76 of 87 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2012
First Sentence: Every morning I wake up and tell myself this: It's just one day, another twenty-four hour period to get yourself through.
How I Acquired the Book: Borrowed from my town's library.
The Review (with MINOR SPOILERS): I suppose I should start off this review by saying that Where She Went is very different from its predecessor, If I Stay. For the first half, Where She Went was very slow, dragged in the plot, and felt as if it were some new trashy teen lit. While I was reading the first half, I kept thinking, "Wow, If I Stay would be better if it had stayed alone." Where She Went certainly was not the book If I Stay was. In my opinion, although it didn't change mine, If I Stay had the potential to change people's lives. However, I can't say the same for Where She Went.
While I thought the ending of If I Stay was a very nice and sweet ending, obviously, some others did not, and that is, I suppose, what prompted Ms. Forman to write this book. Where She Went picks up three years after Mia's tragic car accident that killed her family, but not her. But this time, the story's told from Adam's point of view. In the three years that have passed, he has become a rock star. Mia, meanwhile, has reportedly become "the next Yo-Yo Ma."
That was one major complaint I had with Where She Went: the whole unrealisticness of it all. (Hey, is that even a word?) Seriously, how, after three years, are they both supposed to be ridiculously famous? The improbability of that really staggers me, and detracted a lot from my reading experience. Even Adam describes it perfectly on page 228: "It's just: Kim. You. Me. We all came from this nowhere town in Oregon, and look at us. All three of us have gone to, well, extremes. You gotta admit, it's kind of weird."
Yes, Adam, it is kind of weird. Therefore I have no idea why your creator would choose to make it so weird.
Moving on: One thing that really annoyed me in If I Stay was Mia's character. She was boring. Period. Adam is a totally different story. He's much more emotional, and much more interesting to read about. Mia, of course, is still quite boring, but now that she's in the third person, it's not quite as bad. I totally preferred Adam's voice to Mia's voice.
Where She Went, at the core, is absolutely a romance novel. Gone are the thought-provoking questions that If I Stay raised; welcome, character interaction and thoughts. I don't think everyone who liked If I Stay will like Where She Went, but I definitely liked this book better. For romance lovers and lovers of Mia and Adam, this book is a dream come true. While the first half was sluggish and unforgivable, the second half redeems this book.
I really wish Amazon would let us give half-star ratings, because I really want to give this book 3.5 stars, and this is a positive review, not a critical review. As a reference, I think If I Stay deserves 2.5 stars. So if If I Stay left you begging for more of Mia and Adam, read this. Your wish has been granted.
-reviewed by a teenager. (I apologize for any teenagery and/or snarky comments in this review, if they have offended you. I understand they can be very annoying, just like teenagers themselves. In any case, thanks for dealing with them and thanks for reading this review.)
60 of 74 people found the following review helpful
on April 5, 2011
I wonder if it is ok that I liked Where She Went so much more than its predecessor. I mean, If I Stay was all about people dying and lying in coma and there were hardly any tears in my eyes and here I spent hours sobbing over a guy's broken heart? Am I that much into emo guys?
Don't think that's the answer though. Super-emo Shiver (Wolves of Mercy Falls)'s Sam and Beautiful Creatures's Ethan didn't rock my boat and how could they with their obsessions over puffy coats, Scarlett O'Hara and leaky womb type poetry? Adam Wilde is emo of a different, Tom Mackee (The Piper's Son) kind. He is broken, messed up, hopeless, talented and he can love!
Adam's story was just so, so bitter. Throughout the book I felt that exactly like him, I was filled with pain and resentment towards Mia's decisions. The eventual release of all the pent-up anger (accompanied my uncontrollable sobs) was, I believe, as cathartic for me as it was for Adam. This book was a fantastic study of grief, loss and forgiveness. Beautifully, beautifully written.
Ladies, have you hankies ready for this one, 'cause I am tearing up again just thinking about it.
65 of 82 people found the following review helpful
on April 5, 2011
Why I Read this Book: This book is a must read for anyone who's read If I Stay. In fact, if you've already read If I Stay, chances are you been anxiously awaiting the release for the sequel. There was a pretty big cliffhanger at the end of If I Stay and if you're like me, you need to know what happens next. And you get that closure in Where She Went.
