I guess we didn’t have a lot of YA fiction back in my day, which is probably why so many of us turned to Stephen King, who — and no offense — wrote adult stories in a way that appealed to so many of us teenagers. There was Lord of the Rings, I suppose, but to my recollection, we didn’t have a lot of great teen-targeted novels (and even fewer series). So if you’re a 15 or 16 year old book reader, it must be nice having so many great books aimed right at you, and I’m not even talking about The Hunger Games or, god forbid, Divergent and Twilight. I’m talking about Eleanor and Park, Ned Vizzini’s work, Karen Thompson Walker’s Age of Miracles, Frank Portman’s stuff, the fantastic work of John Green (whose The Fault in the Stars comes out soon), Cory Doctorow’s YA fiction, and Ready Player One!, the book that kicked my ass into reading again after the twins came along. If I were a teen today, I swear I’d never leave my bedroom; I’d just lie in bed reading. Of course, I’d probably also be depressed most of the time because most of the better YA books are really f*cking sad.
Gayle Forman’s 2009 YA novel If I Stay is another one of those fine YA novels (and another recommendation I got from Joanna Robinson, who actually sent me the book), and like so much of YA fiction, it’s heavy. Here, Chloë Moretz plays a teenager who is in a car crash that kills her entire family, leaving her in a coma. The movie tracks her out-of-body experience as she chooses whether to live or die.