If I Stay/Where She Went by Gayle Forman

If I Stay

Mia is seventeen, a talented cellist with a gorgeous boyfriend and a happy family. She has a wonderful life stretching out in front or her, full of possibilities. Then suddenly it’s gone and, as Mia lies in a coma, she has to decide whether she wants to live or die. She thinks back on her life, on how her love of music has grown and how she fell in love with Adam and she wonders if she should stay or give up the fight.

The book is beautifully written and gentle. It makes you think about the effect of tragedies on families, on people and on people’s will to live. However, primarily it is Mia’s story – the story of how she grew into a young woman of 17 and fell in love. The flashbacks she has of her life are mixed in with her observing what is going on in the hospital, her visitors, the nurses and the ward in general. Some swearing, although in context, takes place.


Where She Went

Mia has survived her traumatic accident and is now living in New York. She has left Adam behind and this is his story: how she left him, how he managed and how he went on to become a famous rock star. He should be happy but he is full of anxiety and there is a hole in his life left my Mia’s disappearance. The he meets Mia by chance in New York – perhaps he can finally lay ghosts to rest.

It was interesting to hear Adam’s voice and to understand better his feelings for Mia and what he suffered after her accident. This book is a good follow on from ‘If I Stay’ and, despite the sad and difficult circumstances of their love affair, the author does not make this a mawkish or syrupy book. Mia and Adam’s relationship and their struggles are believable.


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