What I Liked: If I Stay was a great emotional and thought-provoking read. And because I was late jumping on the reading bandwagon (I didn't read that book until late last year), lucky for me I didn't have too long to wait for the answers that are found in Where She Went. If I Stay was first published in January of 2009, so some people have been waiting over 2 years for closure. Well wait no more, the time has finally come! Today is release day for Where She Went.
I really liked that this book was told from Adam's POV (1st person narrative). If I Stay was completely Mia's story; her traumatic experience, her story, her flashbacks. In Where She Went, we finally get Adam's side of the story; from back when Mia was in a coma from the accident until now, 3 years later. It was good to see where and how Adam and Mia each ended up 3 years after her tragic accident.
Adam pours his heart and emotions into his lyrics and shares them with the world. Every other chapter leads with a sampling of Adam's lyrics. Angst, torment and bitter emotions drip from his words.
One of my favorite lines (that accurately describes Mia's present journey) is Gran's theory on why Mia was afraid of butterflies when she was younger:
"She said it was because one day I was going to have to go through a metamorphosis like a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly and that scared me, so butterflies scared me."
What I Didn't Like: Adam was a bit annoying at times with his whining. His character has had to grieve and he's had some growing up to do. He knows that Mia hasn't had an easy road but the void is not easy for him to digest.
Overall Impression: Where She Went is a great companion novel. I got the emotional read I was expecting and the closure I needed. Gayle Forman brings a wide range of emotions to these pages, even the raw and gritty kind, and sometimes they come in waves. Have the tissues ready.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on April 5, 2011
What if you made a promise to the one you loved that if they stayed you would leave if they asked? And what if they took you up on that promise?
How could you go on knowing they were out there somewhere living their life without you? A life that you thought you would always be a part of. Knowing their smile was no longer yours, that they were no longer yours.
How would you continue if they took a piece of your soul with them? What could you do to fill the void created by their absence?
Who would you blame for the promise you made?
Where She Went is the achingly beautiful and truly exceptional follow-up to If I Stay. Told from Adam Wilde's perspective readers are carried along through his emotional wasteland as he strives to cope with his new existence without Mia and struggles to understand what went wrong.
Author Gayle Forman has once again delivered an exceptionally written story filled with the raw and staggering emotions that accompany loss. Adam's confusion, emptiness and helplessness just seep off the page and attach themselves to the reader, making his pain their own.
The author once again shifts back and forth between past and present, as Adam recalls moments from his past and theirs, creating continuity between his story and Mia's. A story which is intertwined with hers, but whereas her suffering was filled with hopelessness, his is filled with a pain that is sharp, simmering just under the surface and ready to explode.
Where She Went is just as beautiful and sorrowful as its predecessor, but there is also a tenderness, yearning and hopefulness to Adam's story that is breathtaking and unexpected.
This book can be read without having read If I Stay as the author infuses just enough of Mia's story to make book readable on its own. However, readers will be missing out on something simply incredible if they do not read both books.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2014
I first fell in love with Mia and Adam’s stories when I read both If I Stay and Where She Went back in April of 2011. It was my first experience with Gayle Forman’s writing and I was head over heels for it. She wrote a heartbreaking story that made me feel sad and uplifted and broken and emotionally drained and hopeful all in the span of two books. She hit on all the right spots and I just fell in love. And then I saw the If I Stay movie and all of those emotions came back. I left the theater knowing one thing, I had to read Where She Went again. I had to go back to Adam’s story. And the truth is, I had all the same emotions coursing through me as I did the first time I read it, only this time it felt more real, like I knew these characters and I was an actual part of their story.
Where She Went is the second part of the If I Stay duology. It’s been three years since the accident that took away Mia’s family and Adam is off living his dream. He’s won awards, had platinum records, and a tour on the way. But Adam is no longer the same guy he was. His life is the shadow of what it should be and it all traces back to the accident that changed everything he believed in. Now he was a broken guy no longer in love with the music he used to eat, slept and dreamed about. Instead he is a guy just floating by. And then a random, chance encounter changes everything. And the past that Adam thought he was over and had left behind is suddenly right in his face leaving him no choice but to deal with his demons and decide if the past should be left in the past.
