4.16.2015 | Thursday

Where She Went

category: Book Reviews

Where She Wenttitle: Where She Went
author: Gayle Forman
series: If I Stay #2
published: 5 April 2011
publisher: Speak
genre(s): contemporary, romance
pages: 306
source: bought
format: eBook
buy/shelve it: Amazon | B&N | BookBub | Goodreads

rating: five-stars | series rating: five-stars

the blurb

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.

my review

Where She Went is the second book in the If I Stay series and my favorite of the two.  It was just as emotional as the first and even more intense.  Despite the theme of death in If I Stay, there is something much darker about most of the second novel.

Where She Went is told from the point of view of Adam and begins a few years after If I Stay ends.  Mia and Adam have gone in totally different directions, living totally different and totally separate lives.  From the very beginning of the novel, it is clear that Adam hasn’t moved on very well.  His personal and professional lives are suffering and he can’t seem to get it together.  Even his band mates, once his best friends, have been alienated by him and he doesn’t know what to do to change anything.  He is alone and lonely and suffering.

This is a story about the effect that grief has on people.  Mia lost her family, a family that meant almost as much to Adam.  And he lost Mia for reasons he doesn’t truly know.  In a way, watching Adam go through the things he did was even more heart breaking than Mia’s pain in the first novel.  Watching his transformation, and Mia’s, throughout the book was emotional and beautiful.  Like the first, it was Adam who owned my heart as a character.  I just wanted things to change for him, for him to find happiness.

This isn’t always an easy read, but it is a beautiful one.  It tells the story of two people torn apart by the worst of experiences.  In my opinion, the aftermath of grief shown in this book was as important to the story as the initial tragedy itself.


About Gayle Forman

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, I was a journalist who specialized in reporting on young people and social-justice issues. Which is a fancy way of saying I reported on all the ways that young people get treated like crap—and overcome! I started out working for Seventeen magazine, writing the kinds of articles that people (i.e. adults) never believe that Seventeen ran (on everything from child soldiers in Sierra Leone to migrant teen farm workers in the U.S.). Later on, I became a freelance journalist, writing for magazines like Details, Jane, Glamour, The Nation, Elle, Budget Travel, and Cosmopolitan.

In 2002, I went traveling for a year around the world with my husband, Nick. I spent time hanging out with some pretty interesting people, a third sex (we’d probably call them transvestites here) in Tonga, Tolkien-obsessed, role-playing punks in Kazakhstan (bonus points to those of you who can find Kazakhstan on a map), working class hip-hop stars in Tanzania. The result of that year was my first book, a travel memoir called You Can’t Get There From Here: A Year On the Fringes of a Shrinking World. You can read about my trip and see pictures of it here.

What do you do when you get back home after traveling the globe for a whole year? First, you get disproportionately excited by the little comforts in life: Not having to look at a map to get everywhere? Yay! Being able to drink coffee without getting dressed and schlepping to a café first? Bliss! Then, if you’re 32 years old and have been with your husband for evah, you have a kid. Which we did. Presto, Willa!

So, there I was. With a baby. And all of a sudden I couldn’t do the kind of gallivanty reporting I’d done before. Well, you know how they say in life when one door closes another opens? In my case, the door came clear off the frame. Because I discovered that I could take the most amazing journeys of my life without ever having to leave my desk. It was all in my head. In stories I could make up. And the people I wanted to take these fantastical journeys with, they all happened to be between the ages of 12 and 20. I don’t know why. These are just the people who beckon me. And I go where I’m told.

My first young-adult novel, Sisters in Sanity, was based on another one of those social justice articles I wrote when for Seventeen and you can click here to read the article. Sisters was published in 2007. My next book, If I Stay, was published in April of 2009 by Dutton. It is also being published in 30 countries around the world, which is surreal. The sequel/companion book to If I Stay, Where She Went, comes out in April 2011. I am currently working on a new YA novel, that is, when my kids (plural, after Willa we adopted Denbele from Ethiopia) allow me to. And after that book is finished, I’ll write another, and another….

Wow. This is crazy long. I suppose the short version of this bio could simply read: My name is Gayle Forman and I love to write young-adult novels. Because I do. So thank you for reading them. Because without you, it’d just be me. And the voices in my head.

Gayle Forman is an award-winning author and journalist whose articles have appeared in such publications as Jane, Seventeen, Glamour, Elle, and The New York Times Magazine, to name just a few. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.

Rating Report
Overall: five-stars

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