Study Guide

If I Stay Identity

By Gayle Forman

Identity

There are many ways to express your identity, whether it's with your hairstyle, your clothes, or the music you have blaring from your earbuds. All announce to the world, "This is who I am!" And if who you are is a mulleted man in a kimono listening to Celine Dion, more power to you.

In If I Stay, the characters aren't quite that eclectic, but they're all trying to find out where they belong in this great big symphony that is life. They do it through the music choices, their wardrobes, and who they hang out with. But identity seems futile when it's wiped out in the blink of an eye in a terrible accident. Be whoever you want to be, because eventually you'll just be dead, right?

Questions About Identity

  1. We're often told that Adam is cool and that Mia's parents are cool. What makes them cool?
  2. Why does Mia feel like she is different than the rest of her family? Why does she feel like an outsider?
  3. What prompts Dad to change? How is he different before having children and after?

Chew on This

Mia struggles with her identity. She's trying to find a balance between being herself and being who she thinks Adam wants her to be.

In If I Stay, clothes and music are used to define a person's identity, and almost every character is obsessed with looking cool or listening to cool music.