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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Paperback Review: Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Release Date: April 17, 2012
Publisher: Speak
Age Group: Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Pages: 288
Buy: Amazon / Book Depository / IndieBound
Description: 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.

WARNING: Contains spoilers for If I Stay

I will start this review with the first note I wrote to myself immediately upon finishing Where She Went: This is some serious shizz.

(FYI, I didn’t say shizz in my note.)

Adam and Mia’s relationship was never a “normal” teenage romance, but to find out just what happened after Mia decided to stay is heart-wrenching.  Three years later, we find ourselves in New York with rock star Adam and his enormously famous band Shooting Star.  He’s living his life On The Verge- he might topple over, he might resurrect himself, but he’s definitely walking a thin line between sanity and the pit of despair.  On a free day in Manhattan, he serendipitously discovers that Mia is performing at Carnegie Hall.  This leads to the one night reunion of Mia and Adam, where all the good, the bad, and the horrifyingly ugly over the last three years will be exposed into the night.  And it will break your heart.

Where She Went is the sequel that If I Stay deserved, more than any book has ever deserved a sequel.  Funny thing is, it never occurred to me that If I Stay needed a sequel.  Though it ends on a somewhat unresolved note, it is still one of the best and most satisfying books I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

And it’s this, the fact that If I Stay didn’t necessarily need a resolved ending, that makes Where She Went even more spectacular.  The other spectacular thing?  Adam.  Unlike last time, we get Adam’s point of view and… oh my goodness.  The boy is struggling to make it through, not simply one day, but one hour, one minute, almost one second at a time.  Sure, it’s partially a crazy train of his own design, but that Crazy Town Train is chugging along, and he’s fallen so deep that he doesn’t think he can pull himself out of it (and honestly, if you’re taking the train to Crazy Town, you might as well take the Express).

And then Mia returns.  They have their “farewell” tour of the city, seeing Mia’s favorite sights and slowly remembering what it’s like to know each other and baring their souls bit by bit until nothing is left but the bones of what might have been.  It’s epic and hard and amazingly written.  Gayle Foreman is a word rock star.  She creates her own music with her incredible prose.

Just like in If I Stay, I adore the way Foreman weaves music into the story so effortlessly.  It is obvious that music has always been an integral part of not only Mia and Adam as individuals but also as a couple, so I love that the importance is still so clear.  The flashback scenes are also used in just the right way, recalling happier times when Mia’s family was together, alive and well.   It’s bittersweet to the point of bursting.

Obviously, I adored every word of this.  There is no story quite like Adam and Mia’s.  I encourage you to take the journey with them, from beginning to end.

1 comment:

  1. I still haven't read it :( I agree with what you said-I was surprised that there was a sequel, I thought the ending of If I Stay was satisfactory. If I Stay makes me cry whenever I read it, I can only imagine what Where She Went will feel like :)