My fifth grader and I both loved this story. I couldn't wait until bedtime to listen--we listened in the car on errands, while cooking and folding laundry. Many times we paused it to talk about what we thought would happen next. There is so much to think about and talk about.
Essentially, the story is about a dystopian community in the Earth's future. The lives of the people in the community are strictly controlled in every aspect. This makes everyone equal to each other, makes life stress-free, and gives all an important role. The story is told from the point of view of an eleven-year-old boy. When he turns twelve he is given the role of "receiver", or keeper of the community's memories. He gradually realizes what the community has given up in order to create such an ordered, peaceful, and equal society. It becomes too much to bear, and he has to take individual action.
The Bawdy Book Blog
This is the kind of book that leaves you in shambles when it’s over.
Mia is a gifted musician with plans to go to Julliard. She has wacky but lovable parents who are reformed hippies/musicians themselves and a hipster rocker boyfriend who is paving his way to stardom. She has everything going for her – until she doesn’t.
I spent a good portion of If I Stay waiting for the “good parts” e.g. the part where she wakes up and everyone hugs it out. What I didn’t realize is that it wasn’t necessarily about that. Oh, it was technically about that, but it was more about the means and not the ends.
If I Stay is told in befores and afters. There is no real sequential order to the events in the Befores and it took me some time (possibly because I’m slow like that) to realize, it wasn’t her remembering anything, but literally her life was flashing before her eyes. And that’s when I fell in love with this book. What we think can take moments before death or near-death took her a day, and it’s hard to believe this entire book only progresses over a day when we get to see Mia’s lifetime. We experience her acceptance into Julliard, her first kiss with Adam, her first time in a mosh pit even though she’s a classical musician, the day her baby brother Teddy was born. Meanwhile in the Nows, we experience her realization that her family may have been killed in the collision and she must come to terms while she is in her coma with whether or not she even wants to live. Her experience is truly spine-tingling.
All of the characters were great. I don’t know what else to say about them, except that I wish I had them in my life LOL. They made me laugh, they made me cry, and they felt real to me.
If I Stay is raw emotion. I ripped my heart out and stomped all over it, and left me wanting more. I can’t wait to read the next book in Mia’s story and have my heart broken all over again.
Kirsten Potter was a pretty good narrator. She was on point with voices and inflections and I enjoyed the book told from her perspective. I’ll definitely be looking for more audios by her.