If I Stay

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Mia Hall Character Analysis

Mia Hall is the seventeen-year-old protagonist of If I Stay, and the novel is told from her point of view. A passionate and talented cello player from Oregon, Mia is likely Juilliard-bound after she graduates from high school. She is close with her Mom, Dad, and eight-year-old brother Teddy, as well as with her Gran and Gramps, her father’s parents who live nearby. Quiet but driven, Mia spends most of her time with her family, her boyfriend, Adam, and best friend, Kim. Music is very important to Mia, as her parents were members of the punk rock scene in their younger days, and she grew to have a deep love of classical music. She often feels out of place in her family, though, due to her commitment to classical music rather than rock.

Mia Hall Quotes in If I Stay

The If I Stay quotes below are all either spoken by Mia Hall or refer to Mia Hall. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Sacrifice and Choice Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Speak edition of If I Stay published in 2010.
7:09 AM Quotes

Just like with Shooting Star’s meteoric rise, my admission to Juilliard—if it happens—will create certain complications, or, more accurately, would compound the complications that have already cropped up in the last few months.

Related Characters: Mia Hall (speaker), Adam Wilde
Page Number: 7
Explanation and Analysis:
On the morning of a snow day off from school, Mia's Dad points out a photo of Adam, Mia's boyfriend, in the newspaper. Adam is part of a local band, Shooting Star, that is quickly gaining popularity in the area. In this quote, seeing Adam and his success reminds Mia of some upcoming changes and choices in her life: if she is accepted to the prestigious Juilliard School in New York City, in order to pursue classical cello, she and Adam will have to decide whether to stay together or whether to break up due to the distance. Since Adam's entire band and fan base is in the Pacific Northwest, there is no chance of him joining her in New York City. Although the admissions decision has not yet arrived, the prospect of a change has already caused strain on Adam and Mia's relationship in the last few months. Though the cello is one of the most important things in her life, so is her relationship with Adam. Throughout the novel, Mia is frequently concerned about having to choose the cello over Adam, or the other way around, and often grapples with the pros and cons of moving to NYC, or remaining in Oregon with her family and Adam. 
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I know it’s silly but I have always wondered if Dad is disappointed that I didn’t become a rock chick. I’d meant to. Then, in third grade, I’d wandered over to the cello in music class—it looked almost human to me. It looked like if you played it, it would tell you secrets, so I started playing. It’s been almost ten years now and I haven’t stopped.

Related Characters: Mia Hall (speaker), Denny Hall (Dad)
Related Symbols: The Cello, Punk Rock and Classical Music
Page Number: 8
Explanation and Analysis:

Hearing Teddy banging on his drums upstairs, Mia thinks about her family's relationship to music. Though her parents met through the punk rock music scene of the Pacific Northwest in their twenties, Mia has always been drawn to classical music. In this quote, she describes how she was drawn to the mysterious shape of the cello in the third grade, and has never looked back since. Even though Mia is very close to her family, she often wonders how she, a dark-haired classical music lover, ended up in a family of fair-haired punk rockers. A quiet, intense musician, she occasionally feels out of place among her outgoing family members. Here, she implies that her father may be prouder of Teddy's musical skills if he uses them for rock rather than classical music, like she does. She loves her family, and they are all musically talented, but Mia still feels somewhat out of place and different.

I’d actually rather go off with my family. This is another thing you don’t advertise about yourself, but Adam gets that, too.

Related Characters: Mia Hall (speaker), Adam Wilde
Page Number: 10
Explanation and Analysis:

When the Hall family wakes up to discover a light snowfall—enough to close school for the day—they quickly decide to spend the day together. They decide to visit family friends Willow and Henry, who have a new baby girl, followed by a trip to the bookstore and dinner with their grandparents. In this quote, Mia acknowledges that she will always choose to spend time with her family over anything else. She also acknowledges that as a senior in high school, most other kids her age would pick friends over family. Mia recognizes that she might be making an "uncool" choice, but she seems confident enough to make that choice easily—and Adam, her idealized boyfriend, supports and understands her.

8:17 AM Quotes

As usual, there is a battle for stereo dominance. Mom wants NPR. Dad wants Frank Sinatra. Teddy wants SpongeBob SquarePants. I want the classical-music station, but recognizing that I’m the only classical fan in the family, I am willing to compromise with Shooting Star.

