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'If I Stay' climbs bestseller lists as movie release date approaches

'Stay,' by Gayle Forman, is about a teenager involved in a car crash who must decide whether to live or die.

R: Mark Blinch/Reuters
The film version of 'If I Stay' stars Chloe Grace Moretz (r.) as protagonist Mia.

The story of teenager Mia Hall, who is in a coma and must decide whether she wants to live or die, is steadily gaining popularity. 

Gayle Forman published her novel “If I Stay” in 2009. In the book, Mia is a skilled cellist struggling to decide whether to attend Juilliard or stay with her boyfriend. However, after she is involved in a car crash that kills the rest of her family and leaves her in a coma, she must decide – on a more profoudn level – where her future lies.

The book received positive reviews at the time from publications like Publishers Weekly, which called the book “intensely moving, the novel will force readers to take stock of their lives and the people and things that make them worth living” and praised Forman’s “expert” look at Mia’s life and the people she loves.

School Library Journal writer Lynn Rashid called the book “brutal and beautiful,” writing that “Forman creates a cast of captivating characters and pulls readers into a compelling story that will cause them to laugh, cry, and question the boundaries of family and love,” while Kirkus Reviews said the book was “masterful.”

A sequel to the novel, "Where She Went," was published in 2011.

“Stay” is currently number four on the Amazon bestseller list and also number four on Barnes & Noble’s ranking of top-selling titles. In addition, a film version of “Stay,” directed by “The September Issue” helmer R.J. Cutler, is set to debut this August. The movie stars Chloe Grace Moretz as Mia as well as actors Mireille Enos, Liana Liberato, and Jamie Blackley.

Moretz recently spoke with Entertainment Weekly about the film.

“What’s interesting about Gayle’s novel is that it’s not really that YA,” she said. “It deals with issues that are much bigger…. it’s much darker than I think most YA is. I want people to walk in and feel like they actually felt something, and learned something, and realized something different about life that’s more than just, ‘Oh, I saw this love triangle and it’s super sad because she chose the guy I didn’t like. And then the movie was over.’ And you’re like, ‘Okay, that’s pathetic.’ You want to watch something that actually means something and makes you feel and makes you want to be involved. That’s what I wanted to make and that’s what I strive to make.”

The movie version of “Stay” will be released on Aug. 22.

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