Parents' Guide to

If I Stay

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Gripping, unsentimental look at teen in coma.

If I Stay Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 12 parent reviews

age 16+

Pretty heavy stuff...

... if your child can get past the brutality and death in the very beginning, then he/she can be treated to vast amounts of consumerism, swearing, some intense sex, and more. Ours was a bit too young for this, and it broke her heart because all her friends (whose parents are either much more liberal, or just don't vet books) are reading this.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
age 4+

Okay book, but not very inappropriate

I don't get why people are saying this book is innapropriete! I read it to my seven year old and she LOVED IT! I thought it was just ok but it was defiantly ok for her to read!

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (12):
Kids say (76):

Media about dying teens often plays out as mawkish melodramas; how satisfying, then, to find a book that's actually well-written, compelling, honest, and unsentimentally moving. Through Mia's disembodied thoughts and flashbacks we get to know not only her, but also her quirky, semi-punk parents, her sweetly energetic brother, her friends, and especially her boyfriend, Adam -- and all of them are appealing characters.

Despite the supernatural, out-of-body premise, author Gayle Forman keeps Mia's story grittily real, perhaps a bit excessively so in the accident scene (which demonstrates the power of metaphor and grim humor to unsettle the reader), but also in the characterizations, relationships, and hospital routines. She lets the situation play itself out matter-of-factly, relying on the power of the events to speak for themselves, rather than bringing in the literary equivalent of throbbing violins to wring sobs out of readers. This is moving and very thought-provoking, but never manipulative or melodramatic.

Book Details

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