Related Characters: Mia Hall (speaker), Kat Hall (Mom) , Denny Hall (Dad), Teddy Hall
Related Symbols: Punk Rock and Classical Music
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:
With a free day off from school and work due to the snow, Mia's family decides to visit family friends Willow and Henry. In the car, they debate over what music to listen to during the drive. While everyone in the family loves music, they often dispute over what kinds of music to listen to, as represented in this quote—one of many instances of choice in terms of music, and compromise in terms of harmony. As shown in this example, the family members are close enough that they are always willing to compromise. In this quote, the compromise is Shooting Star, the local band that Mia's boyfriend Adam plays in. This instance is representative of the harmony that the family maintains in nearly every situation, despite their varying preferences. 
9:23 AM Quotes

Am I dead? I actually have to ask myself this.

Related Characters: Mia Hall (speaker)
Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:
When a truck collides with the family car due to ice on the road, Mia's parents die upon impact, and Teddy is mortally wounded. Mia, critically injured but still alive, has an out-of-body, quasi-religious experience for the majority of the novel. In this quote, Mia is able to see the crash and her physical, injured body in the car as external from what she perceives to be the body that she uses to presently move and think. She is invisible to everyone else. Seeing the trauma the crash caused to her body, she is unsure if this out-of-body experience is what happens to someone when they die. However, she cannot see the deceased members of her family, and realizes she must be existing in some kind of limbo between life and death. It's never made clear just why Mia is chosen for this state of limbo, but it is the conceit that drives the rest of the book. 

Sometimes I did feel like I came from a different tribe. I was not like my outgoing, ironic dad or my tough-chick mom. And as if to seal the deal, instead of learning to play electric guitar, I’d gone and chosen the cello.

Related Characters: Mia Hall (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Cello, Punk Rock and Classical Music
Page Number: 23
Explanation and Analysis:

When she was eight years old, Mia fell in love with the cello: she was drawn to the human-like shape of the instrument, and felt passionate about the music she could make in tandem with its strings. At first, her parents were incredulous about such a small girl playing a rather large instrument, particularly one that was so different from the punk rock music that they loved and listened to. However, their love of Mia meant that they were willing to put aside musical preferences to support their daughter in her interests.Though Mia never doubted that her parents were proud of her, she always felt slightly out of place among the punk, outgoing personalities of her Mom and Dad. To her, her parents' punk-rock lifestyle and her classical pursuits seemed to mean that she was inherently "uncool," despite the family she was born into. Yet, this discomfort is not enough to dissuade her from pursuing the kind of music that she loves. Once again, this quote is an example of how Mia finds herself making choices and separating herself from others, but also compromising and finding harmony with her family and friends.

I was still scared, but it was somehow comforting to think that maybe stage fright was a trait I’d inherited from Dad; I wasn’t just some foundling, after all.

Related Characters: Mia Hall (speaker), Denny Hall (Dad)
Page Number: 26
Explanation and Analysis:
Mia thinks back to her first cello recital many years ago. Scared of performing on stage, her father comforted Mia by telling her that when he performed in his own band, he, too, had crippling stage fright. Knowing that she and Dad share this trait comforts Mia, who has long been concerned about how her musical tastes, personality, and appearance differ from her parents'. While they are fair-haired and like punk music, Mia is dark-haired and prefers to play the cello. She finds enough comfort in having this shared fear with her father to have the courage to perform in the recital. This quote is representative of the fact that even though Mia is sometimes concerned with how different she is from her immediate family members, they support her in whatever she pursues. 
10:12 AM Quotes

“I’m obsessed with music and even I don’t get transported like you do.”

Related Characters: Adam Wilde (speaker), Mia Hall
Page Number: 39
Explanation and Analysis:

When Adam first expresses interest in Mia, she thinks that he is perhaps making fun of her. Adam is a year older and considered popular at their high school, while Mia is known as a quiet and intense student. After watching her practice for days, Adam approaches Mia and expresses his admiration for the intensity with which she practices her cello. He tells her that he, too, enjoys music—he plays guitar in a rock band—but in this quote, he tells her that he has awe for the way in which music seems to "transport" her. Adam and Mia's mutual love for music, and their admiration for the other person's passion for music, becomes a foundation of their relationship to come. However, the differences in their musical interests—Mia's passion for classical cello, Adam's aspirations for his punk rock band—occasionally become a source of tension in the relationship. 

12:19 PM Quotes

A small part of me felt like even applying was some kind of betrayal. Juilliard was in New York. Adam was here.

