down and pointing to the Discman. The chocolate-chip pancakes dowsed in syrup have clearly only enhanced his hyper excitement.“Son, you break my heart,” Dad jokes. Both Teddy and I were raised on the goofy tunes of Jonathan Richman, who is Mom and Dad’s musical patron saint.Once the musical selections have been made, we are off. The road has some patches of snow, but mostly it’s just wet. But this is Oregon. The roads are always wet. Mom used to joke that it was when the road was dry that people ran into trouble. “They get cocky, throw caution to the wind, drive like assholes. The cops have a field day doling out speeding tickets.”I lean my head against the car window, watching the scenery zip by, a tableau of dark green fir trees dotted with snow, wispy strands of white fog, and heavy gray storm clouds up above. It’s so warm in the car that the windows keep fogging up, and I draw little squiggles in the condensation.When the news is over, we turn to the classical station.  I hear the first few bars of Beethoven’s Cello Sonata no. 3, which was the very piece I was supposed to be working on this afternoon. It feels like some kind of cosmic coincidence. I concentrate on the notes, imagining myself playing, feeling grateful for this chance to practice, happy to be in a warm car with my sonata and my family. I close my eyes.You wouldn’t expect the radio to work afterward. But it does.The car is eviscerated. The impact of a four-ton pickup truck going sixty miles an hour plowing straight into the passenger side had the force of an atom bomb. It tore off the doors, sent the front-side passenger seat through the driver’s-side window. It flipped the chassis, bouncing it across the road and ripped the engine apart as if it were no stronger than a spiderweb. It tossed wheels and hubcaps deep into the forest. It ignited bits of the gas tank, so that now tiny flames lap at the wet road.And there was so much noise. A symphony of grinding, a chorus of popping, an aria of exploding, and finally, the sad clapping of hard metal cutting into soft trees. Then it went quiet, except for this: Beethoven’s Cello Sonata no. 3, still playing. The car radio somehow still is attached to a battery and so Beethoven is broadcasting into the once-again tranquil February morning.At first I figure everything is fine. For one, I can still hear the Beethoven. Then there’s the fact that I am standing here in a ditch on the side of the road. When I look down, the jean skirt, cardigan sweater, and the black boots I put on this morning all look the same as they did when we left the house.I climb up the embankment to get a better look at the car. It isn’t even a car anymore. It’s a metal skeleton, without seats, without passengers. Which means the rest of my family must have been thrown from the car like me. I brush off my hands onto my skirt and walk into the road to find them.I see Dad first. Even from several feet away, I can make out the protrusion of the pipe in his jacket pocket. “Dad,” I call, but as I walk toward him, the pavement grows slick and there are gray chunks of what looks like cauliflower. I know what I’m seeing right away but it somehow does not immediately connect back to my father. What springs into my mind are those news reports about tornadoes or fires, how they’ll ravage one house but leave the one next door intact. Pieces of my father’s brain are on the asphalt. But his pipe is in his left breast pocket.I find Mom next. There’s almost no blood on her, but her lips are already blue and the whites of her eyes are completely red, like a ghoul from a low-budget monster movie. She seems totally unreal. And it is the sight of her looking like some preposterous zombie that sends a hummingbird of panic ricocheting through me.I need to find Teddy! Where is he? I spin around, suddenly frantic, like the time I lost him for ten minutes at the grocery store. I’d been convinced he’d been kidnapped. Of course, it had turned out that he’d wandered over to inspect the candy aisle. When I found him, I hadn’t been sure whether to hug him or yell at him.I run back toward the ditch where I came from and I see a hand sticking out. “Teddy! I’m right here!” I call. “Reach up. I’ll pull you out.” But when I get closer, I see the metal glint of a silver bracelet with tiny cello and guitar charms. Adam gave it to me for my seventeenth birthday. It’s my bracelet. I was wearing it this morning. I look down at my wrist. I’m stillwearing it now.I edge closer and now I know that it’s not Teddy lying there. It’s me. The blood from my chest has seeped through my shirt, skirt, and sweater, and is now pooling like paint drops on the virgin snow. One of my legs is askew, the skin and muscle peeled away so that I can see white streaks of bone. My eyes are closed, and my dark brown hair is wet and rusty with blood.I spin away. This isn’t right. This cannot be happening. We are a family, going on a drive. This isn’t real. I must have fallen asleep in the car. No! Stop. Please stop. Please wake up! I scream into the chilly air. It’s cold. My breath should smoke. It doesn’t. I stare down at my wrist, the one that looks fine, untouched by blood and gore, and I pinch as hard as I