The day started out happily—a snow day, with the whole family enjoying breakfast together and making plans for the day.

Seventeen year old Mia is one of those kids who actually enjoys her parents and her little brother. Unlike some girls her age, she does not dismiss them as “not cool.”

Afterwards, she would not remember what happened, only that she seemed to be detached from the scene unfolding: a car accident, ambulances, and seeing her own broken body rushed to the hospital.

Later, in ICU, Mia seems to remain detached from her body, as if looking down on it, while medical professionals work on her.

She describes the scene in her first person narrative, and as we wait to see what will happen, she flashes back in time, and we see her life, with friends, her cello music, and her boyfriend Adam, a musician. And in the present, as she listens to the visitors at her bedside, she realizes that perhaps she can decide whether to go or to stay.

If I Stay was a riveting story that is a reminder of how quickly everything in life can change, and how, when we are living it, we need to savor it. 4.5 stars.