Related Characters: Mia Hall (speaker), Adam Wilde
Page Number: 48
Explanation and Analysis:

When it comes time to apply for college, Mia feels very torn between staying in Oregon with Adam and her family, and pursuing her dreams of playing the cello professionally in New York City. As a very talented cellist, she knows deep down that there is a chance that she could be accepted to the prestigious Julliard School, all the way across the country. If her application were to prove successful, she would find it very difficult to choose between following her dreams and continuing to stay in Oregon with those she loves. Adam, also a musician, plays in a popular local band called Shooting Star. As their fan base is on the rise in the Pacific Northwest, there is no possibility of Adam following Mia to New York. Mia feels that in even just applying to Juilliard and entertaining the idea of moving away from home, she is "betraying" her relationship with Adam. She therefore keeps her application a secret from Adam until she finds out that her preliminary audio tape has earned her an audition in San Francisco.

When we got back home, Gramps dropped me off and enveloped me in a hug. Normally, he was a handshaker, maybe a back-patter on really special occasions. His hug was strong and tight, and I knew it was his way of telling me that he’d had a wonderful time. “Me, too, Gramps,” I whispered.

Related Characters: Mia Hall (speaker), Gramps
Page Number: 51
Explanation and Analysis:
When Mia is invited to audition for the Julliard admissions panel in San Francisco, Gran initially plans to take Mia on the trip. However, she falls ill, and Gramps volunteers to take Mia instead. The two make a weekend of San Francisco, and enjoy exploring shops and restaurants together. Though Mia is very nervous for her audition, it goes very well. Unlike Gran, Gramps is quiet, and doesn't always express his love and appreciation verbally. In this quote, Gramps tells Mia that he had a wonderful weekend spending time with her not with words, but with a strong hug. Mia knows that he is telling her he loves her and is proud of her in his own way, and that is why she responds with, "Me, too, Gramps." This instance is representative of the love and support that Mia receives not only from her immediate family, but from her grandparents as well. Mia's closeness with her grandparents is one of the reasons that her decision between staying and leaving is made more difficult. 
4:47 PM Quotes

I didn’t mind. I was excited about a baby. And I knew that Carnegie Hall wasn’t going anywhere. I’d get there someday.

Related Characters: Mia Hall (speaker), Teddy Hall
Page Number: 86
Explanation and Analysis:

When Mia's mother finds out that she is pregnant with Teddy, the family cancels an impending trip to New York City. Mia's parents have always been very open about the fact that neither Mia nor Teddy were planned pregnancies, a hallmark of their easygoing and spontaneous attitudes. This quote is representative of how important Teddy has always been in Mia's life, even before she was born. Though she was very excited to visit Carnegie Hall (a famous concert hall, and thus a dream for the ambitious, cello-playing Mia) and see New York City for the first time, her excitement and understanding about missing the trip due to the prospect of having a sibling trumped any feelings of disappointment. Despite her love of the cello, Mia's deep love of family has always come first. 

5:40 PM Quotes

“Mia, Mia, Mia,” he said, stroking the tendrils of my hair that had escaped from the wig. “This is the you I like. You definitely dressed sexier and are, you know, blond, and that’s different. But the you who you are tonight is the same you I was in love with yesterday, the same you I’ll be in love with tomorrow. I love that you’re fragile and tough, quiet and kick-ass. Hell, you’re one of the punkest girls I know, no matter who you listen to or what you wear.”

Related Characters: Adam Wilde (speaker), Mia Hall
Page Number: 100
Explanation and Analysis:

When Adam's band plays a show at a popular local venue on Halloween, Mia decides to go all out with her costume. With Mom's help, she dresses up as a sexy punk rock chick. As she's always felt out of place at Shooting Star's crazy concerts, Mia hopes that Adam will be impressed with her attempt to fit in with the other punk rockers. When he sees her after the show, he is shocked at her appearance, but in this quote, he tells her that he loves her for who she usually is, not for who she dresses up as. Though Mia is often worried that she's not "cool" enough for Adam, who is older and in a rock band, Adam explains that he loves her for her quiet intensity, which makes her one of the "punkest" girls he knows, despite her tamer wardrobe and musical choices. It is Adam and Mia's mutual respect and acceptance of each other allows their relationship to thrive, despite the differences in their musical tastes. 

7:13 PM Quotes

“Look, I accept Adam because you love him. And I assume he accepts me because you love me. If it makes you feel any better, your love binds us. And that’s enough. Me and him don’t have to love each other.”

