Study Guide

If I Stay Supernatural

By Gayle Forman

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I edge closer and now I know that it's not Teddy lying there. It's me. (2.25)

The light supernatural aspect is introduced to us in Chapter Two, but Mia never seems all that shocked by her out-of-body experience. Perhaps she's watched a lot of daytime TV, so she's prepared. Anyway, once faced with the reality that she can see herself, she accepts it.

Am I dead? I actually have to ask myself this. Am I dead? (3.1-3.3)

Mia is spectral in appearance, but she isn't quite a ghost. She is stuck between life and death, in a strange invisible state.

The helicopter hits an air pocket and by all rights it should make me queasy. But I don't feel anything, at least the me who's a bystander here does not. And the me on the stretcher doesn't seem to feel anything, either. (4.15)

We slowly start to learn some of the rules for Mia's supernatural state. For example, she cannot feel anything in her spectral form. She's not a body.

Am I a ghost? Could I transport myself to a beach in Hawaii? (5.14)

Mia begins to question what she can and cannot do in her invisible form, and she tests the limits of her powers, if you can call them that. She'll soon learn that she is quite powerless. But could she walk to the airport and board a plane to Hawaii? Can she breathe underwater? There are a lot of things we don't know.

I walk into the wall, imagining that I'll float through it and come out the other side. Except that what happens when I walk into the wall is that I hit a wall. (5.17)

Because Mia doesn't say "ouch," we can assume that hitting the wall doesn't hurt her. Ghosts don't have nerve endings.

All day long, I've been imagining Adam's arrival, and in my fantasy, I rush to greet him, even though he can't see me and even though, from what I can tell so far, it's nothing like that movie Ghost, where you can walk through your loved ones so that they feel your presence. (10.8)

Mia must not have been paying attention to Ghost, because that never happens in that movie. Maybe it was Ghostbusters. Oh, that's a thought for a cool book: If I Stay and Ghostbusters. Sort of like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, only not. We totally think Bill Murray could knock some sense into Ghost-Mia.

He is waiting for Kim but I also like to think he's looking for me. (10.12)

Adam is looking for a sign of Mia in the sky, showing that he is either religious or superstitious, or maybe just "Oregon spiritual." Perhaps he believes he'll see a cloud that looks like her.

By now I've figured out that I don't have any supernatural abilities. (11.2)

Except eavesdropping on everyone around her and leaving her body. Clearly, Mia was aiming higher.

Of course, I know almost everything that Kim is telling me, but there is no way she'd know that. (16.7)

Will Mia reveal the truth to Adam and Kim when she wakes up? She has proof that she had an out-of-body experience, since she listened to conversations these people had far away from her body. Mia should go on a daytime talk show and make millions. Or maybe the rules go that you can't remember that kind of thing when you finally wake up.

My prebirth years aren't entirely blank. (16.8)

This weird confession is never explained, but Mia believes she was present in events in her parents' lives that happened before she was born. Perhaps this is the explanation for why she can leave her body when she is near death. She's always had a power like this.

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