Study Guide

If I Stay Love

By Gayle Forman

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It took me by surprise how much I wanted to be kissed by him, to realize that I'd thought about it so often that I'd memorized the exact shape of his lips, that I'd imagined running my finger down the cleft of his chin. (4.59)

Is Mia in love with Adam, or is she obsessed with him? Is it possible to be obsessed with someone if you don't love them? What evidence do we have that there's truly something special between the two of them? How does Mia define love herself?

Adam is the one I really want to see. (6.10)

Does Mia want to see Adam because she loves him more than her own family? Or simply because he's the only one still alive?

In books and movies, the stories always end when the two people finally have their romantic kiss. The happily-ever-after part is just assumed. (6.12)

This is a little bit of foreshadowing to the book's final scene, when Mia wakes up as if she's Sleeping Beauty and Adam is Prince Charming. The happily-ever-after part is assumed, but it would be an incorrect assumption, as you'll know if you read the sequel.

As I walked him out to his car, I wanted to tell him that I loved him. But it seemed like such a cliché after what we'd just done. So I waited and told him the next day. (6.51)

Why does Mia wait to tell him? Does it matter when you say you love someone? And what makes Mia actually realize that she loves Adam?

"You talk to her. You tell her to take all the time she needs, but to come on back. You're waiting for her." (8.28)

If I Stay has a fairy-tale quality to it, with Mia as a Sleeping Beauty and Adam as a Prince Charming who loves her. By waiting at her bedside, he can bring her back. What is it about love that makes this kind of thing possible?

I decided that not only would I go to his show, but for once I'd make as much of an effort to understand his world as he did mine. (9.47)

Mia does something she wouldn't normally do because she loves Adam, even though he never asked her to. She's not doing it just to please him; she also seems to want to understand him better as a person. Or maybe she's doing it just to please him. Hard to tell.

"The you who you are tonight is the same you I was in love with yesterday, the same you I'll be in love with tomorrow. I love that you're fragile and tough, quiet and kick-ass." (9.93)

This line shows us that because Adam loves Mia, he wouldn't ever ask her to change. Not that he minds her stepping out of her comfort zone to do something he enjoys, but he says it wouldn't be required for her to do that.

"So I can show her that I'm here. That someone's still here." (11.40)

If Mia didn't have Adam, she would probably choose to die rather than be in a world without someone who loves her this much. We guess the love of her friend Kim isn't enough. Or the love of everybody else in the waiting room. Why not?

I'd never expected to fall in love. (15.21)

This book is full of unexpected events. Mia never expected to be in a horrible car accident, either, but we all must deal with the cards life deals us. You can try to run away from love, too, but just like death, it's not really something anyone can control.

I felt so good that I didn't bother thinking about what was going on with me, with us. It just felt normal and right, like slipping into a hot bubble bath. (15.23)

This quote sounds like it's about death, but it's actually about her love with Adam. Is loving Adam like dying? They're both uncontrollable events, each in their own way, and both things change a person irrevocably. Does Mia make this connection herself?

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