Related Characters: Kim Schein (speaker), Mia Hall, Adam Wilde
Page Number: 116
Explanation and Analysis:

When Mia and Adam first began to date, Mia assumed that as two of the most important people in her life, Kim and Adam would become fast friends. However, after several encounters, it becomes clear that the two teenagers just don't get along very well. This makes Mia very upset. In this quote, Kim explains that Mia shouldn't be upset about Adam not becoming her best friend as well, because they will always be bound, to an extent, by their mutual love for Mia. The fact that Kim and Adam don't hit it off upsets Mia because she comes from a family that, for the most part, exists in total harmony—she is not used to the people in her life not thoroughly enjoying each other's presence. Kim and Adam's mutual respect but lack of fondness for each other is a rude awakening for Mia that sometimes, two people that she loves will not always love each other. 

9:06 PM Quotes

And that’s how I know. Teddy. He’s gone, too.

Related Characters: Mia Hall (speaker), Teddy Hall
Page Number: 152
Explanation and Analysis:

Though Mia is happy to see Willow stick up for Adam and Kim, she is struck by the realization that Willow's presence in the hospital means that she no longer needs to be at the hospital where she works as a nurse. Mia had been certain that Willow was there taking care of Teddy. If she no longer needs to be at the hospital, Mia realizes, this means that Teddy has died. While Mia could tell that her parents had died upon the impact of the crash, she held onto the hope that Teddy would survive. Now, Mia knows that her entire immediate family has died in the crash—knowledge that will make her decision whether to stay or to leave very difficult. If she were to remain alive, she would have to deal with the grief of losing her entire family. If she were to leave, she would sacrifice her entire future with the cello, Adam, Kim, and her grandparents, but could at least be on the "other side" with Teddy, Mom, and Dad. As Teddy's older sister, she has always been very protective of him, and so she is distraught by the prospect of him scared and dying alone. She hopes that wherever he is, he is being comforted by Mom, Dad, and other relatives that have passed away. 

When Teddy slid out, he was head up, facing the ceiling, so that the first thing he saw was me.

Related Characters: Mia Hall (speaker), Teddy Hall
Page Number: 158
Explanation and Analysis:

In a flashback, Mia recalls the day that Teddy is born. Mia accompanies her mother to the birthing clinic and is present in the room at the moment Mom gives birth. In this quote, Mia remembers that when Teddy first opened his eyes, she was the one he was looking at. Ever since then, she and Teddy have been exceptionally close, to the point that her parents joked that he "imprinted" on her. This memory makes the trauma of Teddy's passing even harder on Mia, as she was always very protective of her younger brother. Teddy's death also makes Mia's decision to stay or leave even more difficult: If she were to decide to stay, she would have to go through life without the support of her immediate family. 

10:40 PM Quotes

“In my ideal scenario, my bighearted pushover husband and I die quickly and simultaneously when we’re ninety-two years old…Mia plays at our funeral. If, that is, we can tear her away from the New York Philharmonic.”

Related Characters: Kat Hall (Mom) (speaker), Mia Hall, Denny Hall (Dad)
Page Number: 173
Explanation and Analysis:

In the car on the way home from a funeral, Mia's family begins to discuss what kind of funerals they hope to have one day. In this quote, Mom notes that she hopes to die at the same time as Dad, and to have Mia play for the funeral. This quote is one of morbid foreshadowing to the crash that is to happen years later: Mom and Dad do die at the same time, and if Mia decides to stay, there is a possibility that she would play at the funeral. This particular memory highlights the often dark irony of life—Mom will perhaps get her wish for her funeral, though several decades prior to when she hoped she would die. Mia recalls this conversation as she weighs the pros and cons of staying or leaving, because it represents how fleeting life can be—someone as vivacious as Mom can be here one moment, and gone in the blink of an eye. 

Dad was wrong. It’s true you might not get to control your funeral, but sometimes you do get to choose your death.

Related Characters: Mia Hall (speaker), Denny Hall (Dad)
Page Number: 173
Explanation and Analysis:
While in the car on the way back from a family friend's funeral, Mom is furious about the sentimental and religious nature of the service. She believes that the friend, who was an atheist, would have been very upset at the funeral his family set up for him. Dad gently counters Mom and points out that no one gets to choose how their funeral goes, since it only happens after they are gone. In this quote, Mia recalls Dad's words in the course of her decision whether to stay or to leave the world of the living. Once she realizes the terms of her coma—it is her choice whether she will join her parents in death, or to wake up and continue living—she thinks about the humorous, if morbid, conversation in which she and her family discussed their funerals. For all their talk of death, Mia never thought that she would have any say about when or how she would die. In remembering an instance when she realized her father was wrong about the terms of life and death, Mia further realizes how this choice is entirely her decision—a moment of growth, and separation, from the world in which she relied on the advice of her parents. 
2:48 AM Quotes

Sleep without dreams. I’ve heard people talk about the sleep of the dead. Is that what death would feel like? The nicest, warmest, heaviest never-ending nap? If that’s what it’s like, I wouldn’t mind. If that’s what dying is like, I wouldn’t mind at all.

