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

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

Published by Dutton Juvenile on April 5, 2011

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 264

Source: Library

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.

REVIEW

I was very excited to pick up Where She Went, the sequel to Gayle Forman’s If I Stay, as soon as I finished the first book in this duology. If I Stay ended quite abruptly, and I just had to know what would happen next in Mia Hall’s life. Where She Went is told from Adam Wilde’s perspective, Mia’s high school boyfriend, three years after Mia decides to stay. Adam is now a famous rock star, and is struggling in a plethora of ways. Fame is not treating him well, and he is dealing with the grief he feels after Mia breaks up with him when she moved away to college, and after losing her family, too.

The story begins with Adam in New York City for his band. He is about to leave for a European tour, but he decides to go for a walk in the city, and finds out Mia is playing a concert at Carnegie Hall. The two reconnect after the show, and discuss the changes in their lives since they last spoke. Where She Went is written both in the current time, and in flashback scenes as well. This format helps to shed light on the events that Mia and Adam went through since the end of If I Stay.

Right off the bat I could tell Where She Went has a different tone than the first book, and not just because Adam is the narrator. This book is definitely more raw and sad in ways that If I Stay is not. For example, Adam suffers from depression after Mia dumps him. It is heartbreaking to see how much pain he is in, and how he had no one to truly comfort him besides his parents. I really admire Forman for being able to write about such devastating topics in a realistic way.

Similarly, I think Forman does an amazing job at capturing fame from the inside. It is eye-opening to see what Adam goes through on a daily basis as a rock star. He has absolutely no privacy, and he gets mobbed wherever he goes. I think Where She Went is a must read solely for this look at how celebrities are treated in our society today.

Moreover, I also really liked how this book incorporates the setting of New York City. It is rare that I read a book in which the characters interact so much with their setting. In Where She Went, Mia takes Adam around the city to visit her favorite places. Whether you are familiar with New York or not, I think you will feel so pulled in by the city’s atmosphere while reading.

There are a few things about this book that I did not enjoy so much, mostly a few aspects that seemed a bit too ridiculous. First, despite Adam being super famous, no one knows about his relationship with Mia. The couple was together over two years, and I’m sure Mia’s accident was publicized. I find it extremely hard to believe that this could be kept a secret from the media. In the same way, Adam, Mia, and Mia’s friend Kim all turn out to be famous. Sure, it could happen that three high school friends all become famous, but it seemed a bit outlandish to me, and detracted just a bit from the book’s credibility.

Overall, I still really liked Where She Went, and am glad I read it to receive the closure I did not get from the first book. I highly recommend picking this sequel up if you have not done so yet. Forman writes so beautifully, and she creates well-developed characters that will stay with me as a reader for a long time. I will definitely be picking up Forman’s other books in the future!

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