Sequel Review: Where She Went

Where She WentTitle: Where She Went
Series: If I Stay #2
Author: Gayle Forman
Publisher: Speak (Penguin Group USA)
Original publication in: April 2011

This is the 2012 U.S. paperback edition.

Date read: July 11th 2013

It has been more than three years since the car accident killed Mia’s family, and about three years since she walked out of Adam’s life without telling him why.
In those three years, Adam Wilde’s band Shooting Star has risen to a famous rock band. Meanwhile, Mia Hall is a Juilliard wunderkind, who gives concerts, tours the whole world and mesmerizes the audience with her cello solo.
A coincidence encounter brings these two together on one afternoon in New York City. This may be Adam’s chance to finally understand why Mia left him… and find out how to face his future.

Where She Went is told entirely from Adam’s perspective, and I love that because I finally got to really know Adam. And since no one was comatose in this book, we (or actually the author) had a bigger room to play around. In If I Stay, we mostly had flashbacks and that’s mostly how we got to learn about the secondary characters, through secondary characterization from Mia’s memories; in Where She Went (which I find is better than its prequel) we do not have this problem.

Since the end of If I Stay, a lot has happened, and readers get to learn of these changes in shifts – first there is the obvious rock band career (Adam is headed to an interview in the first chapter) and we realize right away that this Adam Wilde is not the sweet, level-headed guy from If I Stay. The Adam from Where She Went has anxiety issues, smokes and is depressed and stressed out.
At first I was bewildered by this Adam: What the heck happened that made him that way? But here lies Gayle Forman’s forte – she transports the readers (at least this reader) right into the character’s heart and mind so that I didn’t only understand his thoughts, felt his emotions, but I was Adam Wilde while I was reading Where She Went. Which is kinda weird, in retrospect, but it was such an intense read. Gayle Forman always manages that. If I Stay, Just One Day, now Where She Went… In each and every case, I forgot time, space, and identity while I was reading her book.
Now I understand Adam, and I also understand Mia. Maybe this was meant to happen. Maybe they will be happier because of it.

The characters continue to live in my heart even though they have had their closure; I am not ready yet to let go of them.

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2 thoughts on “Sequel Review: Where She Went”

  1. I didn’t read the first novel because I love mushy romantic endings, but now this ones out I might give them a go. :-) I like the fact that Adam changes between the two books, it sounds like GF is true to her characters and life – I think these books would move me. Lovely review!

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    1. Thank you for the compliment, Annie! I hope you pick up the books. They certainly have heartbreakingly sad parts, but the romance between Adam and Mia is just so real and good, you might enjoy it :)

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