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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.
If I Stay is a beautiful story. It is a story about a 16 year old girl named Mia who lives in Oregon. Mias family gets in a pretty bad car crash. Read morePublished 2 hours ago by limeyriley
I enjoyed the journey with a few lumps in my throat here and there. I honestly thought I would require loads of tissues. I wanted more. Read morePublished 2 hours ago by Jennifer J. Valenti
This book will rip your heart out while making you laugh. I cried, laughed, fell in love then cried some more. All in all a wonderful read.Published 2 hours ago by Book_Lover
A must read! I don't think I'll see the movie; the book was too good! Now I want to know what happens next!Published 2 hours ago by steelersgirl1229
Very Interesting to see her point of view as she watches those around her trying to save her life and keep her with them.Published 6 hours ago by marci mcintosh
A story with an interesting concept but can be a bit boring at times. While I feel as though the flashbacks give Mia life, they also leave something to be desired.Published 6 hours ago by JMac
Enjoyed the book. Abrupt ending. Glad to be able to read the sequel.Published 8 hours ago by excellent
Very well written and the story teller was superb. Great read for adults and teens. I recommend this book. Hopefully the movie is just as good.Published 8 hours ago by Chevaun O. Williams-smith