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Q: You started your career as a journalist and your first book is a travelogue about going around the world. Is YA literature a departure for you?
Gayle Forman: Actually, it’s more of a homecoming. My first writing job was at Seventeen, where I spent five years on staff and as a contributor reporting the magazine’s social-issues stories. I loved writing for teens then because—contrary to popular opinion—they really care about serious issues (from child soldiers in Africa to kids embroiled in the drug war here) and the engage in their reading with such passion. So, now that I’m writing young-adult literature, it feels like I’ve come full circle.
Q: This book explores some serious themes. Why is this a book for kids and not adults?
GF: It’s a book for kids precisely because it explores serious themes. Teenagers are grappling with choices about life and love as much as adults, so why shouldn’t their reading reflect that? I don’t set out to write YA. It just seems like I’m drawn to stories about young people. That said, I think If I Stay is for adults, too. I love the idea of teens reading this book and then handing it off to their parents.
Q: Many key characters are serious musicians, and songs are referenced throughout the book. Are you a musician?
GF: No. Except for piano lessons when I was a kid and a brief spate of guitar playing in my teens, I’ve never played an instrument. I am, however, a huge music fan. And my husband is a musician; he was playing in a punk band when we met, so I’ve spent a lot of my life ensconced in that scene. I seem drawn to writing about musicians, though I’ve never been all that interested in the cello until Mia popped into my head.
Q: What inspired you to write this book?
GF: Music. Oregon. People I have loved. And unfortunately, the book is inspired by a real-life tragedy that happened several years ago.
Q: This is a book about death, but it’s not depressing. Why is that?
GF: Maybe because it’s really about the power of love—of family, friends, music—and therefore it ultimately affirms life.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
LOVED THE BOOK! The book was soooooo good I didn't want to put it down. Really great!Published 9 minutes ago by Payton Carlson
This book did not pull me in and I did not want to keep reading. I don't think this book went in depth enough to cover the characters struggle and therefore I did not really care... Read morePublished 52 minutes ago by KatherineAnn
The story line was interesting but I felt ended too abruptly.Published 58 minutes ago by P. Campbell
Was a very different perspective on being in a coma. Enjoyed the book and look forward to reading more of her books.Published 3 hours ago by Rhonda D.
A masterfully crafted story about grief, love loss, and a young girl's struggle to choose between the pain of living or the peace of death. Read morePublished 10 hours ago by Bonita M. Gutierrez
I enjoyed reading this book and can't wait to read the next, Where She Went. I loved the characters and kept cheering for Mia to pull through.Published 14 hours ago by stef
I didn't like it at first. It was hard to get through. It got better in the middle. I finished it though. I may read the next book.Published 14 hours ago by Rebecca