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[Book Review] - Where She Went by Gayle Forman

   Author: Gayle Forman
   Series: #2.0 - If I Stay
   Format: Hardcover
   Release Date: April 5th, 2011
   My Rating: 5.0 out of 5.0

     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.

My Review:

     This book deserves a lot more than what it gets credit for, and I'll say this Gayle Forman has done it again. If I Stay is a two book series at the moment, that both books are so raw, emotional, and even inspiring. These books live up to Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver and I'm not sure as a combined pair which one I would prefer to re-read first (between Before I Fall and the If I Stay series). Both are fantastically done, but what differs is the type of emotion Gayle taps into in her series.

     The book burns with greif, abandonment issues, and even a life Adam doesn't want to be living. The raw depression he sinks into time and time again when he remembers Mia and the what happened after her stay at the hospital. With the book taking three years after the accident that left Mia without a immediate family and leaving Adam, the book focuses on Adam's unresolved issues and what he needs to move on and become whole again.

     How the two connect in this book, I thought it would be more of a happen chance that "music" seems to bring them together and a fire starts. However apparently Gayle thought that would be too easy and thus Where She Went was born. The two do meet when Adam is left in New York, because he won't board a play on Friday the thirteenth and he finds a concert hall where Mia is playing. He listens to her, and things pick up from there.

     Mia and Adam for the single day they learn a lot more than what they probably intended about how each of them have changed. How Mia has moved on past her parents and family's deaths, and is making a life for herself in the music world. I figured through some of her speak and the context of some of the words that even if she does enjoy the music and in the moments she's playing can see and feel her family again, there is something about all of it that bothers her.

     However, the biggest issue is Adam. This story of how he feels completely left out of the grieving process. He was close to Mia's family as well, but wasn't expected or allowed to grieve or feel bad for what happened to Mia at all. Then when Mia left, there was a void, something inside him that I believe exploded. When he finally lashed out there was a sudden success in the band Shooting Stars fame and popularity through the songs that Adam wrote.

     There were times when reading this book, and reading some of the excerpts of the lyrics from the songs (which were fantastic), that I wished they were real songs. Maybe they are and I'm not looking hard enough, but to me that would be something out of this world and give me a better insight to what was trying to be conveyed, the tone, the personality behind all the lyrics. With the lyrics though, you can tell the pain Adam is in, the sort of loss and emptiness he feels.

     The ending, I won't give it away, was breathtaking. I thought I knew how it was going to end, and when my thought fluttered across the pages with more to go, I was a little bit beside myself. It wasn't a bad ending, it wasn't that it was predictable, it was something that was just so well done that it guided me through the plot and when I thought I understood what was coming there was still something I didn't look or forsee to be told.

     Gayle Forman is a fantastic author and I hope the very best for her, and any other books that she puts out. I can't wait to see future books done by her, and I highly highly recommend her to any one who wants to get into a seriously deep emotional book. 
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+ comments + 2 comments

September 12, 2012 at 10:59 PM

I read If I Stay, and I was so irritated at Mia's leaving Adam that I didn't really bother to get the second book. After reading your review, I think I should give it a try! c:

September 13, 2012 at 2:26 PM

Trust me, you won't regret it. Yeah, I was a bit on the edge for the same reason, but when the book is done it has a fantastic ending. I wouldn't think twice about it.

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