Where She Went
by Gayle Forman
Original Publication Date: April 5th, 2011
Approximate Length: 264 pages
Obtained Via: Bought at Hastings
Format Read In: Paperback
Summary via 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.
As soon as I read If I Stay back in February, it became an instant favorite. I connected with Mia so strongly, and my heart broke for her as she lost so much. The more I learned about her through her flashbacks and memories, the more I wanted her to be okay, and I was emotionally invested in the story by the time I reached the end. If I Stay was everything I wanted in a book, so I was eager to pick up Where She Went and learn more about Adam, the boy who had been so understanding and sweet over the course of If I Stay.
By the time Where She Went takes places, Adam isn’t that understanding and sweet boy, but instead a broken, desperate character who longs for more than what he has. I understood where angsty Adam was coming from, but it was still hard to read. I felt like for so much of the book, he was just meandering aimlessly, both in his head and with his actual feet.
I hoped it would get better when Mia came back into the picture, and it did, a little. I enjoyed the exploration of Adam and Mia’s journey and how the events of If I Stay didn’t just affect Mia’s life, but everyone’s around her. The events of If I Stay were tragic, but for the time being, they were contained in one book. We never really got to see what the outcome of Mia’s choice would be. I think Gayle Forman was pretty brave to write about Mia and Adam three years after If I Stay–it really explores the lingering effect that tragedies can have, and I think this was the aspect of the book I appreciated the most.
As for the actual relationship progression of Mia and Adam, I just. . . didn’t feel it? I appreciated it, sure. I even enjoyed it, but I never really connected with this book, or this Adam on an emotional level. I wanted him to succeed, I wanted him and Mia to be happy, but I wasn’t going to walk away from the book feeling any differently if their fate had been different. I just wasn’t as invested.
I know most readers seem to like Where She Went better than If I Stay, and while I can see why, I don’t feel the same towards this book. I liked it well enough, but I think I liked If I Stay for different reasons than some reviewers did. For me, If I Stay was all about Mia–I felt we were so similar, so it was hard for me to be as invested in Where She Went.
Final Impression: This was review was pretty hard to write because I just left Where She Went feeling a bit confused. I liked it, but something was missing that was present for me in If I Stay. I think this was a book that was necessary for Adam and Mia’s story, but I didn’t connect with it the same way I did with If I Stay. I’d still recommend it, but it’s a 3/5 star read for me.