Study Guide

Adam in If I Stay

By Gayle Forman

Adam

The Boy in the Band

The name Mia means "loved one," and the name Adam comes from the number one man of Adam and Eve fame. This Adam is Mia's number one. Like Mia, he's musically talented and perfect in every way. Adam gets along swimmingly with his girlfriend's parents, he's in a band that is rapidly gaining fame, and he is so sexy (for a teenager) that Mia wants to lick the sweat off his face.

Don't believe us? We have proof: after a concert, Adam "would be sweaty but it was such a clean sweat that part of [Mia] was tempted to lick the side of his face, like it was a lollipop" (6.18). See, we told you…

Adam is romantic, saying things like, "I want you to play me like a cello" (6.41) to Mia, which to her is the most passionate thing a boy could possibly say to her. Plus, he's cool. In fact, Mia constantly tells us that Adam is cool. We're not sure why he's cool, but Mia tells us that he is so often that it must be true.Maybe it's his guitar, otherwise known as his "fifth limb" (6.18). Just as Mia is one with her cello, Adam is one with his guitar.

Before Anyone Else

Adam always puts Mia first, because if he didn't, there wouldn't be a relationship. She is definitely the passive one in the relationship. He asks her out, even though she doesn't think anyone would ever want to date her. He asks her to a Halloween party, and she initially doesn't want to go. He drags her to concerts, and she leaves before the show is over. And finally, he desperately tries to get into the ICU while Mia just lies there in a coma. How rude.

We're joking, but Mia being in a coma isn't much different from the way she is in rest of their relationship. Adam makes grand romantic gestures. Mia accepts them. In the book's main subplot, Adam must force his way into the ICU to see Mia. He doesn't care if he gets caught, because seeing Mia is more important to him than possibly getting arrested. It's both reckless and romantic. For Mia and Adam, these two R-words two go hand in hand.

Meanwhile, Mia is busy being the most useless ghost ever. She can't move objects. She can't walk through walls. She can't help in any way. The orange ghost from Pac-Mac is more effective.

If Adam has any flaws, we don't see them. Either Mia won't tell us, or he is literally perfect. He and Mia have a perfect relationship that is strained because he and Mia are just too darn successful. With his skyrocketing musical career and her acceptance to Juilliard, it's starting to turn out that they just don't have time for one another.

Adam's main conflict is whether to choose his musical career or Mia. But while Mia agonizes over the same decision, like she does over every decision, Adam makes up his mind. And he chooses Mia. To her unconscious body, he says he will give up his band if he wants her to. This is one more example of Adam taking a step in the relationship that Mia isn't willing to take. But—spoiler alert—what he doesn't know is that she won't make the same decision.