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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.
I'm put off by the voice it's written in and the British colloquialisms used by what is supposed to be an American family. Read morePublished 33 minutes ago by C. Belong
How difficult it is to love a story about a horrific automobile accident that left three members of a family dead and one hanging on to life, but I did love this book on so many... Read morePublished 6 hours ago by Susan
Nice quick read, engrossing, interesting view point. Loved it; read it before you see the movie.Published 7 hours ago by @Momma_k_
Excellent introduction of characters. Identify able for people of all ages. Was heartfelt and deep. I felt Mia's feelings clearly and understood her dilemma. Read morePublished 7 hours ago by Stephen
Very disappointed in this boom. I kept waiting for more to happen. Can't believe the movie would be any better. Save your money and borrow from the library.Published 9 hours ago by Erica Lidwell
Very non-traditional. Great story line. Keeps you on the edge. Already bought the next book. I am Excited to start it.Published 10 hours ago by whitney mitchell
This book is amazing. For a young girl like me that never reads, I. LOVE. THIS. BOOK. I watched the movie and normally I say that the movie is better than the book but in this... Read morePublished 10 hours ago by Kathy Piotte
So at first, I thought, oh one of those mushy chick flick kinda books. That's so not me, but I can say, that I was wrong. This is a sweet book. I definitely recommend it.Published 10 hours ago by D. Smith
The book was a bit short for my liking, but there were parts in this that made me tear up, parts that I could relate to with my friends and my husband, and parts that made me want... Read morePublished 10 hours ago by Christina Harris