Related Characters: Mia Hall (speaker)
Page Number: 179
Explanation and Analysis:

As the hours in which she is in a coma wear on, Mia, even in her out-of-body state, begins to become very tired. She longs to fall asleep, but does not succumb to her fatigue because she has not yet decided whether to stay or to leave. In this quote, she wonders if dying would be like one very long nap, albeit one without dreams. Here, she longs for a sleep without any memories of her life—good or bad—in order to forget the trauma of the day, and to not miss the good times she enjoyed with her now-deceased family members. In this instance, the weariness that she feels from the events of the day and the emotional stress of her impending decision make her want to give up and give in to the never-ending sleep of death. However, while she has heard people speak of death as a long sleep, she cannot be sure, thus revealing her current preference for leaving, though with reservations. 

“It’s okay,” he tells me. “If you want to go. Everyone wants you to stay. I want you to stay more than I’ve ever wanted anything in my life…But that’s what I want and I could see why it might not be what you want. So I just wanted to tell you that I understand if you go. It’s okay if you have to leave us. It’s okay if you want to stop fighting.”

Related Characters: Gramps (speaker), Mia Hall
Page Number: 181
Explanation and Analysis:

Gramps goes to visit Mia in her hospital bed, this time without Gran. Mia, via her out-of-body experience, can see and hear what Gramps is saying to her comatose body. In this quote, he tells her that he would understand if she made the decision to leave the world of the living, rather than stay. Gramps saying this to Mia is significant because thus far in the hospital, people have been urging Mia to stay alive without acknowledging the pain of loss that she will have to deal with for the rest of her life. This quote is also significant because Gramps, though supportive and loving, is not a man of many words—but when he does speak, such as now, he says exactly what Mia needs to hear. While Gramps' understanding is enormously comforting, it also makes Mia's decision to leave even harder—how could she leave Gramps and Gran behind? Ultimately, when Mia does choose to stay, one major factor in her decision is the knowledge that she will still have a family to support her through the grief of losing Mom, Dad, and Teddy. 

4:57 AM Quotes

Something had happened to my playing in that audition; I had broken through some invisible barrier and could finally play the pieces like I heard them being played in my head, and the result had been something transcendent: the mental and physical, the technical and emotional sides of my abilities all finally blending.

Related Characters: Mia Hall (speaker)
Page Number: 200
Explanation and Analysis:
In this quote, Mia recalls her audition for Julliard in San Francisco. Though she was very nervous in anticipation for it, it went extremely well. As a passionate cellist, Mia seeks not just for technical perfection, but to connect with music emotionally as well. At the present moment in the novel, Mia is still unsure as to whether she has been accepted to the prestigious music school, but the prospect of continuing to play the cello is one of the major reasons why she ultimately decides to stay. For Mia, music is a way of transporting herself to another world, and also a way of connecting with those around her who love music, too—such as Mom, Dad, and Adam. By staying alive and pursuing her love of the cello, a passion that the people around her always supported, she is continuing to honor the memory of the family that encouraged her in all of her endeavors. 

“…I do know that if you want to stay and be with him, I’d support that, though maybe I’m only saying that because I don’t think you’d be able to turn down Juilliard. But I’d understand if you chose love, Adam love, over music love. Either way you win. And either way you lose. What can I tell you? Love’s a bitch.”

Related Characters: Kat Hall (Mom) (speaker), Mia Hall, Adam Wilde
Page Number: 211
Explanation and Analysis:

In this quote, Mia and Mom discuss the difficult choice that Mia has coming up: whether to move to NYC to pursue the cello (if she is accepted to Julliard) or to stay in Oregon and attend a state school closer to Adam. This quote is significant because it parallels the extremely difficult choice that Mia must imminently make: whether to stay alive, or to join her parents and brother in death. Like with the choice between "Adam love" and "music love," each option has significant pros and cons. Mia recalls this quote because of the unconditional support that Mom always gave to her. Regardless of what she chooses, Mia knows that she has an immense amount of love waiting for her on the side of life or on the side of death. With either option she wins, and with either option she loses. The decision between life and death, like love, is a "bitch." 

