Apple is in the 8th grade. She has a best friend named Pilar, and a very strict Nana. Apple’s Mother left her when she was just a toddler. Every year at Christmas she cannot help but ask Nana if her mother had called, or emailed. She just couldn’t understand why her mother would choose to leave her, alone, by herself, and never ask about her.
Apple dreams to have a life away from her almost non-existent father and his wife Trish. She hates how her grandmother refuses to let her walk home from school or even hang out with friends or do anything fun that her friends are doing. On Christmas night, Trish announces that Apple will become an older sister. Apple feels abandoned and left out by her family. To make things more confusing, her mother arrives to pick her up from school!
Finally, presented with the chance to escape her life, Apple moves in with her mother. But Apple soon comes to realise that her Mother is not who she imagined, and Apple has never missed her Nana more. Apple faces the biggest decision - does she stay with her Mother or move back to Nana’s place?
Goodreads Rating: 4.0
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If I stay is the first book in its series. The novel starts with 17 year old Mia and her family celebrating the unexpected snow day. School is closed for Mia and her brother Teddy, so mum and dad also decide to stay home from work. They all decide to spend the day visiting friends and their grandparents.
The family sets out in their car to begin their visits, until all of a sudden Mia is staring at herself lying on the ground, bloody and bruised. She searches frantically for her parents and brother, only to discover that both her parents are dead and her brother is still fighting for his life. In a matter of moments this family’s world has come crashing down. Mia is stuck somewhere in between, she is having an out of body experience, while her physical self is in a coma.
The story continues on with everyone she knows visiting and talking about how they want her to stay. Mia, in her ghostly state, is unsure if she wants to stay in a world without her family. She is lost, conflicted, and struggling to understand what has happened and what will happen next. She must make a decision before time runs out.
It is a captivating read, though the only warning is to keep tissues handy.
Goodreads rating: 3.95
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