Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
The Lovely Bones meets It's a Wonderful Life. Mia has a big decision to make. One snowy day, her family is killed in a catastrophic accident, while she is thrown from the car and left in a coma. Now it's up to her. Should she stay here or move on, leaving the pain and struggle of life as an orphan? Mia's spirit hovers in the critical care unit as she sorts through her feelings about her family, her music, her boyfriend, and her best friend, Kim. Death would mean the end of hard decisions but also the end of love. Why It Is for Us: Mia's decision is not an easy one. If she moves on, she will join her loving family in whatever comes after but will miss out on life. If she stays, there's so much to enjoy, but she'll face grief and an uncertain future. This honest yet affirming story confronts the truth that all life is a struggle. Every reader who's ever wanted to avoid a painful decision will be compelled by the choice Mia must make.-Angelina Benedetti, King Cty. Lib. Syst., WA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
The last normal moment that Mia, a talented cellist, can remember is being in the car with her family. Then she is standing outside her body beside their mangled Buick and her parents' corpses, watching herself and her little brother being tended by paramedics. As she ponders her state ("Am I dead? I actually have to ask myself this"), Mia is whisked away to a hospital, where, her body in a coma, she reflects on the past and tries to decide whether to fight to live. Via Mia's thoughts and flashbacks, Forman (Sisters in Sanity) expertly explores the teenager's life, her passion for classical music and her strong relationships with her family, friends and boyfriend, Adam. Mia's singular perspective (which will recall Alice Sebold's adult novel, The Lovely Bones) also allows for powerful portraits of her friends and family as they cope: "Please don't die. If you die, there's going to be one of those cheesy Princess Diana memorials at school," prays Mia's friend Kim. "I know you'd hate that kind of thing." Intensely moving, the novel will force readers to take stock of their lives and the people and things that make them worth living. Ages 14-up. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal Review
Gr 9 Up-When you are 17 years old, you believe life is full of never-ending possibilities and promises. Mia, an exceptionally talented cellist, was no exception; she envisioned a life at Juilliard, New Years Eve on Times Square, summers and holidays with her supportive family, and a deeper relationship with Adam, her boyfriend. But one snowy morning, an ill-fated family trip to town leaves her parents and brother dead and Mia the lone survivor. She awakens from the crash to find herself in a "suspended state" of being-she has left her body, but not this side of life. In a coma, Mia must decide if she wants to fight to live. Although she feels like she is "experiencing everything through a fish bowl," it allows her to reflect on past memories and to contemplate her future. She reveals the love and commitment of family and friends connected directly or indirectly to her. Gayle Forman's novel (Dutton, 2009) alternates between Mia's past and present. Narrator Kirsten Potter is exceptional in her range of attitudes, from deep remorse to dripping sarcasm and everything in between. She offers small variations between characters, but she is Mia. Listeners can't help but revisit their own perspectives on life, rethink what is truly important, and expand their definition of family. A moving novel for young adult collections.-Cheryl Preisendorfer, Twinsburg City Schools, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
*Starred Review* Forman (Sisters in Sanity, 2007) provides a compelling and highly textured account of the brutal 24 hours that may be 17-year-old Mia's last. Her day starts with a drive, with her loving and moderately punk parents and her effervescent little brother, to a bookstore. A collision with another vehicle leaves Mia's parents dead. The narrative is told in a robust first-person voice, with flashbacks, flash-forwards, and out-of-body reports on her immediate surroundings as Mia is transported, in grave condition, to the hospital. The story then follows the medical efforts to save her life, extended family and friends' efforts to provide emotional care, and Mia's coming to terms with what has happened and what might still await her. Mia, a gifted cellist, finds support from her alt-rock boyfriend and a best friend whose own mother is a hysteric. Mia's recounting of this critical day is laced with insight, good humor, and wonder, allowing the reader to enter the scene as fully as Mia herself seems to have, at least for now, left her broken body. More developed and satisfying than a Lurlene McDaniel drama, Mia's story will engage readers willing to suspend their disbelief that the future can be seen in the present.--Goldsmith, Francisca Copyright 2008 Booklist
Horn Book Review
Read by Kirsten Potter. (High School)A family car trip ends tragically, leaving seventeen-year-old Mia to face a critical choice. Narrator Potter conveys the raw emotion and tender memories that alternate in the comatose Mia's mind as she contemplates life as the accident's sole survivor. Matching the hour-and-minute chapter headings, Potter grounds the action in the hospital here-and-now with the tension and immediacy of her tone. Yet in the next breath, Potter's expression modulates to clearly demarcate the flashbacks to Mia's pre-accident life, her voice warming and softening to share the humor and romance of the past. As Mia confronts the choice of whether to stay with the living or join her family, Potter imbues her completely convincing first-person account with a lifetime of character development. The importance of music in prodigy Mia's life is underscored by the cello interludes that accompany each chapter transition. From HORN BOOK, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Book Review
When snow cancels school, Mia and her family pile into their beat-up station wagon for a drive. Unlike most 17-year-olds, Mia is secretly enjoying hanging out with her quirky family until an oncoming driver shatters their lives, leaving the gravely injured Mia with the ultimate decision: Should she stay or go? As a spirit-like observer, Mia narrates the next 24 hours, describing how her medical team, friends, boyfriend and extended family care for her each in their own way. Woven into her real-time observations are powerful memories that organically introduce Mia's passion for classical music, her relationship with her boyfriend and her bond with her parents and brother. These memories reinforce the magnitude of Mia's decision and provide weight to both sides of her dilemma. Forman excels at inserting tiny but powerful details throughout, including the realistic sounds, smells and vocabulary of a hospital, which will draw readers into this masterful text and undoubtedly tug at even the toughest of heartstrings. (Fiction. YA) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.