Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Series: If I Stay #2Rating: 5/5
Date of Publishing: April 5th 2011Genre: contemporary, YA, romance, drama, music
Publisher: SpeakAvailable: Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Number of pages: 297Author’s website: http://www.gayleforman.com/


Quote of the Book

“Quitting’s not hard. Deciding to quit is hard. Once you make that mental leap, the rest is easy.”



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 Julliard’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.


Personal notes

I used to read a lot of YA back in the day, but not anymore. I made an exception, because I needed comfort read, and this one is I think my most favorite YA book still. I absolutely didn’t mind reading it for the third or fourth time.


Song of the Book

Okay, so Nothing More kind of reminds me of Shooting Star. Which is funny, because when I first read this book Nothing More wasn’t in the picture. Maybe Skillet might be a better choice, they have a female drummer anyway just like Shooting Star. But while writing this review, Just Say When started to play in my head and it’s such a perfect song for this book.



Before I get to the point, I have to note that even though it’s a sequel, it can be read as a stand alone too. The characters are reflecting back to past events, so you probably won’t be all lost. But, obviously, to add emotional background it’s better if you read If I Stay first.

Years ago, when I still went to the library, I stumbled upon a book titled If I Stay (well, it had a Hungarian title of course). I think I was waiting for a book I had to request for my studies which wasn’t on the public shelves, and at the time the YA books were right beside the waiting area. I was browsing the shelves and this book popped out to me. I took it home and I remember devouring it probably in a day. It was a tragic story about music, love, loss. When I started to read in English, I discovered it had a sequel. If I liked If I Stay, then I totally fell in love with Where She Went.

We are three years after the events in If I Stay. Mia and Adam have their separate life, both having success in their musical careers. Adam had become a world-famous rock star with Shooting Star, selling thousands of albums, winning awards, touring and having a famous actress as her girlfriend. But under the shiny surface he is suffering. What once was a joy becomes a burden for him. He has to spend a night on his own in New York before the European leg of a giant tour becomes and the past he desperately tries to forget comes banging on his door. Giving him one last chance to right every wrong and get his own closure.

Mia aced her classes at Julliard and about to go on a tour herself after her solo recital at Carnegie Hall. After the tragedies she had a hard time dealing with her grief and her teachers were soft on her, except one. An old Russian teacher of her pushed her harder than anyone else and under his and other mentors’ hands she had become a cellist she was destined to be. On the dawn of her success the last person she expects to run into is Adam Wilde. The world-famous rock star who once meant the world to her.

Mia and Adam go on a tour of New York and their past, tearing open old scars, bringing out feelings buried deep down for too long, looking for a closure. While If I Stay was written from the POV of Mia, in Where She Went we see the events with Adam’s eyes. The carefree, happy, devoted guy we got to know is replaced by someone cynical, unhappy, haunted someone who completely lost himself and can’t find the way out. This book is as much about the present  than the past, Mia and his journey together and his own self discovery. After a long time he can finally get the answers he equally needed and dreaded, face his problems and learn to let go. As they say goodbye to New York Adam does the same to himself.

“Standing here, in this quiet house where I can hear the birds chirping out back, I think I’m kind of getting the concept of closure. It’s no big dramatic before-after. It’s more like that melancholy feeling you get at the end of a really good vacation. Something special is ending, and you’re sad, but you can’t be that sad because, hey, it was good while it lasted, and there’ll be other vacations, other good times.”

Why I like this book so much is because a) I always liked Adam; b) I’m a sucker for musicians and books which feature music, especially if it shows the dark side of the music industry too; c) the raw feelings Adam has, his transformation through the book and they way Forman handles these matters. She can keep the balance between drama and lighter moments, and not turning her books into a long sappy romantic dramedy. And although her writing has a lighter tone, she addresses dead serious topics like grief, depression, loss, self discovery, dealing with problems long repressed.

Even though I veered away from YA books in recent years, I don’t mind picking up Gayle Forman’s books every once in a while. Especially Where She Went, a heartwrenching, emotional read which will make you curse and smile and cry. A fast and sweet read for cold winter days.