What if, in a moment’s notice, your entire immediate family is killed and you have to decide to either join them in the afterlife, or stay on earth, alone? Seventeen-year-old Mia has everything she’s ever wanted: supportive parents, a likeable little brother, and a loving and handsome musician boyfriend, Adam. As a promising cellist who’s applied to Juilliard, one of the best music schools in the country, Mia’s future looks bright. Until one February morning, Mia and her family go for a drive, and in an instant, everything changes forever. Her parents are instantly killed and she and her brother are rushed to separate hospitals. Stuck between this world and the next, between life and death, Mia watches herself in a coma. Her remaining family and friends come to visit her, begging her to wake up, to come back to them. But what if Mia doesn’t want to go on living? What if the thought of living forever without her family is too much to bear? Told from Mia’s perspective over the course of one day, the story flashes back between her past and her present. In the end, Mia has to decide, should she leave this world to be reunited with her family, or should she stay?
**Please note: As these titles deals with death in a profound way, I’d suggest them for mature or YA readers (ages 12 and above). **
Readalikes for If I Stay by Gayle Forman:
- PS, I Love You by Cecelia Ahern—Holly is forced to live life without her long-time husband after an illness claims his life. As she reads a series of letters from him, she is encouraged to rediscover the world. This novel is about moving on from heartache, while staying true to the memories of loved ones. It’s also about allowing oneself to live, and love, again.
- Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver—Samantha Kensington is given seven opportunities to relive her last day alive on earth. Each day, Sam uncovers a different aspect of herself, her friends, her boyfriend, and her life. This is a story about friendships, tragedy, and redemption, and what it is that people leave behind when they die.
- Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher—This is a story about Hannah Baker, a girl who committed suicide, and Clay Jensen, a boy who receives seven cassette tapes from Hannah, listing the thirteen people who lead her to end her own life. Alternating between Hannah’s tapes and Clay’s point of view while listening to the tapes, this book reveals how high school cruelty can destroy and prematurely end people’s lives. It also explores the repercussions that suicide has on those left behind.
- Willow by Julia Hoban—Willow is a sixteen-year-old girl who accidentally killed her parents in a car crash and is now dealing with her guilt over their death. Her tactic for dealing with the pain is to severely cut herself. Until, she meets Guy, a boy who makes her feel when she’s been numb for so long. This is a story about learning to cope with tragedy.