can.I don’t feel a thing.I have had nightmares before—falling nightmares, playing-a-cello-recital-without-knowing-the-music nightmares, breakup-with-Adam nightmares—but I have always been able to command myself to open my eyes, to lift my head from the pillow, to halt the horror movie playing behind my closed lids. I try again. Wake up! I scream. Wake up! Wakeupwakeupwakeup! But I can’t. I don’t.Then I hear something. It’s the music. I can still hear the music. So I concentrate on that. I finger the notes of Beethoven’s Cello Sonata no. 3 with my hands, as I often do when I listen to pieces I am working on. Adam calls it “air cello.” He’s always asking me if one day we can play a duet, him on air guitar, me on air cello. “When we’re done, we can thrash our air instruments,” he jokes. “You know you want to.”I play, just focusing on that, until the last bit of life in the car dies, and the music goes with it.It isn’t long after that the sirens come.9:23 A.M.Am I dead?I actually have to ask myself this.Am I dead?At first it seemed obvious that I am. That the standing-here-watching part was temporary, an intermission before the bright light and the life-flashing-before-me business that would transport me to wherever I’m going next.Except the paramedics are here now, along with the police and the fire department. Someone has put a sheet over my father. And a fireman is zipping Mom up into a plastic bag. I hear him discuss her with another firefighter, who looks like he can’t be more than eighteen. The older one explains to the rookie that Mom was probably hit first and killed instantly, explaining the lack of blood. “Immediate cardiac arrest,” he says. “When your heart can’t pump blood, you don’t really bleed. You seep.”I can’t think about that, about Mom seeping. So instead I think how fitting it is that she was hit first, that she was the one to buffer us from the blow. It wasn’t her choice, obviously, but it was her way.But am I dead? The me who is lying on the edge of the road, my leg hanging down into the gulley, is surrounded by a team of men and women who are performing frantic ablutions over me and plugging my veins with I do not know what. I’m half naked, the paramedics having ripped open the top of my shirt. One of my breasts is exposed. Embarrassed, I look away.The police have lit flares along the perimeter of the scene and are instructing cars in both directions to turn back, the road is closed. The police politely offer alternate routes, back roads that will take people where they need to be.They must have places to go, the people in these cars, but a lot of them don’t turn back. They climb out of their cars, hugging themselves against the cold. They appraise the scene. And then they look away, some of them  crying, one woman throwing up into the ferns on the side of the road. And even though they don’t know who we are or what has happened, they pray for us. I can feel them praying.Which also makes me think I’m dead. That and the fact my body seems to be completely numb, though to look at me, at the leg that the 60 mph asphalt exfoliant has pared down to the bone, I should be in agony. And I’m not crying, either, even though I know that something unthinkable has just happened to my family. We are like Humpty Dumpty and all these king’s horses and all these king’s men cannot put us back together again.I am pondering these things when the medic with the freckles and red hair who has been working on me answers my question. “Her Glasgow Coma is an eight. Let’s bag her now!” she screams.She and the lantern-jawed medic snake a tube down my throat, attach a bag with a bulb to it, and start pumping. “What’s the ETA for Life Flight?”“Ten minutes,” answers the medic. “It takes twenty to get back to town.”“We’re going to get her there in fifteen if you have to speed like a fucking demon.”I can tell what the guy is thinking. That it won’t do me any good if they get into a crash, and I have to agree. But he doesn’t say anything. Just clenches his jaw. They load me into the ambulance; the redhead climbs into the back with me. She pumps my bag with one hand, adjusts my  IV and my monitors with the other. Then she smooths a lock of hair from my forehead.“You hang in there,” she tells me.I played my first recital when I was ten. I’d been playing cello for two years at that point. At first, just at school, as part of the music program. It was a fluke that they even had a cello; they’re very expensive and fragile. But some old literature professor from the university had died and bequeathed his Hamburg to our school. It mostly sat in the corner. Most kids wanted to learn to play guitar or saxophone.When I announced to Mom and Dad that I was going to become a cellist, they both burst out laughing. They apologized about it later, claiming that the image of pint-size me with such a hulking instrument between my spindly legs had made them crack up. Once they’d realized I was serious, they immediately swallowed their giggles and put on supportive faces.But their reaction still stung—in ways that I never told them about, and in ways that I’m not sure they would’ve understood even if I had. Dad sometimes joked that the hospital where I was