Characterization of Mia in Gayle Forman's If I Stay

Categories: If I Stay

English 9 GT Engulfing readers into its sorrowful and joyful moments, If I Stay by Gayle Forman is a heartwarming yet tragic story about a girl who has to decide if love can overpower death, in order to find her own fate. Mia Hall, a regular teenage girl in Oregon, is suddenly orphaned when a snow-induced car crash kills both her parents, leaving her in a comatose state and eventually killing her younger brother as well. Having the power to decide for herself whether or not to live, Mia relives key moments in her life while also being aware of everything in the real time, knowing that she will have to choose between dying along with her beloved family, or living a painful life without them.

The main theme in this story of Mia’s is love. Her love of her deceased family powerful enough to enable her to live on without them, and the love of everyone still alive who give Mia the support and mental strength that she needs.

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Through the emotions and confessions that Mia experiences with her family, both her immediate one and her grandparents, she finds that they all would treasure her regardless of which path she took. Born from a hard-minded, strong, and supportive pair of parents, Mia knows from the start that they would want her to live without them. No matter how much pain that would cause her, they sincerely believed she was strong enough. Her father once stated, “Sometimes you make choices in life and sometimes the choices make you.

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” (Page 192), meaning that some decisions were inevitable and eventually bound to occur. On the other hand, although her grandmother and grandfather wanted her to stay as much as the next person did, her grandfather assured her that it would be alright if she chose to leave. “It’s okay if you want to go. Everyone wants you to stay… I just wanted to tell you that it’s okay if you have to leave us.

It’s okay if you want to stop fighting.” (Page 181). As the story develops, Mia learns that the remainder of her family would still love her, although nevertheless, they would still be hurting, no matter what she chose.

Aside from the blood-bound love from her family, the relationship that Mia had with her boyfriend, Adam Wilde, plays an important role in the decision that she faces alone. Knowing that waking up from a comatose without a family would be excruciatingly painful for her, Adam still wanted her to wake up and live her life fully, as she deserved. “Stay. There’s no word for what happened to you. There’s no good side to it. But there is something to live for…I’ll let you go. If you stay.” (Page 211). Mia relived dozens of memories, including the birth of her baby brother Teddy, her first date with Adam, countless summer days spent with her family, and many other heartbreaking events that would tip her internal scale of life and death.

In the end, Mia chose to wake up from her comatose and live, because she realized that everyone she knew would want her to continue on. She would live for her dead family, for the grandparents that already lost too much, and for her broken lover. All in all, I found this to be a most touching and powerful book, because along with its tagline, “Live for Love”, it sends the message that love, of all kinds, can surpass the limits of life and death. Mia’s story of loss and understanding is a clear example of just that.

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Characterization of Mia in Gayle Forman's If I Stay. (2022, Apr 12). Retrieved from

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