When I first started reading, I though, "Ugh, this is gonna be a rip off of 'If I Stay.'" Yes, the main character is in a coma, and trying to decide whether or not to return to the world. But as I kept reading, I thought, hey, here are some distinguishing factors. Oh, wait... Not just some... A lot! Like, the entire plot...
Now I can't believe I even had that thought in the first place. This book has much more depth, and I have to say I enjoyed it 600 times more than "If I Stay." Couldn't put it down.
Our main character, Lucy, is bullied in school, and feels helpless and invisible. But every year on her birthday, she travels back in time to meet her dear friend Will. Every time, she meets him in a new time period and is accepted into his family. Every time, she only returns to her normal life after she dies in the past.
The book has themes of kindness, both in the past and present, driving home the message that kindness will always be a powerful force no matter when or where you are.
The characters are all so well developed and well-written, they'll all be in my head long after I finished the last page. They were all real enough to be kids I could have known in high school.
I feel like this is an important book for everyone to read. I was seeking a fantasy/adventure/time travel book when I picked up "If I Wake." Not only did it deliver on all of those accounts, it did a fantastic job getting its message across. Small kind gestures can go a long way. Everyone is on their own journey with struggles we know nothing about.
Also, I appreciated the little touches, like the girls having ridiculous "unique" names, and Lucy's definition of a synonym (she's absolutely right).
Honestly, I feel so many things when I think about this book, I can't put them into words, and it's terribly difficult to write a review. But the bottom line is this:
This book needs to be on everyone's shelf. Get it HERE. Right now.