Sunday, September 18, 2011

Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Where She Went (If I Stay #2)
by Gayle Forman
Release: April 5th, 2011
Pages: 208 (hardcover)
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Source: Unsolicited copy - Publisher
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've been thinking about this novel for a few months now, reflecting on the story and my reaction to it1...and in the end, I realized that Where She Went must have been pretty spectacular to remain in my thoughts for so long. 

After three long years, Adam and his band are on top of the world and he's a famous rock star. But despite how great everything seems, Adam's less than thrilled with his life. Even his relationships with his band-mates aren't what they used to be. Everyday, he runs through the motions of his rock-star life while staving off nervous breakdowns with a bottle of pills. Honestly, it was so heartbreaking to read Adam narrative and to see his character so sad. Even with Mia's appearance, the changes in her both pleased and saddened me as I followed Adam's narration.

Forman's writing evoked different emotions in me with words that were poetic, beautiful, and heartbreaking. It is so easy to get lost in the story and emotion of Where She Went, and to just let the pages turn as the story unfolds. The story itself takes place quickly, for the most part in a matter of a full day, as Adam and Mia spend time trying to understand each other, themselves, the past, and coming to terms with each of their futures. 

Highlights: Adam's voice is achingly familiar, yet fresh and compelling - I was worried he would sound like Mia. However, Adam is different, broken2 in a different way than Mia once was. And thankfully, he still has some of his lovable charm and humor. I love how Forman shows how her characters have changed in three years, how they've evolved and grown. Even though it was initially a challenge for me to dive into Adam's mindset, Adam's words and the emotion behind them resonated with me long after the final page. 

Lowlights: The first half of the novel was difficult to get through because Adam really is in such a down place, and not entirely the man he used to be. It's difficult to see a character you adore be in a place like that. But, the last half made everything worthwhile. 

1 I even had to reread it, because I was not quite sure the first time around how I even felt. 
2 He's a bit like a lit firecracker in this novel, just seconds away from exploding emotionally...Adam is just so vibrant as a character. 



  1. I read If I Stay and it was amazing, and I haven't yet read this because I was afraid it would ruin the awesomeness (plus it was in Adam's POV, which would be weird) but I might give this one a try ^_^ Thanks for the review!

  2. This series sounds so intense, I really need to read it! I love the books that stay with you long after you read and the ones that make it a challenge to get through just because you're not sure you can handle all the things it makes you feel. Awesome review Lea, these have been on my list for a while and I need to make time to pick them up:)

  3. I just got If I Stay from Amazon, and everyone is telling me I need to read it. Thanks to your review, I'm definitely going to get started on it soon :) Awesome review!

  4. "It's difficult to see a character you adore be in a place like that. But, the last half made everything worthwhile."

    Exactly, Lea!!!

    I also had to re-read WWS a couple of times to kind of ground out my feels about the story. The first part was a bit of a lowlight for me too. I thought Adam was too much of a drama queen. It was such an emotional night, to say the least.

    Lovely review.

  5. I can't believe I've yet to start this series. Everything I hear is phenomenal. Great review, Lea :)

  6. This was one of the most emotionally affecting books I had read in a while. Love your review!

  7. Lovely review. I adored Where She Went - I agree, the first part is hard, but the second half is AMAZING. I love stories that take place in one night, in New York, of all places, and Adam and Mia just made it all the more interesting. I enjoyed this even more than If I Stay.

  8. I really have to read both of Gayle Forman's books one of these days. I think it would be one of those books that I would reread over and over again.

  9. I absolutely loved both of these books so so SO much! I have a feeling that I'll read these again at some point. Great review. Shari (My Neurotic Book Affair)

  10. This book was really difficult to read at first because of Adam's emotional state. It was such a great evolution for both characters, though, and Gayle Forman handled Adam and Mia's story beautifully.

    Great review!

  11. Lea I know exactly what you mean. I had a tough time with getting used to this new Adam. He is so different in If I stay and so different in Mia' eyes that once I got over the initial shock, I tried to come to terms with the fact that this was who he was now. Then you have Mia who is so much colder as a person. Completely different vibe as a novel, but more upper YA and just how I like it. I should re - read this again too. Fab review :)

  12. This book was so beautifully written. I wanted to give Adam a hug and a mug of hot chocolate. Poor, beautiful, messed-up boy. Great review!

  13. I felt the same way about Adam being in such a down/dark place. I enjoyed watching both of them heal as the night went one.