5:42 AM Quotes

So I played. And even though you wouldn’t think it, the cello didn’t sound half bad with all those guitars. In fact, it sounded pretty amazing.

Related Characters: Mia Hall (speaker), Adam Wilde, Denny Hall (Dad)
Related Symbols: The Cello, Punk Rock and Classical Music
Page Number: 227
Explanation and Analysis:

In this quote, Mia recalls an impromptu party that her family threw one Labor Day. Neighbors and friends come over, and they enjoy barbecue and watermelon together. Later in the evening, Dad and Adam begin to jam on their guitars together. They implore Mia to join them, and begrudgingly, she agrees. Though she is concerned at first that the different instruments won't sound good together, she is surprised to realize how great the two string instruments sound in harmony. This incident is a metaphor for Mia's relationship to both her parents and Adam in terms of musical taste. Though Adam, Mom, and Dad are all big fans of punk rock music, Mia prefers classical music above anything else, though she does enjoy Adam's band, Shooting Star. This difference often makes her nervous that there is something inherently incompatible about her and Adam as a couple, or as a child to her parents in the context of the family dynamic. However, the people around her are always supportive of her passion for the cello, and in instances such as this one, she is reminded of how differences between people—or instruments—can give rise to incredibly beautiful and rich experiences, relationships, and musical jam sessions. 

7:16 AM Quotes

“I can lose you like that if I don’t lose you today. I’ll let you go. If you stay.”

Related Characters: Adam Wilde (speaker), Mia Hall
Page Number: 231
Explanation and Analysis:
Adam, who has been crying, comes into Mia's hospital room and collapses next to her bed. Worried that she is about to die, he tells her comatose body that he loves her and that if she survives, he is willing to quit Shooting Star and move to New York with her. In this quote, he also tells Mia that if she survives and decides to leave him when she moves to New York, he will understand her decision. As all of Adam's musical dreams remain in Oregon, this is a huge declaration of love—Adam is willing to give up the band he loves in order to be with the girl that he loves. However, his selflessness also shows in this speech, as he says that as long as Mia is alive, he will also understand if she wants to end the relationship to focus on the cello in New York. It is in this moment that Adam's true devotion to Mia is revealed: as long as she is alive and well, he will be happy, regardless of whether they continue to be in a relationship or not. It is this declaration of sacrifice and selflessness that ultimately convinces Mia to stay. 

Yo-Yo Ma continues to play, and it’s like the piano and cello are being poured into my body, the same way that the IV and blood transfusions are. And the memories of my life as it was, and the flashes of it as it might be, are coming so fast and furious. I feel like I can no longer keep up with them but they keep coming and everything is colliding, until I cannot take it anymore. Until I cannot be like this one second longer.

Related Characters: Mia Hall (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Cello, Punk Rock and Classical Music
Page Number: 232
Explanation and Analysis:

In a last-ditch effort to rouse Mia out of her coma, Adam puts headphones over Mia's ears. He presses "play" on an iPod, and the music of Yo-Yo Ma (whom they saw in concert for their first date) floods her ears. Despite all of the reminiscing and flashbacks that Mia has thought of during the last few hours since the accident, it is this music that triggers the most emotion. It is this overwhelming feeling of how much she loves music, and how much she loved making and feeling this music with the people around her, that brings Mia to the place where she knows without a doubt that she cannot leave. She knows that to honor the memories of her family, it is her duty to remain alive—this way, she can continue to make music and keep that love alive. Though Teddy, Mom, and Dad are gone, music, combined with the love of the friends and family members who remain alive, will transport her to a place of comfort, even in the face of grief. 

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Mia Hall Character Timeline in If I Stay

