Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Where She WentWhere She Went by Gayle Forman
Published by Dutton Children’s, an imprint of Penguin
Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley

Three years ago, after the devastating accident that killed Mia’s entire family and nearly killed Mia herself, Mia walked out of her then-boyfriend Adam’s life forever. Now Mia is Julliard’s star cellist and Adam is living in LA, having found fame as a rock star and by dating his celebrity girlfriend. After Adam plays a show in New York City, his travel plans fall through and he is stuck there for the night, so naturally he goes to see one of Mia’s cello concerts. Although it’s been years since they’ve seen one another, instantly their connection comes back to life and it only takes one night for the two of them to begin remembering fondly how real their love was, and see potential for it to be once again.

I was impressed with If I Stay [my review] so when I discovered there was a sequel, it was a no-brainer that I would read it as soon as possible. It was interesting to me that Where She Went was told from Adam’s point of view, and since the reader doesn’t learn too much about Adam in If I Stay, that concerned me a bit. I was worried that I wouldn’t like it or wouldn’t connect to the story – I wanted to hear from Mia, darn it! But I shouldn’t have worried – in Forman’s expert hands this book was done perfectly. I’d even go so far as to say I liked it better than the first one.

Where She Went is much different from its predecessor, so please don’t expect another book exactly like If I Stay. Instead, this book is much more plot-driven, the reader learns much more about Mia and Adam’s relationship, and by the end I personally felt that I had really and truly gotten to know both of these characters. It just felt more… concrete, I guess you could say. The first book was more dream-like, whereas this one had a solid beginning, middle, and end. What I liked most was that there was a clear conclusion to things – it made me feel like these characters were at the best place they could be and I was allowed to be happy for them. I was allowed to put them away in my mind. In the first book, the end left me with tons of questions (and at the time I didn’t know she was going to write a sequel), but in this book I feel like most of those questions have been answered and I closed the book feeling more at peace with Mia and Adam’s situation.

I know I said I was worried about Adam telling me this story instead of Mia, but I really shouldn’t have been. Adam was the perfect person to tell this story and I loved hearing from him. It’s not often that a YA book with a romance involved is told from the male perspective and it was refreshing for sure. And in this case, it really worked – Adam’s pain at losing Mia was palpable, even when he couldn’t acknowledge his feelings they were clear as day to the reader. Forman perfectly captured the way boys have a tendency to squash their feelings, to bury them in something else (in Adam’s case, that something else would be his music, and the issues he created with his band and his girlfriend). It was also interesting to read about Adam’s view of Mia, given the fact that I felt that I knew her so well from reading the first book. A great technique overall and I’m very glad Forman chose to tell this story from Adam’s point of view.

Where She Went really and truly worked for me. It’s a very rare thing when I can enjoy a sequel to a novel better than its predecessor, but in this case I must say that I did. While I enjoyed If I Stay, it would have been an incomplete book without Where She Went coming after. I would definitely recommend reading both of these novels.


13 thoughts on “Where She Went by Gayle Forman”

  1. Jill @ Rhapsody of Books told me I MUST read these two books. I got this one at SIBA, but I need to get my hands on the first one. The bonus is I think my daughter would like them too, if reading mom’s books isn’t too dorky.

    1. Yes I do think you need to read them. They are a good set of books for both teens too so I think you are right in thinking that your daughter would like them. But you absolutely must read them in order!

  2. I have heard so many people say that this second books was so much better than the first, but I still do want to read them both. I also like that the second book was narrated by a male, and told the story of a relationship in his words and thoughts. It’s rare to see that in the books I read. Great review, Heather! I am glad that you enjoyed this one so much, and I am going to have to pick it up when I can.

    1. Definitely read both of the books. It’s not that the second book was SO MUCH better than the first, they were both good, but the second book felt a little more complete for me. I don’t love the feeling of having loose ends at the completion of a book, and it was that way in the first one. But the second one was perfect in that way. 🙂

  3. I’ve been seeing a lot of reviews saying that this was better than the first one. I’m so excited about that because it’s waiting for me on hold at the library!

  4. You described this perfectly. I agree the first book was more dreamlike whereas this was concrete. I liked this one better too!

  5. I liked the first one a lot but planned on skipping this one. Until I keep reading all of these wonderful reviews of it. I might have to break down and read it!

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