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Where She Went Audio CD – Audiobook, April 5, 2011
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|Audio CD, Audiobook, April 5, 2011||
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Amazon Best Books of the Month, April 2011: In the three years since the tragic accident Mia barely survived in If I Stay, she and high school ex-boyfriend Adam have lived separate lives on opposite coasts. But then Adam, now the dissatisfied front man of popular LA-based band Collateral Damage, stops over in New York City for one night before kicking off the European leg of his tour. It happens to be the same evening that Mia, now well on her way to becoming a renowned cellist, is performing at Carnegie Hall. Adam buys a ticket, planning to slip in and out, but Mia spots him and for the first time in years they’re face-to-face with each other and their shared past. Over the course of one evening, as Adam and Mia traverse the city’s streets, they relive the four days Mia spent in the intensive care unit as well as her departure to Juilliard and from the life she knew. Emotionally raw and incredibly moving, Gayle Forman again showcases her considerable talent for drawing complex characters who face impossible decisions and then bear the consequences. Equally as compelling as If I Stay, Where She Went is powerful, heartbreaking, and everything fans of Mia, Adam, and Forman could hope for. --Jessica Schein
Lauren Oliver is the author of Delirium and Before I Fall. A graduate of the University of Chicago and the MFA program at New York University, Lauren is a full-time writer and lives in Brooklyn, New York. Recently she sat down with Gayle Forman to discuss their work. Read the resulting interview below, or turn the tables to see what happened when Gayle interviewed Lauren.
From Lauren Oliver: I’ve had a writer’s crush on Gayle Forman ever since I read an early copy of If I Stay. It’s a shattering and ultimately life-affirming book, and I was completely transported by the lyricism of Gayle’s prose. Like the music it often references, her writing seems to float gracefully over and around its themes of life and choice and love—always love. We’ve been trying to grab coffee in our neighborhood for over a year (and have even run into each other on the street outside the local grocery store). Finally, on the eve of the publication of Where She Went (April 5, 2011), the gorgeous follow-up to If I Stay, we found time to grab lunch and gab.
Lauren: Had you always intended to write a sequel to If I Stay?
Gayle: No. I had no intention of writing a sequel, in fact. But in the way that characters sometimes behave, Adam and Mia had different ideas. I’d started on a totally different book, actually, but they kept banging on the drum in my head. And I felt I had left them in a difficult place. At the end of If I Stay, I knew they both they had a rough couple of years ahead of them.
Lauren: How hard was it to switch POV and enter Adam’s mind? To write from a boy’s perspective?
Gayle: It wasn’t very hard, actually. I knew the characters so well. I knew him so well. It was actually strange to know a character so well without actually having seen through his eyes. But in some ways, I could understand Adam even more than I could understand Mia when I started writing her. Mia was so different from me. One thing that was hard: Adam was so angry at Mia, and so I was angry at Mia, and that was disconcerting.
Lauren: Is there transference of emotions when you write? Do you feel you become your characters in some way?
Gayle: Totally. I let my sister read a draft of Where She Went and she said, “I forgive you for being such a brat.” Because I’d been totally channeling that anger. If I Stay actually was kind of a beautiful place to be, because Mia was surrounded by so much love. Where She Went was a lot harder, even though nobody dies.
Lauren: So Mia is quite different from you, then?
Gayle: Completely. When I first started writing her, and even though she inhabited me, I was like, where are you coming from? I feel like when I talk, I sound like a teenage valley girl. She seems so wise to me, like such an old soul. I certainly can see elements of me, but she definitely feels quite different and other. But I loved her and felt very protective of her and I knew her very well.
Lauren: How did you know that so much time would have to elapse between books?
Gayle: I just knew that it had to be several years later. The same that I knew that it couldn’t be from Mia’s perspective. If we were in Mia’s head again it would be another exploration of her grief. And it had to be several years later for Adam and Mia to be ready for change.
Lauren: What’s your writing process?
Gayle: My process is sort of similar to yours. I don’t start by writing the ending of the books, but I know what the ending will be. Although with If I Stay, I didn’t know what Mia’s choice would be, though I knew the book would end by her choosing.
I totally get ideas in the shower too! I’m a firm believer that the muse visits when you are working—sitting at the computer—but the moments when things have clicked have so often been in the shower. And then I’ll be sitting at my computer in a towel, and my apartment is freezing. We don’t have one of those hot New York apartments. I should really invest in a bathrobe.
Lauren: But you don’t outline?
Gayle: I do not outline. I love exploring the twists and turns to get me to that ending, the unexpected places.
Lauren: I really love what you said about the muse visiting when you are working. So you’re pretty much always working on a book?
Gayle: Yes. Momentum breeds momentum and inertia breeds inertia. Even if something’s not working, I’ll keep working, just to have something to work on, if that makes sense. And sometimes one failed project leads to another project that works. But you can’t get to 60 mph from a full stop. It never happens that something springs to life from nothing.
Lauren: Music is so important in both If I Stay and Where She Went. So it begs the question: do you listen to music when you write?
Gayle: When I wrote If I Stay, I listened to music the whole time…There was this one song, Falling Slowly, which I listened to every time I began writing. It was a Pavlovian thing. I’d listen to it, it would make me cry, and then I would start working. I wrote Where She Went in dead silence until about 3/4 of the way through. The switch coincided with a point at which Adam stops being estranged from music. He borrows an ipod and after that moment, I started listening to music again while I was writing.
