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Douglas Coupland's place in the literary pantheon was ensured with the release of his first book Generation X , which introduced the catchphrase-cum-marketing trend of the same name to the cultural lexicon. That book, about three twentysomethings looking for life, love, and meaning in the desert, painted a surprisingly poignant portrait of modern society. Since then, Coupland hasn't veered very far from that book's themes, with varying degrees of success. Life After God was abysmal. But all of his books lead back to the looming shadow of Generation X. Girlfriend In A Coma , set in Vancouver, takes its name from a Smiths song, and much of the book reads like it's aimed at the same teenage boys and girls who mope to Morrissey.
If I Stay is a young adult novel  by Gayle Forman published in The story follows year-old Mia Hall as she deals with the aftermath of a catastrophic car accident involving her family. Mia is the only member of her family to survive, and she finds herself in a coma. Through this coma, however, Mia has an out-of-body experience. Through this, she is able to watch the actions around her, as friends and family gather at the hospital where she is being treated.
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W hen I first reviewed this book in hardback, I held off on some of the plot's details: it was pretty much the first time a Coupland book had had a plot, after all Microserfs might have had one for all I know, but no one I know has ever managed to get past the first few pages , and I didn't want to spoil the surprise. Now that the book has been in the public domain for a while, that's not such a problem any more. Besides, I think a certain morphic resonance has allowed the book's premises to leak out into the cultural continuum. And if you think that sounds wiggy, get a load of the novel itself. It's Karen Ann McNeil, who has been crash-dieting in preparation for a beach holiday, has a couple of drinks and pops two Valiums, because that's what year-olds from Vancouver did in those days. She then falls into a coma that lasts for nearly eighteen years.