Sunday, March 13, 2011

Where She Went by Gayle Forman: ARC Review

*Warning: if you haven't read If I Stay yet, you might want to skip reading this review*

Of all the books to come out in 2011, Where She Went is probably the one I have been coveting the most.  I vividly remember sitting in my bed three years ago, reading If I Stay with a box of tissues, and a major headache from all the crying I did, yet loving every minute of Gayle Forman's masterful story-telling and characterization.  I can't even tell you how real these characters seem to me.  So real in fact that I finished this book before bed last night and proceeded to have a dream about Adam.

Oh Adam, your angsty, rock-star persona would be the type of fodder tabloids and TMZ thrive on in real life.  If you were a real rock star, I'd probably think you were an entitled, whiny jerk.  I'd dismiss you as a selfish bastard with too much money and not enough sincerity for your fans and bandmates.

In fact, that's how I felt about him at the beginning of this story.  Having experienced the first book from Mia's point of view, Adam is now the narrator in this second installment as we learn about what has happened in the lives of Mia and Adam since she chose to live.  His rock star mentality is quite off-putting at first: elusive, entitled, and unable to deal with the realities of life without some sort of chemical aid to get him by. However, as Adam continues to narrate the story his voice sounds less whiny and angsty, and more filled with pain at the knowledge of Mia leaving him without so much as an explanation.

So when a chance encounter in New York City brings Mia and Adam back together for one night, we are all dying to know, along with Adam, why Mia chose to stay, and then proceeded to leave the very person who stood by her side through the horrible tragedy of losing her family, and also the long road to recovery that she had to endure when she awakened from her coma. 

In the beginning, I feared that these two characters that I so adored in the first book had become unlikable and difficult to empathize with in this sequel.  But as the book continued and the layers of guilt and pain finally began to reveal themselves, I realized that both of them just did a really bad job of communicating that pain.  This night in NYC together was a way for them to finally come to terms with what really happened and what they were really feeling as a result.

I would love to say more but I don't want to give too much away.  There is nowhere near the same level of emotion in this book as the first book, but that doesn't mean you won't be needing the tissue box at hand.  Rather than an entire book of Kleenex-driven moments like the first book, however, there is really only one scene in this book that will leave you teary-eyed and it is probably the best scene in the whole book .

And, as usual, when the book ended, I was left mourning the loss of Mia and Adam once again.  I didn't want the book to end because when it did, that meant I had to leave their world and return to my own.  I want and crave for them to be real because I have invested so much emotional memory to their story.  Ms. Forman, I don't know how it would be possible to continue their story, but I think fans for your books would be more than willing to see this turn into a trilogy.  What do you say? 

Check out Gayle Forman's tour of some of the places Mia and Adam visit in the book:

And here is the book trailer:

Where She Went by Gayle Forman
Publish Date: April 5, 2011 by Dutton
Pages: 262
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Audience: YA

*Thank you to Audrey at Holes in My Brain for providing me with a copy of the ARC!


  1. hey! new GFC follower! love the blog and i'm lookin forward to reading more! need to read this series!

    follow me?!

  2. loovely review Beth :) I'm so glad you enjoyed it, I definitely agree with the emotional comparison between the first two books. And I'm pretty sure I know what scene you're talking about because I know there was that ONE where I was just near-bawling :p
    Also, I would not say not to reading about Adam and Mia and the rest of their lives! xD