Review : Where She Went
Where She Went by Gayle Forman
Pages : 260
Genre : YA, Fiction
Series : If I Stay, Book 2
My Rating :
When I read If I Stay last year, I wasn’t aware of the coming companion book, Where She Went. And I didn’t feel there was a need for a second book. Mia’s journey felt complete, with her having taken her decision right at the end.
But Forman did justify coming back to the story by taking a different approach : rather than centering around Mia’s past life or her decision, the book is narrated by her then-boyfriend Adam, and takes place two years after the accident. Now it’s almost impossible for me to review the book without spoiling the first at least a little, so if you haven’t read the first one, you might want to skip this review.
* * * SPOILERS below! * * *
What it’s about :
In the aftermaths of the accident, Adam has found in himself the inspiration he needed to write the songs that would propel his band to the top of the charts. Two years later, despite his success, he is still suffering of having lost Mia : for even though she survived, their relationship didn’t, ending suddenly without an explanation.
One night, walking the streets in New York, Adam comes face to face with a poster for a recital, the cellist being none other than Mia. On an impulse, Adam buys a ticket for the show. For the once-upon-a-time lovers, this is the occasion to reconnect, and maybe get the closure they have needed since.
My Thoughts :
Having read a few reviews of the book, I know I won’t be the first reader to say this, but I was surprised by how much I loved the book – which is, even more than the first book. I didn’t feel the author was trying to pull my strings as much as in If I Stay, and I thought the slow pace of the story was perfect to translate Adam’s grief and bitterness. I also found it extremely interesting to see the aftermaths of the accident not from the point of view of the victim, but from someone who had a strong connection to her (without being family). The way Adam was impacted by the accident and what followed felt incredibly realistic.
As a character, Adam wasn’t likable from the start. He plays the tortured artist perfectly, and I guess if you have no idea what he’s been through, you might want to tell him to get over himself. But his story is just so heartbreaking, that you can only feel for him. The accident, the unexplained break-up… it’s a lot to take in, and there didn’t seem to be anyone to help Adam through it.
His reconnection with Mia is as awkward as you can imagine it, but I loved how they progressed from talking about trivial things to more important aspects of their lives. And Forman did an amazing work with getting the reader inside Adam’s head, because I felt what he felt in a powerful way.
I would recommend this one in a heartbeat, but I think readers will appreciate it more completely by first reading If I Stay (which, by the way, is also a good read).
Also, I feel the need to note, that I find the cover incredibly gorgeous.
Reading Order :
- If I Stay
- Where She Went