So when I read this book the first time I didn’t review it. I had a really hard time putting it into words and I don’t want to spoil either book for anyone. But I just need to get it out there how amazing this follow-up truly is. The truth is if I thought I was demolished by Mia’s story in If I Stay, that was nothing compared to Adam. Where She Went took the feels to a whole other level. My heart just ached for him and everything that had unraveled in his life. How he had to look put together almost all the time when he was just a mess inside. Basically Adam killed me in this book in the kind of way that was a punch to the gut. He just seemed so alone and detached and I hated seeing him that way. But I also understood it. Between the pressure and the guilt and the grief and the heartache he was desperate to not feel so alone which he always did even if he was in a room full of people. Adam was missing one thing and it was his heart which was shattered on a snowy road in Oregon years before. Killed me!
With all that said Where She Went is one of the most beautiful books I’ve read and read reread and that is a testament to Forman and the way she writes a book to make it feel real, how you feel a part of the story. I was affected the first time I read this book, but even more the second time. It felt a part of me and it left me feeling like things sometimes had a way of figuring themselves on their own. If you haven’t read either if these books I highly recommend that you do.
15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2011
I was a little late to the game with this series. Despite everyones recommendation's, I didn't actually get around to reading "If I Stay" until a couple weeks ago! I don't know why I put it off for, but I'm so glad that I finally picked it up!!! It was great!
After reading the emotionally charged "If I Stay" I was afraid that the follow wouldn't be able to live up to the standards the first book set. My worries were for nothing. Adam's book, while completely different, was still just as emotionally charged and powerfully written.
This tortured, damaged Adam is a much different Adam from the light-hearted romantic that we met in "If I Stay", but I think I fell even more in love with him with each and every page. What is it about an emotional damaged bad-boy with a guitar?? Mia, having held him to his promise, has cut him from her life, but in doing so, it seems that it tore his heart out in the process. Adam is nothing but a shell, and getting through each day for him is a constant struggle.
I loved how as Mia and Adam reconnect the book would flash back to things that had happened over the last three years, or things that happened in the past when they were together. There shared history was always there in the conversations and it made the story very sweet and romantic.
As all the different peices of this story start to fall together, and you start to see them as a whole, you realize what a truly beautiful love story this book is. Mia's and Adam's past, present, and future all collide to make this such a wonderful read. I love Gayle Forman's writing, and I can't wait to read more by this author!
26 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Where She Went by Gayle Forman is a sequel to If I Stay. In the first novel Mia was in a coma after a huge car accident where she lost her parents and her brother. This novel takes place three years after the accident. Adam meets Mia after her recital and we are given background on Adam's life in the past year through flashbacks.
I'm going to start out with saying that the book was very well written. The characterizations were done well and it answered all the questions that readers might have as to what happened to Adam and Mia. However, I didn't like it and found it unnecessary. Mia and Adam have both gotten to the highest possible point in their musical careers which I found very unrealistic. As for the plot, it consisted of Mia and Adam walking through New York City and discussing their relationship with flashbacks interspersed throughout explaining Adam's breakdown and subsequent rise to fame. Readers who like character studies and who really want to know what happened to Mia and Adam will like this book however, it doesn't have the brilliance of If I Stay. It is rather like the last book in the Jessica Darling series in which the entire plot takes place as a discussion between two characters. I just needed more plot
Appropriateness: This book features characters that are over 18. Adam has substance abuse issues, depression and suicide is discussed. There are some illusions to sex but nothing blatant. The lexile of the first book was 830 putting it around a sixth grade level. I would recommend this series to teens 14+
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2012
And so begins the amazing sequel to Gayle Forman's powerful 2010 novel If I Stay. I am late to the game in reading both of these books, but I am also glad that I did not have to wait for what seems like an eternity, with my heart lodged in my throat, to read the sequel. Told from the POV of Adam, Mia's (ex) boyfriend, Where She Went is a riveting read, one I breezed through at a brisk pace. I am continually amazed at how Gayle Forman can pack so much punch into so few pages. That woman is the queen of using her words effectively and efficiently. Every thought, every word and every nuance is deliberate and meaningful. Forman's books are not ones that you can skim over. You might just miss the whole gist of the story if you do.
