A dramatic, emotional story about family and love.
Recommended grade level: 8 and up
Pages: 201 (for ISBN 9780525421030)
Summary: Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, adoring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. Then, in an instant, almost all of that is taken from her. Caught between life and death, between a happy past and an unknowable future, Mia spends one critical day contemplating the one decision she has left—the most important decision she’ll ever make.
Simultaneously tragic and hopeful, this is a romantic, riveting and ultimately uplifting story about memory, music, living, dying, loving. (Source)
Who will like this book?: This is a big giant catharsis-fest perfect for those who ask for something sad. It will strike the right chord for romance fans, but has enough other things going on that non-romance readers may like it too, as long as they don’t mind some lovey-dovey stuff.
Who won’t like this book?: It’ll be a tough sell for most guys. It’s occasionally sappy and cheesy, and isn’t exactly a picker-upper.
Other comments: This book has a fairly mature relationship and some touching in it, but it doesn’t get too sexual. It’s also emotionally pretty gut-wrenching. So while I can imagine readers as young as 6th grade enjoying this, they’d have to be pretty mature. I think 8th graders are more likely to be into it.
Sequel(s): Where She Went (2011)
Readalikes: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is a great fit as another sad romance (note that it has some sexual content). Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (recommended for grades 8 and up) and Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin feature girls in surreal post-death experiences similar to Mia’s situation.