Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Review: Where She Went

Where She Went
Gayle Forman
Young Adult
Sequel to If I Stay
Dutton/April 5, 2011

*Spoilers for If I Stay*

From the inside cover ~

My first impulse is not to grab her or kiss her or yell at her. I simply want to touch her cheek, still flushed from the night's performance. I want to cut through the space that separates us, measured in feet - not miles, not continents, not year - and to take a callused finger to her face. . .

But I can't touch her. This is a privilege that's been revoked.

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.

The follow-up to the emotional If I Stay turns the tables and gives the readers Adam's POV. It's an interesting twist to a young adult novel where so often if only one POV is given, it is the female. Adam's voice is quick, harsh and intensely honest at times, if only with himself. He tries to keep this bubble around him, keeping everyone out, distancing himself from the possibility of feeling anything too intense. When he does think or say what he feels, it can be shocking, not only to the receiver but to Adam himself.

The look inside Adam's head was insightful. He's such a guy at times - doesn't understand women, doesn't always want to understand women. Trying to understand women makes his head hurt. But he does get Mia. Or at least he did until she cut him out of her life. It's that cut that was the catalyst for who Adam is now. You get this overwhelming sense that he just doesn't care anymore. He's going through the motions and it's pulling him down even deeper. Then Mia comes back into his life and you can see how he's afraid to hope that he can have her back. He's afraid of her.

Forman puts those emotions on the page for all to see, giving the reader a in-depth look at what Adam has been through and is still going through after losing not only Mia but her family as well. It's heartbreaking to see Adam and Mia at a loss as to what to do. These two who knew each other so well, now feel unsure and uncomfortable in each others company. Mia's actions and reactions to Adam show how the loss of her family and of Adam affected her deeply, causing her to make hard but sometimes necessary choices. While we don't get Mia's POV, we do get to know what she's been going through and how she feels about Adam. But ultimately, this is Adam's story, then Adam and Mia's.

There is this strand of hope throughout the story that can be stretched so thin to almost be transparent. Hope that Adam and Mia will be the reunited lovers of fairy tales. Hope that Adam will say what he needs desperately to say to Mia. Hope that Mia won't walk away from Adam again. Hope that the world won't conspire against them. I loved how that tiny bit of hope kept lingering.

Where She Went is a beautiful continuation of Adam and Mia's story with Adam's POV lending the story a distinct voice in the young adult genre.

Rating: A


  1. Okay, you cannot leave it at that, Les!! What happens?!? Do they reunite? I wish so!!

    I need to read If I Stay... like this week-end! LOL.

  2. Nath ~ I can't tell you! *snickers* Check your email. :)

  3. I gotta get this from the library!!! I noticed a neighboring library got it in, but I'm rarely in that neighborhood. Well... on my bike I am, but I don't have my library card on me then. lol!

  4. Christine ~ I think it was either you or Ames that reviewed If I Stay and that's what made me get the audio book. I liked that one too - both are very emotional.