First off let's talk POV. I love to read a story from a male POV. And I absolutely adored that Forman wrote Where She Went in Adam's voice. If you have read my review of If I Stay (find it here) you will see that Adam is of course included, because I liked his romance with Mia. The scenes when he is with her in the hospital are especially beautiful. But I loved the passages dedicated to Mia and Kim's friendship, as well as those with Mia and her family, just as much. I guess what I am trying to say is, while I really liked Adam in If I Stay, I fell in love with Adam in Where She Went. Not only has he got the whole bad boy rocker vibe going (LOVE ) but he is a songwriter/ poet, which is another quality that makes my insides melt. I love Adam's cockiness, I love his sarcasm, and I love his big heart and beautiful soul.
And I can not emphasize enough how brilliant I think it was for Forman to write this book with Adam as the narrator because it not only shed new light on the accident Mia was in, but in the grieving period that followed as well. We can imagine what Mia had to endure, waking up from the coma to a life turned upside down, facing months of therapy and doing it without her beloved mother, father and brother. But what about Adam? How was it for Adam to experience those things, yet also try to remain supportive to Mia as she recovered? What about the loss Adam felt in regards to Mia's family, especially her little brother? Who helped Adam through that period of his life? These are just some of the issues touched on in Where She Went and the result is a memorable testimony of love, loss and grief.
Mia definitely plays a secondary role through much of this book. If you are wishing for a ton of one on one time between she and Adam you will have to wait a bit (not too long, the book is only 260 pages.) And there were a lot of instances of me wanting to shout at the characters, slap them around a bit á la Moonstruck ("Snap out of it!") and tell them to quit all the hedging and just talk it out for God's sake!! But that kind of anticipation is a good thing, albeit frustrating, and well worth it in the end.
Another thing I loved about Where She Went was the chapter layout. As in If I Stay, one chapter would center on the "now" while the next chapter would focus on the "then." Forman utilizes this technique beautifully. We get to witness the events rather than have them relayed back to us via the dreaded info dump device. Although I admit that I did find myself wishing to speed up the "then" chapters so I could get back to the "now" chapters and find out what was going to happen next.
As with If I Stay, music plays a central role in Where She Went. Adam is a bonifide rock star, living the rock and roll lifestyle, and I couldn't get enough of the chapters that featured this and the pitfalls that accompany it. It kind of felt like I was watching an episode of VH 1's Behind the Music and I LOVED it. Loved the smarmy tabloid reporters, loved the stressed out manager, loved the celebrity girlfriend, loved the portrayal of the legions of fans and groupies. I could read books upon books of that kind of stuff, it totally fascinates me. We are treated to glimpses of what it must feel like to be on a stage before thousands of screaming fans. We are there, living and breathing that moment:
At these venues, there are just so many people, and so much sound, that it's almost impossible to differentiate a specific voice. All I hear, aside from our own instruments now blaring out of the most powerful speakers available, is that wild scream from the crowd when we're backstage and the lights go down right before we go out. And once we're onstage, the constant shrieking of the crowd melds so it sounds like the furious howl of a hurricane; some nights I swear I can feel the breath of those fifteen thousand screams.
In addition Forman treats us to snippets of Adam's song lyrics at the headings of the "now" chapters, and they added even more layers to the story.
Needle and thread, flesh and bone
Spit and sinew, heartbreak is home
Your suture lines sparkle like diamonds
Bright stars to light my confinement
First you inspect me
Then you dissect me
Then you reject me
I wait for the day
That you'll resurrect me
And oh my gosh, I can't get into specifics, but trust me when I say you are in for a treat when you reach the end of the book. Don't forget to read the pages that follow the acknowledgments...
As with many of my favorite books, I love the details. I loved the scenes that took place at the bowling alley, at the Brooklyn Bridge, in the diner. And I loved Adam's scene with the ipod toting jogger. All little pieces that connect together to round out the whole and turn a good story into a great story.
The ending was PERFECT. Some may disagree but I loved it and wouldn't have been satisfied with any other outcome.
