If I Asked You, Would You Stay? Analysis

Form and Content (Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

If I Asked You, Would You Stay? is a simple book dealing with complicated issues. It gently confronts the issue of adolescents who are forced, by the circumstances in their lives, to live without the security of a strong, supportive family as they grapple with emotional growth and evolving relationships. This story, although set in California with characters who have left their homes, deals with issues that all adolescents confront as they forge their own lives and identities. The desire to break free of the constraints imposed by adults and declare independence carries heavy burdens, which Eve Bunting expertly and covertly depicts.

The story in this direct and captivating novel is elegantly simple in its presentation while dealing with intricate issues. Charles Robert O’Neill—known as Crow—is a gentle seventeen-year-old who has spent all of his life shunted from one foster home to another. Crow leaves the home of kindly Mrs. Simon and his foster brother Danny. He wants to live unencumbered, without attachments to anyone. He chooses to live a private existence, letting no one know where he lives. He works, fends for himself, lets his foster mother know that he is well, and survives relatively well in a secret room above an old carousel on a pier. This secret place belongs to Sasha, a character whom the reader knows of only through Crow and his thoughts. He wants to save money so that he, like his namesake, will always be free. Crow’s life...

(The entire section is 578 words.)