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Analysis of If I Stay

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Analysis of If I Stay If I Stay by Gayle Forman is a very unforgettable novel. The story is about a seventeen- year- old girl named Mia who has a perfect life. She has a supporting family, a caring best friend, a beautiful boyfriend, and a strong interest in classical music which lead to her applying to Juilliard. One snow day, Mia’s family decides to take a drive to their grandparent’s house for the day. The roads are very slippery which causes a huge car crash killing Mia’s family instantly. When emergency help arrives, Mia is still alive. She is rushed to the hospital in a deep state of a coma. Her body is left in a sleep-like state but her mind is still aware of her surroundings causing her to walk around without anyone seeing her. Throughout the novel, Mia recalls many memories of her life before the crash which helps her to choose to leave or stay. If I Stay is a good novel because it contains well-developed characters, themes that are relatable, and several interesting incidents that influence the outcome of the novel.

One of the elements that made this novel memorable is the well- developed characters. In If I Stay, Mia is a hardworking cellist in a rock-n-roll family. She had everything a normal teenage girl would have: a loving family, and adoring boyfriend, and a future full of success for the future in music. But, a tragic crash turns Mia’s normal existence upside down. She is left in a coma state that lets her spirit self walk around the hospital while her body is left in the ICU. She discovers that she has to choose whether to stay with her boyfriend and friends or leave with her deceased family. Throughout the novel Mia has to remember happy memories to help her choose. Most of her memories are happy times with her boyfriend Adam, who plays a huge factor in the book.
Another element that made this novel memorable is relatable themes. There are two subtle themes that are seen throughout the novel. The first one is that life is very valuable; one never knows when it’s going to be taken away from them. This theme is very prominent in the beginning when Mia and her family get into the huge crash, killing her family on impact. From the moment she was rushed into the ICU, Mia remembered all the happy memories that happened prior the accident. Another theme is everyone has to make challenging decisions in life. After the accident, Mia is put into a position that makes her decide whether to stay with her friends or die with her family. In one scene, a nurse helps her realize her situation, “’You might think the doctors or nurses or all this is running the show,’ she says gesturing to the wall of medical equipment. ‘Nuh-uh. She’s running the show. Maybe she’s biding her time…’” (pg. 82) This scene helped Mia finally realize that she has the choice to stay. After this scene, Mia is flooded with all different memories of her boyfriend and friends, family, and her music career. In addition to relatable themes, several interesting facts also made the novel memorable.
The final element that made this novel memorable was the several interesting incidents that influenced the outcome of the novel. In the beginning, it started to snow outside, so Mia’s parents took a snow day. They all got into the car and started to drive up to Mia’s grandparent’s house. Then, out of nowhere a huge truck hit their car, ripping it to shreds. Mia wakes up to not a scratch on her body. She saw both her mom and dad lying on the asphalt with deadly injuries that killed them instantly. Then she sees herself lying in a ditch off the side of the road. When medical help arrives, Mia is still alive but in a deep a coma and is rushed to the hospital. This influenced the outcome of the novel because this crash propelled the novel to where Mia has to make a difficult decision. The next incident happens throughout the book. Mia remembers different memories about her boyfriend, Adam, which helps her make her big decision at the end of the novel. She recalls memories of her first date with him to a Yo-Yo Ma concert, attending his rock concerts, and even happy family dinners. It’s at the end when she finally decides to spend her life with him. The next incidents are when Mia has encounters with memories of her family before the crash. She remembers the day her brother, Teddy, was born with every detail. She also recalls memories of when her parents were crazy rocker parents and festive family holidays. Another incident is a memory or Adam and Mia went trick-or-treating together. Adam dressed up as Mozart and Mia dressed up as a rocker girl. A week before Halloween of my junior year, Adam showed up at my door triumphant. He was holding a dress up bag and wearing a grin. ‘Prepare to writhe in jealousy. I just got the best costume,’ he said. He unzipped the bag. Inside was a frilly white shirt, a pair of breeches, and a long wool coat with epaulets…” (Pg 89)
This quote proves that Adam and Mia really care for each other even though they like different things. They dedicated their costumes to each other’s personalities to connect. Then after they went trick-or-treating, Mia went to one of Adam’s concerts which made them connect and made them love each other even more. The final incident is when Adam started a riot at the hospital. When Adam first arrived at the hospital to see Mia, the nurse asked him to leave because only family could see her. After numerous times of getting thrown out of the ICU; Adam finally started a riot with some band mates. This was to create a distraction while Adam went to say goodbye to Mia.
“Just listen,” he says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel. I open my eyes wide now. I sit up as much as I can. And I listen.
“Stay.” With one word, Adam’s voice catches, but he swallows the emotion and pushes forward…” (pg. 230)
This is so important because after this scene, Mia’s spirit self started to feel different. She felt Adam squeeze her body’s hand, then she had a flood of memories. Then everything stopped and she was back in her body and she heard Adam say her name. This scene is when Mia finally decided to stay with her perfect, loving boyfriend. In all, If I Stay is a well written novel that was very memorable. It included well- developed characters which helped improve the novel. It also included relatable themes that everyone can relate to. Finally, it had several interesting incidents that helped propel the novel and made it an interesting read. In all, If I Stay included all the elements that made this a memorable novel.

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