Award-winning journalist Gayle Forman walks the fragile line between life and death in "If I Stay" (Dutton Books), a New York Times best-selling novel that touches readers of all ages.
Won in a hotly contested auction and with rights sold in 21 countries, the novel follows 17-year-old Mia in the 24 hours after a catastrophic car accident.
"If I Stay" was recently confirmed as the next film for "Twilight" director Catherine Hardwicke and is slated for release in 2011.
Read an excerpt of the book below, and then head to the "GMA" Library for more great reads.
Everyone thinks it was because of the snow. And in a way, I suppose that's true.
I wake up this morning to a thin blanket of white covering our front lawn. It isn't even an inch, but in this part of Oregon a slight dusting brings everything to a standstill as the one snowplow in the county gets busy clearing the roads. It is wet water that drops from the sky -- and drops and drops and drops -- not the frozen kind. It is enough snow to cancel school. My little brother, Teddy, lets out a war whoop when Mom's AM radio announces the closures. "Snow day!" he bellows. "Dad, let's go make a snowman."
My dad smiles and taps on his pipe. He started smoking one recently as part of this whole 1950s, Father Knows Best retro kick he is on. He also wears bow ties. I am never quite clear on whether all this is sartorial or sardonic—Dad's way of announcing that he used to be a punker but is now a middle-school English teacher, or if becoming a teacher has actually turned my dad into this genuine throwback. But I like the smell of the pipe tobacco. It is sweet and smoky, and reminds me of winters and woodstoves.
"You can make a valiant try," Dad tells Teddy. "But it's hardly sticking to the roads. Maybe you should consider a snow amoeba."
I can tell Dad is happy. Barely an inch of snow means that all the schools in the county are closed, including my high school and the middle school where Dad works, so it's an unexpected day off for him, too. My mother, who works for a travel agent in town, clicks off the radio and pours herself a second cup of coffee. "Well, if you lot are playing hooky today, no way I'm going to work. It's simply not right." She picks up the telephone to call in. When she's done, she looks at us. "Should I make breakfast?"
Dad and I guffaw at the same time. Mom makes cereal and toast. Dad's the cook in the family. Pretending not to hear us, she reaches into the cabinet for a box of Bisquick. "Please. How hard can it be? Who wants pancakes?"
"I do! I do!" Teddy yells. "Can we have chocolate chips in them?"
"I don't see why not," Mom replies.
"Woo hoo!" Teddy yelps, waving his arms in the air.
"You have far too much energy for this early in the morning," I tease. I turn to Mom.
"Maybe you shouldn't let Teddy drink so much coffee."
"I've switched him to decaf," Mom volleys back. "He's just naturally exuberant."
"As long as you're not switching me to decaf," I say.
"That would be child abuse," Dad says.
Mom hands me a steaming mug and the newspaper.
"There's a nice picture of your young man in there," she says.
"Really? A picture?"
"Yep. It's about the most we've seen of him since summer," Mom says, giving me a sidelong glance with her eyebrow arched, her version of a soul-searching stare.
"I know," I say, and then without meaning to, I sigh. Adam's band, Shooting Star, is on an upward spiral, which, is a great thing—mostly.