May 18, 2011

Book Review: Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Where She Went
WARNING: This Review might contain spoilers about If I Stay

At First Sight: Three years after the accident that killed his girlfriend's parents, Adam Wilde is still confused about everything that happened afterward, about the things that are still happening to him. 

By now, he's a rock star, his band has made it huge and he's about to leave on a world tour to promote their third album. In theory, he has everything a guy could ever want: success, fame, music and a hot girlfriend; but he doesn't have the things he most wants: peace, quiet, answers. 

Somehow, in the last few years, he stopped loving music as he used to, stopped hanging out with the band, and Mia stopped talking to him without warning or explanation.

But now, the day before he leaves New York, she runs into Mia, who has been living there these past years; and she talks to him, and somehow they end up touring Mia's favorite spots in the the city, as Adam tries to find those elusive answers.

Second Glance: Where She Went is the sequel to If I Stay, and it also takes place over a few hours as the first book did, only that this time we see things from Adam's perspective. 

I raced through this book, I started reading it at around 11 PM and I didn't stop until I finished at around 3 AM. The story just took hold of me and didn't let me go until everything was said and done. Now, things are different, so so different from what they were in If I Stay. Adam is a mess and he knows he is a mess, he knows he is loosing it, but he doesn't know how to stop it. Mia is a rising star in the classical music world, but they haven't spoken since she started at Julliard and there are so many things just standing between them. 

At the beginning, I didn't like Mia all that much, she was somewhere between bitch and ice queen, and seeing things from Adam's POV,  he was angry and hurting and I was angry at Mia too, a bit. But as the book progresses and she starts to show and tell what was going on, why things happened the way they did, I warmed up to her again. She isn't the Mia from If I Stay, but honestly it wouldn't have made sense if she was.

I did feel like the book didn't flow as smooth as If I Stay, the flashbacks and the backs and forths sometimes didn't seem to flow that well this time around, but maybe that's just me. However, I do give props to Ms Forman because she doesn't go for the obvious: in If I Stay, the accident was just that an accident - not a drunk or reckless driver, just an accident; and in Where She Went, it would have been so easy for her to make us hate Adam's current girlfriend Bryn, but she's not a bad person and she was, in her own way, sort of good for Adam. 

Bottom Line: I really enjoyed this book, particularly toward the end. It made me tear up and cry a few times, and Adam was a great narrator - and it's rare for me to find boy-narrators engaging - and his story is heartbreaking but ends up in the place I think it's best for a story to end: hope.

Favorite Quote: There were many quotes I loved but they were all too spoilery, so I'm putting this one.

"This whole night has been a mistake. It's not going to let me rewind. Or unmake the mistakes I've made. Or the promises I've made. Or have her back. Or have me back" - Adam
starstarstarstar3/4Personal Favorite

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