Thursday, July 31, 2014

"If I Stay" plus sequel "Where She Went"


When I saw The Fault in Our Stars in the theater, there was a preview for If I Stay, which is a YA book I've had on my classroom shelf for awhile, but hadn't gotten around to reading. The preview looked good, which means I HAVE to get the book read ASAP! So, thanks to the amazing Overdrive app, I borrowed the ebook from the library and read it in a couple hours...really, it was a very quick read.

If I Stay is about seventeen-year-old Mia, whom we don't know too much about in the beginning. Traveling out on a wintry day, Mia's family/car is broadsided. She finds herself standing to the side and feeling fine. Even as she observes the scene, both of her parents obviously dead, she can't seem to feel much, just the facts she can observe. Even when she finds her own body off to the side of the road, mangled and bloody. The interest factor in this book is that Mia is watching everyone around her, including her own physical body, throughout the tragedy. The story expands to include well drawn characterizations of those in Mia's life.

With her parents gone and her little brother in critical condition, Mia watches from the side as doctors, nurses, friends, and family gather around her unconscious body crying, begging, and praying for her life. She is faced with the decision to let go or stay. Letting go would be the easy choice, so she wonders what happens if she stays.

The sequel, Where She Went, picks up three years after the accident. It is told from the perspective of Adam, Mia's boyfriend at the time of her accident. Everything and everyone moves on with life, although this is not the optimal arrangement as far as Adam's concerned. His life has just happened around him as he's forced to live without Mia. Until one day, a random choice puts him back on the path to happiness.

I didn't care for this sequel very much. The narration is set up much like If I Stay, where you get the present day situation, supplemented with a flashback that parallels or supports the present piece of the storyline. Unlike If I Stay, I didn't feel I always cared about what was going on. Everything focused on Adam, without much said about other characters in any depth at all. Also, Adam seemed whiny (about Mia, about his fame, about the people around him), which is all understandable to an extent, but it made up most of the book and I tired of it. It could be said that this was the point of the limited narration...that the reader should be feeling what Adam felt in his isolation. Still, overall, I think this book stays squarely in the typical YA realm.

Any good or disappointing YA you've read lately?


  1. Trailer looks good, haven't read this one.
    The last YA I read was The Book Thief and I was not disappointed.
    The next one I get to will probably be The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
    I probably only read one or two YA per year.

    1. This isn't among the best YA, it's just a cool premise. Will probably be cooler as a movie.