Lauren: What are the themes that interest you as a writer?
Gayle: Love, I think, in all of its dimensions. The cost of unconditional love…what happens in the absence of love. Love is what we all live and breathe for.
Lauren: What was the proportion of fiction versus real life in If I Stay? What about Where She Went? I know that If I Stay was actually based off a real-life event.
Gayle: In If I Stay some of the characters were based on people I knew and the premise was based on a real-life event. Where She Went passed fully into the realm of fiction. There’s a certain transcendence in the aftermath of tragedy…you find something deeper in yourself. But eventually all that passes, and you have to simply get on with it. That was the germ of reality in Where She Went. The gritty reality of grieving and getting on with life.
Lauren: What’s the best and worst part about publishing a follow-up novel to a super successful book?
Gayle: I worry about letting people down, of course. But mostly, I put the pressure on myself. I want every book to be better than the one before.
Lauren: What about the best?
Gayle: I’m just so glad that we write YA because we have such a broad and vocal readership.
"[A] gorgeous portrayal of rejection and rekindled love." - USA Today "Forman follows up her bestselling "If I Stay" with a story that is equally if not more powerful . . . " - Publishers Weekly, starred review --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
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Top customer reviews
Anyway, let's discuss the actual book shall we. If I Stay had me mesmerized from the first few lines. I knew I was going to love this book, but honestly I wasn't sure how much was in the movie and how much had been changed. I enjoyed the movie, but honestly I loved the book so much more. The characters and how they dealt with everything is better described throughout the book and it made them more real to me then they were in the movie.
Where She Went is told from the point of view of Adam and begins a few years after If I Stay ends. Mia and Adam have gone in totally different directions, living totally different and totally separate lives. From the very beginning of the novel, it is clear that Adam hasn't moved on very well. His personal and professional lives are suffering and he can't seem to get it together. Even his band mates, once his best friends, have been alienated by him and he doesn't know what to do to change anything. He is alone and lonely and suffering.
This is a story about the effect that grief has on people. Mia lost her family, a family that meant almost as much to Adam. And he lost Mia for reasons he doesn't truly know. In a way, watching Adam go through the things he did was even more heart breaking than Mia's pain in the first novel. Watching his transformation, and Mia's, throughout the book was emotional and beautiful. Like the first, it was Adam who owned my heart as a character. I just wanted things to change for him, for him to find happiness.
My Recommendation: This isn't always an easy read, but it is a beautiful one. It tells the story of two people torn apart by the worst of experiences. In my opinion, the aftermath of grief shown in this book was as important to the story as the initial tragedy itself.
This is a beautiful story - told from Adam's POV. However the story begins after a period of time - I think 3 years has traversed. Ut I stand to be corrected. Adam has/was supportive of Mia. This is Adam's story and here we find a confused, hurt and very vulnerable young man trying to traverse the pressures of fame and the media attention. Thankfully even at Adam's weakest moments Mia finds her way back to Adam, magically seeing that he has attended her concert in New York. This happens to be three years down the track. A period of long separation that has left Adam floundering and trying to find himself and his reason for being. This is deeply saddening because as you travel through their travels going forward I felt that Mia deserted Adam. However the reasons for this are for you, the reader to find out, I do not wish to be a spoiler here. However, what I will say is that I was more camp Adam than Mia at this point in the story, Read their epic discovery, the feelings they hold deep down will make you cry, so be warned.
I hope you have read the first book because this had me in tears for most of the duration of Mia's story but I am going to say Adam's version was, for me by far the better read. I was invested in his version because he truly loved Mia. I didn't like her accusations in the least. - Adam was supportive at the very least! Enjoy cos it is an emotional roller coaster ride with an epic ending. If there was a movie then I would have elected to see Adam's version first because you will see and hear her extremely unfair accusation. I am more camp Adam!
Gayle Forman has written 2 beautiful stories about two people, their love of music and the tragedy that changed everything for both Mia and Adam. Mia's story is painful but truly beautiful however sorry for me Adam rocked the whole way in his version of events.
“Love, it never dies. It never goes away, it never fades, so long as you hang on to it. Love can make you immortal.”
Ok well let me start off with how I felt before I read this book. I had heard so much about this book and it was recommended to me and I was really eager to start. The only problem was I put it up there at the top of my reading list but once I started, it wasn’t what I was expecting. I didn’t like the book as a whole and I don’t know what it was (probably the writing style) but it had some good parts to it. I liked how I could connect to some things the character said and how the memories would play throughout the book. I liked that Adam and Mia had a complicated relationship. This made the book seem real because in other books you see how all the couples have such a perfect relationship with just one problem and that is unreal while Mia and Adam started off with an uncomfortable start to their relationship. I found this endearing, as well as how they would feel towards one another, their doubts, their differences, and how their relationship developed through time. Even through all that they still fell in love with each other. That’s why I found it really sweet that Adam tried everything he could to get in to see Mia at the hospital. It was quite sad that she saw the accident and her family dead right in front of her eyes. Overall, it was an okay book but I think that in this case (which for me is almost never) the movie will be better that the book.