The timeline below shows where the character Mia Hall appears in If I Stay. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
7:09 AM
Love, Family, and Relationships  Theme Icon
One winter morning, seventeen-year-old Mia wakes up to find snow covering the front lawn of her family’s Oregon home. When... (full context)
Music and Harmony  Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Relationships  Theme Icon
When Mia’s Mom asks if she would like more coffee, Mia mentions that she is considering going... (full context)
8:17 AM
Sacrifice and Choice Theme Icon
Music and Harmony  Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Relationships  Theme Icon
The family piles into their old Buick, and Mia’s Dad begins to drive them to Willow and Henry’s house. Though Dad used to be... (full context)
Sacrifice and Choice Theme Icon
Music and Harmony  Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Relationships  Theme Icon
...on the radio: Mom wants NPR, Dad wants Frank Sinatra, Teddy wants Spongebob SquarePants, and Mia wants to listen to classical music. To compromise, Teddy is allowed to use the Discman... (full context)
Music and Harmony  Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Relationships  Theme Icon
Life and Death  Theme Icon
Mia suddenly wakes up to find the family car “eviscerated,” even as the radio somehow continues... (full context)
Sacrifice and Choice Theme Icon
Music and Harmony  Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Relationships  Theme Icon
Life and Death  Theme Icon
Mia pinches herself while looking at her body in the car, but feels nothing. She attempts... (full context)
9:23 AM
Love, Family, and Relationships  Theme Icon
Life and Death  Theme Icon
Mia, in a panic, asks herself whether or not she is dead, and thinks she must... (full context)
Love, Family, and Relationships  Theme Icon
Life and Death  Theme Icon
...cars, and one woman throws up at the sight of the carnage, while others pray. Mia is convinced she’s dead because, given her injuries, she should be in agony. But she... (full context)
Sacrifice and Choice Theme Icon
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In the first flashback of the novel, Mia remembers herself at age ten, when she first fell in love with the cello. Her... (full context)
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Despite their initial incredulousness, Mia’s parents supported her musical talents, and ensured that she was always able to study the... (full context)
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Mia recalls her first recital, years before she ever worked with Professor Christie, when she was... (full context)
10:12 AM
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When Mia’s ambulance arrives at the hospital, doctors frantically work her on to keep her stable enough... (full context)
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While on the helicopter, Mia recalls how her best friend Kim, an aspiring photographer, once accompanied her uncle on a... (full context)
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In a flashback, Mia recalls being asked by Adam if she has “ever heard of this Yo-Yo Ma dude”... (full context)
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...he has two extra tickets to a Yo-Yo Ma concert in Portland that Friday, and Mia agrees to go with him, unsure if it is a date. When Adam holds her... (full context)
12:19 PM
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When Mia arrives at the Portland hospital, she is rushed into surgery to be treated for a... (full context)
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As the operation wears on, Mia wonders what the limitations of her state are. She attempts to walk through a wall,... (full context)
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In a flashback, Mia recalls that it was Gran’s idea that she audition for Juilliard. An independent woman from... (full context)
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Gran had planned to take Mia to her Juilliard audition in San Francisco herself, but she sprained her ankle at the... (full context)
3:47 PM
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Mia is moved from the recovery room and into the intensive-care unit. She is plugged into... (full context)
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In a flashback, Mia recalls that she and Adam did not transition from friends to boyfriend and girlfriend as... (full context)
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Mia notes that had it not been for Adam’s warm relationship with her family, their romance... (full context)
4:39 PM
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Many of Mia’s relatives, as well as her best friend Kim and Kim’s mother Mrs. Schein, arrive at... (full context)
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In a flashback, Mia remembers how she and Kim hated each other when they first met in middle school.... (full context)
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After the fight between Mia and Kim, Mrs. Schein, Kim’s overprotective mother, would not allow Kim to visit Mia’s house.... (full context)
4:47 PM
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In a flashback, Mia remembers being snuck into a casino by her Mom and then watching her Mom gamble... (full context)
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A social worker acts as the link between Mia’s fluctuating condition and her waiting family members. She informs Mia’s relatives that while she is... (full context)
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Though Mia knows Gran and Gramps to be tough people, both of them pause when they see... (full context)
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In a flashback, Mia recalls that while neither she nor her brother, Teddy, were planned pregnancies, her parents never... (full context)
5:40 PM
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After visiting Mia in the ICU, Gran and Gramps discuss whether it is true that Mia will be... (full context)
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In a flashback, Mia remembers Adam showing her a Mozart Halloween costume he spent $100 putting together. At the... (full context)
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Mia decides to follow Mom’s advice of “Fake it til’ you make it,” and dress up... (full context)
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After the show, Mia asks Adam if he prefers her punk-rock persona to her quiet classical music personality. Adam... (full context)
7:13 PM
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Much to Mia’s relief, Adam finally arrives at the hospital, accompanied by members of Shooting Star. From the... (full context)
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Mia notices the late hour, and realizes that Shooting Star will probably not be playing their... (full context)
