B0oK H0oT #6 If I Stay

Seventeen year old Mia and her family take a spontaneous drive to visit family on a 'snow day' and get into an accident with a 40 tonne truck which 'eviscerates' the car and kills her parents instantly. Teddy, who is six, and Mia are thrown from the car. The rest of the narrative moves between Mia, outside of her body watching is happening to save her, and flashbacks of her life up until that point.

This was a compulsive read for me, I inhaled it in about three hours and enjoyed it thoroughly. While it might sound as though it breaks my (self-imposed) rules about no dead mothers and gloomy plots, the relationship that Mia has with her parents, brother and grandparents is one of the most affirming I have read recently.

There is also a lovely music theme running through the book, Mia is a talented cellist, her boyfriend Adam is a punk singer and both of her parents were musical too. As for the medical scenes, I found them convincing, if a little disturbing, but I think teenagers seem to be immune to this sort of stuff, blame CSI perhaps.

The premise suggested by the title and the cover is handled really well and would be an interesting point of discussion for teenagers. Do you think that the critically ill have the 'choice' to survive? I like to think so, but what a hard decision, especially if you can see how damaged your body is and know the fate of your loved ones. And, would you have recollection of the time spent outside yourself?

recommended for:
  • musical teens, some of the descriptions of playing are beautifully done
  • realistic romance readers
teaching ideas:
  • point of view is interesting here, students could write the accident from Teddy's point of view
  • the ending is crying out for a sequel, or at least a discussion about what might happen next
  • I see that it is planned for a film in 2011. Students could plan the casting, storyboard some shots, discuss what changes would have to be made etc.

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