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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 just want to say that Mia and Adam reminds me a lot of the characters of the movie August Rush. The girl being a Cellist who also studied in Julliard and the guy being a rock... Read morePublished 22 hours ago by Gigie
Very thought provoking book. The characters were well developed and the story flowed without being bogged down at some point. I will need to seek out other books by this author.Published 1 day ago by Janice Jones
Good YA. I can see a lot of middle school girls really enjoying this book. I'm ready for the next in the series.Published 1 day ago by Hannah Uffmann
Eager to read part 2. Hard to evaluate only half a story, but I do like the style. As a nurse I find it accurate and well toldPublished 1 day ago by M. Barry
I watched if I stay before I read it. It's a huge no no but who cares. Anyways the book, like most books, has more details about some parts of the story than others. Read morePublished 1 day ago by danielle
This book is very painful to read. It was sorrowful and heart-wrenching at the same time. You read it and you're hooked by its horrible beauty. Read morePublished 2 days ago by manuela anderson
Then I noticed there's another book, a sequel. Was this intentional when this was published? I don't know but it's the same feeling I got after walking out of LoTR or Harry... Read morePublished 2 days ago by Trikki Motiv
Quick read. I thought it would make me cry but it didn't. I did enjoy the concept of the story. Not dead but fighting to stay or go. What would I choose?Published 2 days ago by Kindle Customer