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Unfortunately, when Adam and Kim reach the ICU to see Mia, they are denied entry to see her because they are not “immediate family.” While Mia... (full context)
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In a flashback, Mia remembers how she and Kim developed a theory that everything in the world can be... (full context)
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Though Adam fits right in with Mia’s family once they begin dating, Mia is upset when he and Kim do not become... (full context)
8:12 PM
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Mia comes to understand the terms of her out-of-body condition, in that she can press elevator... (full context)
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Mia searches the hospital to find Adam and Kim again, and discovers them looking for nurse... (full context)
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In a flashback, Mia remembers that when she began to play the cello, she noticed how different it was... (full context)
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When she arrives at the camp on Vancouver Island three months later, Mia is miserable at first, since she doesn’t know anyone. However, she soon makes friends with... (full context)
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Mia is kept busy all day at camp playing music in the context of an orchestra,... (full context)
9:06 PM
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Mia then hears a raspy, familiar voice, and realizes it belongs to Brooke Vega, the lead... (full context)
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...into Willow, who has come from the hospital where she works to the hospital where Mia is being treated. As a nurse, she is able to convince the guards to let... (full context)
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Mia recalls that when Willow began to date Henry, her Dad’s band-mate, Henry was a “total... (full context)
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In a flashback, Mia remembers how on the day her Mom’s water broke with Teddy, she still insisted going... (full context)
10:40 PM
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Mia runs through the hospital, distraught after realizing Teddy has died. She then goes back to... (full context)
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Mia recalls other people in her life who have died, such as her Great-Aunt Glo, who... (full context)
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When Kerry dies, Mia, her family, Adam, Willow, and Henry drive several hours to Kerry’s hometown to attend his... (full context)
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Mia muses that to some extent, her Dad was wrong—in Mia’s scenario, she does seem to... (full context)
2:48 AM
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After several hours in surgery, Mia’s body is returned to the ICU in stable condition. Willow convinces the nurses to let... (full context)
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As Mia listens to Gran drone on, she thinks about how nice it would be to fall... (full context)
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Eventually Gran and Willow leave the ICU, leaving Mia with Gramps, who cries over Mia’s body. He speaks to her body, telling her that... (full context)
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In a flashback, Mia recalls that prior to Teddy’s birth, Dad’s band was fairly popular in college towns across... (full context)
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Meanwhile, Gramps is upset at Dad’s transformation into a more parental figure for reasons Mia can’t figure out. Gramps finally explains that he misses the music Dad used to write,... (full context)
4:57 AM
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Mia mulls over the lyrics her father wrote years ago, meditating in particular on the lyric... (full context)
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Meanwhile, Willow convinces the head nurse to allow Adam to visit Mia. Fatigued from the surgery, Mia (the out-of-body Mia) is unable to leave the room, despite... (full context)
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Nurse Ramirez leaves Adam and Mia alone in the room. While Adam is initially in shock when he sees the state... (full context)
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In a flashback, Mia recalls that before Adam, she never expected to fall in love. She and Kim always... (full context)
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However, Mia recalls fighting with Adam more than ever that past fall, usually due to the tension... (full context)
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After Mia aces the Juilliard audition, she first tells Adam she just did “okay,” then changes her... (full context)
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Mia and Adam try to diffuse the tension by joking about Mia going to a local... (full context)
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But Mom recognizes that Mia seems upset. They discuss Mia’s worry about the future of her relationship with Adam. Mom... (full context)
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In another flashback, Mia recalls the last time she and Adam discussed the future of their relationship, on Adam’s... (full context)
5:42 AM
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Adam leaves Mia’s hospital room abruptly, telling Nurse Ramirez that he has forgotten something and will return shortly.... (full context)
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Mia wonders what death would feel like—whether it will be a whole lot of nothingness, or... (full context)
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Kim ends her story to Mia about Brooke Vega’s distraction and the security guard by noting, “going to jail would be... (full context)
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As Kim describes being saved from jail by Willow, Mia imagines Kim and Willow becoming close friends, and meeting every so often to remember Mia... (full context)
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In a flashback, Mia recalls an impromptu Labor Day party hosted by her family, attended by about twenty of... (full context)
7:16 AM
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It’s finally morning, and doctors are evaluating Mia’s body. Mia is tired, and hopes it will all be over soon. Kim has left,... (full context)
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Adam soon comes and collapses into a chair next to Mia’s bed. He has clearly been crying, which Mia has only seen him do in moments... (full context)
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Adam puts headphones around Mia’s ears, and plays Yo-Yo Ma’s Andante con moto e poco rubato. Mia is hit with... (full context)
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Mia concentrates on the feeling of Adam’s hand in hers. She summons all the love she... (full context)