born must have accidentally swapped babies because I look nothing like the rest of my family. They are all blond and fair and I’m like their negative image, brown hair and dark eyes. But as I got older, Dad’s hospital joke took on more meaning than I think he  intended. Sometimes I did feel like I came from a different tribe. I was not like my outgoing, ironic dad or my tough-chick mom. And as if to seal the deal, instead of learning to play electric guitar, I’d gone and chosen the cello.But in my family, playing music was still more important than the type of music you played, so when after a few months it became clear that my love for the cello was no passing crush, my parents rented me one so I could practice at home. Rusty scales and triads led to first attempts at “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” that eventually gave way to basic études until I was playing Bach suites. My middle school didn’t have much of a music program, so Mom found me a private teacher, a college student who came over once a week. Over the years there was a revolving batch of students who taught me, and then, as my skills surpassed theirs, my student teachers played with me.This continued until ninth grade, when Dad, who’d known Professor Christie from when he’d worked at the music store, asked if she might be willing to offer me private lessons. She agreed to listen to me play, not expecting much, but as a favor to Dad, she later told me. She and Dad listened downstairs while I was up in my room practicing a Vivaldi sonata. When I came down for dinner, she offered to take over my training.My first recital, though, was years before I met her. It was at a hall in town, a place that usually showcased local bands, so the acoustics were terrible for unamplified classical. I was playing a cello solo from Tchaikovsky’s “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.”Standing backstage, listening to other kids play scratchy violin and clunky piano compositions, I’d almost chickened out. I’d run to the stage door and huddled on the stoop outside, hyperventilating into my hands. My student teacher had flown into a minor panic and had sent out a search party.Dad found me. He was just starting his hipster-to-square transformation, so he was wearing a vintage suit, with a studded leather belt and black ankle boots.“You okay, Mia Oh-My-Uh?” he asked, sitting down next to me on the steps.I shook my head, too ashamed to talk.“What’s up?”“I can’t do it,” I cried.Dad cocked one of his bushy eyebrows and stared at me with his gray-blue eyes. I felt like some mysterious foreign species he was observing and trying to figure out. He’d been playing in bands forever. Obviously, he never  got something as lame as stage fright.“Well, that would be a shame,” Dad said. “I’ve got a dandy of a recital present for you. Better than flowers.”“Give it to someone else. I can’t go out there. I’m not like you or Mom or even Teddy.” Teddy was just six months old at that point, but it was already clear that he had more personality, more verve, than I ever would. And of course, he was blond and blue-eyed. Even if he weren’t,  he’d been born in a birthing center, not a hospital, so there was no chance of an accidental baby swapping.“It’s true,” Dad mused. “When Teddy gave his first harp concert, he was cool as cucumber. Such a prodigy.”I laughed through my tears. Dad put a gentle arm around my shoulder. “You know that I used to get the most ferocious jitters before a show.”I looked at Dad, who always seemed absolutely sure of everything in the world. “You’re just saying that.”He shook his head. “No, I’m not. It was god-awful. And I was the drummer, way in the back. No one even paid any attention to me.”“So what did you do?” I asked.“He got wasted,” Mom interjected, poking her head out the stage door. She was wearing a black vinyl miniskirt, a red tank top, and Teddy, droolingly happy from his Baby Björn. “A pair of forty-ouncers before the show. I don’t recommend that for you.”“Your mother is probably right,” Dad said. “Social services frowns on drunk ten-year-olds. Besides, when I dropped my drumsticks and puked onstage, it was punk. If you drop your bow and smell like a brewery, it will look gauche. You classical-music people are so snobby that way.”Now I was laughing. I was still scared, but it was somehow comforting to think that maybe stage fright was a trait I’d inherited from Dad; I wasn’t just some foundling, after all.“What if I mess it up? What if I’m terrible?”“I’ve got news for you, Mia. There’s going to be all kinds of terrible in there, so you won’t really stand out,” Mom said. Teddy gave a squeal of agreement.“But seriously, how do you get over the jitters?”Dad was still smiling but I could tell he had turned serious because he slowed down his speech. “You don’t. You just work through it. You just hang in there.”

Editorial Reviews

"Beautifully written."--Entertainment Weekly

"A beautiful novel."--Los Angeles Times

"A do-not-miss story of love, friendship, family, loss, control, and coping."--Justine Magazine

"The brilliance of this book is the simplicity."-- The Wall Street Journal

"A touching and thought-provoking novel."--Romantic Times