Where She Went by Gayle Forman – book review

Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Where She Went (If I Stay #2) by Gayle Forman

Published: April 5th 2011 by Dutton Juvenile

Length: 264 pages

Where I got it: Library

Why I got it: I loved everything I’ve read by Gayle Forman so far so I had to pick this up.

Summary from Goodreads:

It’s been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam’s life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard’s rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia’s home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future – and each other.

Told from Adam’s point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.

I’m not going to lie, I put off reading this book for a while. I told myself that I was not going to pick it up. It wasn’t because of the way If I Stay ended, which I know a lot of people were frustrated with, but because, for me, the story has ended with If I Stay. I didn’t need the extra book. I liked the way Mia and Adam’s story ended and thought that a second book would just be milking it. After reading this book, I still think If I Stay would have been a good standalone. But Gayle Forman doesn’t just write “good” stories, does she? She writes incredible ones and this sequel did not fall short of incredible.

From this point forwards there will be spoilers for If I Stay so if you have not read that, you (definitely should!) have been warned.

The story is told from the point of view of Adam, which is instantly a very big change from the first novel. Adam’s voice is very different from Mia’s and definitely more memorable. It’s all due to the person Adam has become after his break up from Mia. I don’t particularly want to say how he’s changed as I’d consider that a spoiler, however, with the harsh and almost angry tone of this first person narrative, lovers of If I Stay will be caught off guard.

Adam’s life has completely been changed by the sudden upsurge in the band’s popularity and linked to that was his change in character. During the first chapter, I was surprised at not only his voice but the way the three years since If I Stay has changed him.

The re-blossoming of the old romance was simply a joy to watch. There is no other way to describe it. It was awkward. It was cute. It was frustrating. It was emotional. It was everything I was scared it wouldn’t be. Mia and Adam have a great chemistry and, even after years, such deep understanding of one another it makes my heart leap and hurt and then break into a million pieces.

I started this review with saying that I didn’t think I needed to read this book and I’m going to end it with saying that, no, you don’t have to read it after If I Stay. But once you start missing the characters and the emotional turmoil that was the first novel, you will pick this book up. If you want a book just was heartbreaking and developed and complex as the first one, you will pick this up.

While If I Stay answers “Is she going to live?” Where She Went answers a more ambiguous question of “What now?” Will they rejoin after all these years? What will Adam do about his unhappiness? Why did they break apart? All questions yearned for by the reader throughout this book and, once again, Gayle Forman doesn’t disappoint.

RATING: [5/5]


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