Friday, May 6, 2011

Review: Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Publication Date: April 5th, 2011

When I first heard that Gayle Forman was writing a sequel to If I Stay, I really didn't get it. All I could think was, "How can she possibly continue that story and do it any justice?". I wasn't really even sure I wanted to go there at all. At first, I didn't even see myself bothering to read it because I thought it would just be a big, fat disappointment... As the buzz surrounding its upcoming release started to build, I became more curious. Tentatively, I put it on my TBR list, and over time, I started to get really excited. By the end of 2010, my attitude had done a complete 180, and Where She Went was near the top of my "Most Anticipated Books of 2011" list. Did it live up to all my anticipation and excitement? Abso-freakin-lutely! This was a read-in-one-sitting book for me. That doesn't happen to me often, but it did with this book (and If I Stay). I just couldn't put it down.

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 Julliard'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.
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

I loved this book as much as I loved it's predecessor, but for very different reasons. I loved If I Stay because is was so raw and heart-wrenching, yet so beautiful and tender. The level of emotion in that book was so intense. From the feelings it evoked in me, as the reader, I cannot begin to imagine being the writer. Where She Went was very much the same, in that respect, but so different at the same time. The book was sad, angry, and full of regret for circumstances beyond anyone's control. Told from Adam's point of view, three years after Mia devastated his world, we learn how he picked up the pieces, becoming a huge "success", while never really having picked up the pieces at all. The chapters went back and forth, between the present and the past (mostly the three years, beginning when Mia left for Julliard). We learn so much about Adam and his internal struggle; his feelings of angst, remorse, inadequacy, and lack of understanding over why his relationship with Mia panned out the way it did. We also learn a lot about Mia and her reasons. I'll admit that there were times when I really did not like her. I felt like she was a selfish b**ch, but then I would remember what she had been through and all she had lost. There were so many tense moments where I was just dumbfounded at the fact that they were in this place, three years later. At the same time, was thrilled that they were.

I don't want to give any more of this story away, and you'll thank me. It's totally worth the read. This book is so full of conflicting emotion that it is impossible to walk away from it. I was very pleased, and surprised by the ending. The entire book leads you to an expected conclusion- closure for both Mia and Adam. What was unexpected was the answers I got, to the questions I didn't necessarily know I even had. If you read If I Stay, you really MUST read Where She Went. If you haven't read either, you really should. Just make sure you have a box of tissues and several hours straight. Neither book is one that you'll want to put down...

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Grade Level Recommendation: 7th+ If this book were a stand-alone, I would probably say 5th or 6th+, but because of it's predecessor, If I Stay, I have to say it's more upper-middle to high school. You can't really understand Where She Went without reading If I Stay first, and If I Stay was just too raw and intense for the average 5th or 6th grader. Kids, ages 13 and up, should have no problems with the content. Readers that are younger than 13 would not get as rich an experience from reading this. I would venture to say that the BEST age to read this would be about 17 or 18 years old. By then, most teens have had, at the very least, an intense crush, if not a real relationship. I think a reader needs to have felt very intense feelings of love and/or duty to really GET these books.


  1. Awesome! Glad to hear you liked it! This is also a book at the top of my TBR list. Now that I hear its as good as the first book, I really can't wait to pick it up.

  2. Yay I'm glad you liked it! Personally, I loved it a million times more than I did If I Stay, because I could relate to it more.

  3. I've heard so many great things about these books! I'll have to start them soon...
    Great review :)

  4. l am half way through Where She Went and l can see l will like them for different reasons =)
    Glad to hear you liked it xD

  5. SO glad you loved this book! If I Stay was one of the most depressingly gorgeous books I'd ever read, and I loved Where She Went even more. There's just something about the way the characters reconnect and how easygoing and heavy the story is at the same time. The writing was fantastic. Glad you enjoyed it too!


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