Book Reviews

Review: “Where She Went,” Gayle Forman

May 19, 2011

I received this book for free from Random House Australia in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: “Where She Went,” Gayle FormanWhere She Wentby Gayle Forman
Series: If I Stay #2
Published by DoubleDay on May, 2011
Genres: Contemporary, Loss & Grief, Romance
Pages: 256
Source: Random House Australia

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.

Though I adored If I Stay, this book absolutely floored me in ways the other one didn’t. I’m not sure what it was – the change in perspective, the raw emotion or just the events of a great story – but Where She Went had me reading the whole story in one hit.

The first book, If I Stay, is told from Mia’s perspective and focuses on the event which changed her life forever. This one is told by Adam – the boy who ‘brought her back’ from the brink in the first novel – three years later, now that he’s tabloid fodder and a chart-climbing rockstar. I don’t like to ‘rehash’ the plotlines in my reviews, but I think this one is important because the ‘past’ of these characters pretty much drives this book. Where they are now, and who they are, defines every step and heartbeat and it’s been a while since a book has felt so ‘real’ to me.

I have a handful of favourite scenes in Where She Went, but the one shining one that comes to mind is the scene where Adam borrows a strangers ipod and rekindles his love for music with ‘Chicago’ by Sufjan Stevens. Being a fan of the song originally I could practically taste the emotional charge in this moment and it just hit me with such a force. I rarely get choked up while reading but it’s safe to say Where She Went had me on the verge of emotional breakdown of my own in quite a few places.

Along with bouncing off the events of If I Stay, this book also creates a new world for readers. It got me thinking a lot about the life of real life rock-stars and celebrities and also the classical music scene. It’s not something I really explored before (the classical scene, that is)

The book reads a lot like it’s predecessor; in the ways it flickers through the past and present, dredging up memories and specific moments. It’s a book about reflection as well as healing, about the characters and their interactions with one another as they try and deal with the monumentous things that have happened to them. I don’t think I gave If I Stay a full 5 star review (I think I gave it a 4?) but with Where She Went, I had no hesitation.

Recommended to: Fans of the first book will really enjoy it – as well as readers of the contemporary genre. It’s a breath of fresh air after paranormal reads and will definitely have you reading it in a single sitting.

About Gayle Forman

Gayle Forman is an American writer for young adults who currently resides in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and daughter. Forman began her career writing for Seventeen Magazine in which most of her articles focused on young people and social concerns.


  • Reply IvaliceAlliance May 19, 2011 at 11:05 am

    This book is AMAZING! I love your review and I’m glad you enjoyed this as much as I did.

  • Reply Sas (Tea Mouse) May 19, 2011 at 9:15 am

    I skimmed most of the review for fear of spoilers, but I’m sure it was awesome in your ususal style. :)

    Strangely, I picked this one up earlier this year and got a few chapters in. I was quite enjoying it, but for some reason put it down and never picked it back up again. Hmm… I shall need to fix this issue soon!!

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