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Fiction in Fiction in Fiction

If I Stay (Definitions)

If I Stay - Gayle Forman "It's all just a matter of time, and part of me wonders why I'm delaying the inevitable."Definitely one of the most moving books I've ever read, Gayle Forman writes a bittersweet tale about life, death and making choices. I sobbed, I laughed and I hoped beyond hope that Mia would stay.I've been putting this review off for so long because I didn't know how to write it. Consequently, I haven't done my review for Where She Went (the sequel) yet either because I felt like I had to review if I Stay first D: This was possibly one of the hardest reviews to write because I felt so much sadness and hope reading this and I just didn't know how to form all my emotions and thoughts in to words.Gayle Forman really has a way with words. The voice she creates for Mia is intelligent, mature and so full of love I was hooked on the first page."My dad smiles and taps on his pipe… He also wears bow ties. I am never quite clear on whether all this is sartorial or sardonic."Within the first 3 pages, Gayle has shown (not told) that Mia's family is a close one. Her ex-punker dad now turned middle-school teacher, her ex-punker mum who now works at a travel agent, her younger brother Teddy who is 8 and lives high off coffee, and 17 year old Mia herself, are all connected by their love of music. Their family is a happy one: Mia teases her adorable, hyper younger brother and her parents joke around and are extremely lenient due to their rock days."Dad and I guffaw at the same time. Mom makes cereal and toast. Dad's the cook in the family."You might be thinking "ok why is Jaz telling me this? Doesn't this spoil the story? What is the point of this?" Well for those of you who haven't read this, you'd find it out in the first 2-3 pages anyway so it's no spoiler. Why am I telling you this and what's the point? The point is to (try) and establish the warmth that is Mia's family. They're not perfect, but they're honest and love each other. And this is what made If I Stay so painful. Because that one car crash tore Mia's whole family apart.Stuck in a sort of limbo, Mia watches as they take her ruined body from the wreck, operate on her and watches as she fights for her own life. But the question is, should she bother fighting?The course of the novel is a series of flashbacks. As each event occurs in the present (an operation, a visit from a family member, a visit from her friend and boyfriend), a flashback ensues. This was the most beautiful thing about the book - the way Gayle structured everything. Each present event is LINKED to a flashback. For example, when her best friend Kim comes to visit for the first time, Mia remembers how she and Kim met. Or when Teddy is brought up, she remembers the day he was born. The structure was absolute perfection. As we watch the chronological clock wind in the present, Mia has built us a picture of her entire life - family, friends, boyfriend, musical life. And the great thing? Not once was I confused about the present or the past. Everything is defined so clearly and yet it flowed so wonderfully - absolutely seamless."How is he [Adam] going to know that I'm actually early? That I got to Portland this morning while the snow was still melting? [About the accident]*'Have you ever heard of this Yo-Yo Made dude?' Adam asked me. It was the spring of my sophomore year, which was his junior year."See how Gayle has made it so that while Mia worries about Adam not knowing she was in an accident, she flashes back to their first meeting? I KNOW RIGHT IT'S AMAZING AND I WAS JUST MINDBLOWN AT HOW SIMPLE YET FLUID THIS WAS!!!The flashbacks are all so meaningful, each one a funny friendship or family moment, a nervous touch, a declaration of love.And ah the romance! So bittersweet and full of love. My heart went out to Adam…"Adam is crying and somewhere inside of me, I am crying too…" ohgoodness I'M CRYING TOO MIA.But the whole point of the flashbacks? To show what Mia had, what she has lost, what she still has left and ultimately, is it worth it for her to stay?I can't remember how many tissues I used up reading this… DON'T READ IN PUBLIC I TELL YOU!"If you stay, I'll do whatever you want... But if you need me to go away, I'll do that, too… And that would suck, but I'd do it. I can lose you like that if I don't lose you today. I'll let you go. If you stay."