And did I mention that Where She Went can fall into the New Adult category in addition to the Young Adult category? I LOVE seeing books that deal with the period of life that is post high school but pre marriage and family. It's been pretty under appreciated until recently but I think it may finally be starting to gain some momentum!
So to sum everything up, I absolutely loved Where She Went in large part due to the narrative being told by Adam instead of Mia. I thought If I Stay was awesome, but I have to say that I loved Where She Went even more. Gayle Forman's talent blows me away and I cannot wait to check out her upcoming novel Just One More Day slated for release in 2013!
4.5/ 5 Stars
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 7, 2011
When "Where She Went" was announced, I was a bit surprised because I felt that "If I Stay" ended perfectly. But when I found out that this time the story would be told through Adam's point of view, I was curious as to where the story would go.
In "If I Stay", Mia's life is forever changed when a car crash claims the lives of her parents and younger brother, Teddy - leaving her clinging to life. She must make the decision as to whether she wants to leave or stay. Adam makes a plea for her to stay ("If you stay, I'll do whatever you want. I'll quit the band; go with you to New York. But if you need me to go away, I'll do that too. .. And that would suck, but I'll do it. I can lose you like that, if I don't lose you today. I'll let you go. If you stay.") and the story ends with Mia waking up.
"Where She Went" is just as emotional as "If I Stay", and its just as beautifully written.
The story is told from Adam's point of view, the pain he experienced after everything that happened. We get to read about what happened when Mia woke up and we get to see where their lives are now (Adam, Mia, & Kim)- three years later. Avoiding spoilers as much as possible, I'll just say this: I could not put the book down, sneaking in whatever reading I could during work. It's an absolute must read and will no doubt be one of my top ten books from 2011.
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2011
This review will hint at huge spoilers, so if you don't want to have an idea of the plot/ending, don't read.
Though this book was as well written as "If I Stay" it lacked so much of what made the first book great.
If i Stay had such a unique and heart wrenching perspective. A girl in a coma, deciding whether life is worth living after such a traumatic car accident...it was full of inspiration and possibility. Where She Went was the opposite. If you take away the first novel, this is simply a book about two high school sweethearts who re-meet a few years later, but are considerably more famous. No real room for originality, you know? I felt Mia's character was...well, I didn't feel her character. I felt like this girl I had come to know so well through the first novel was now so far away (as far away as she felt about Adam, I suppose...) And she was cruel to Adam, in a way I can't imagine. The ending, as others have stated, was too easy. The whole book revolved around the motive behind Mia's behavior after leaving for Julliard, and we are left with a rather complicated reason, and without much in the way of apologies.
This book seemed to be a confirmation of what could already be inferred at the end of the first book. Mia lived, and she lived because of the love and passion she felt from Adam. Would she be forever changed after the horrific accident? Yes. Would their relationship become even more strained, possibly falling apart in the process? Yes. Would their passionate love for one another triumph? Yes. I felt all of these things were implied then, and so everything in this book was rather expected. The only thing I didn't expect, as I said earlier, was exactly how cruel Mia was to Adam. I'm sure a lot of people with disagree with my harsh criticism of Mia, but I just don't find her behavior believable when comparing it to the unwavering love she felt for Adam in the first book, and even in snippets of this one. It is this lack of believability that was the hardest pill to swallow.
This was still well written, though. It lacked originality and purpose, but it was *still good*. The memories Adam had of a time before the accident were some of my favorite parts. Perhaps a prequel would be a good idea? It made me miss Teddy and Kat and Denny so much, and it made me miss Mia. I empathized with Adam incredibly, and was glad I got to know him as personally as I did Mia in If I Stay. And while I cried a bunch in If I Stay, I did cry once in Where She Went. And no, it wasn't when Adam was broken hearted or when reading his spectacularly wonderful and angsty lyrics (very good stuff on the part of the author), but when Mia said he was a gift from her parents, just like her first cello. THAT got me. THOSE lines were the ones that made me remember exactly how damn good If I Stay was, and by comparison, how ordinary Where She Went is.
I look forward to more work by this author, because she has a real knack for tuning into human emotion and loss. I just feel that she missed the mark on this sequel, which I have been looking forward to for months.