Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Genre: Young Adult - contemporary
Rating: 5 stars

Review: Where She Went is a great follow-up to If I Stay - a novel that I liked and enjoyed as well. But this time, it is told through Adam's point of view. And I don't really know what else to say about this book except that it was great. In fact, I feel like I loved this even more than its predecessor for some reason.

Gayle Forman was able to deliver this sequel simply yet beautifully. The writing flowed effortlessly, and didn't seem contrived in any way. And her characters, Adam and Mia, are some of the most realistic and relate-able characters that I've come to know.
The things they say, the things they think, and their emotions were so raw and bold that I could genuinely feel it tear through the book. I honestly felt like they could have just been my friends, telling me their thoughts and feelings, and this caused me to truly feel for them. I was so emotionally connected to the book that by the time it ended, I just wanted more.

There were a couple of things I did not like. The fact that I thought some aspects were surreal and unrealistic - like how they're super popular musicians and all. I just felt like it lost the realism that I loved from first book - like how Mia's family were just your average, normal characters. I also didn't like how it didn't give much background to what exactly happened to Mia after If I Stay.

Nevertheless, I still have to give this 5 stars. Despite its minor flaws, I couldn't give it less. I was just so emotionally involved with Adam and Mia that it's simply impossible to give it less; after all, I sometimes think the emotional pull is more important than the actual literary merit itself.
And all in all, I thought the writing was beautiful, and haunting, and the character development was flawless. I highly recommend this to readers of contemporary Young Adult books. It's a simple yet haunting story.


  1. Great honest review. I think I might read this one next. Definitely curious as to what happens after If I Stay.

  2. When I was hit by this angry, edgy narrative I was shocked at first and confused. The Adam I was used to was this sweet loving boy. Of course after what she did I didn't blame him. For a long time I was angry at her too. It's very different from the first book but wonderful in it's own way. Oh and I didn't really dig the whole rock star thing, that was a bit meh for me. Great review hun :)

  3. Holly - If you liked If I Stay and the writing style, I recommend this.

    Aly - I too was surprised with Adam's sudden change of personality, but of course, it was understandable. I actually felt his pain, which is mostly the reason I loved this book. I too didn't really like the rockstar part - thought it was unrealistic and useless - but I didn't really mind either!

  4. I recently bought If I Stay; I think I might be the only person who hasn't read it. Most of the reviews I've read for the sequel seem to indicate that it is slightly disappointing as compared to the first.
    Thanks for the review!

  5. I have not read If I Stay... hmmm, another book to buy/borrow soon!! Nice to read both back to back- the only positive to 'catching up'.

  6. I loved this one too. I think it was brilliant to tell the story from Adam's perspective. It just wouldn't have worked the other way around. I thought his personality change was drastic, but understandable considering the painful things he'd gone through. A feeling of overwhelming rejection can really break a person.

  7. Oh, I loved WHERE SHE WENT! The raw emotion was still there and Gayle Forman's writing was as beautiful as ever. I guess I can see what you mean by the huge fame of Adam and Mia - I just don't think the story could have been the same without it. I mean, a huge part of everything for me was that Adam had almost everything going for him and none of it mattered because Mia had left him. He was just so shattered that he pushed away his friends and family and turned into this destructive little ball of anger. Just a matter of opinion, I guess :) Great review!

  8. I considered this series but think I will pass on this YA. I do like how you described your 5 stars after after small concerns with the story.

  9. Sounds like such a beautiful and touching story. I'm going to have to read both the books in the future.

  10. great review, I enjoyed the first one more then this but it was still nice to see the characters again.

  11. I still haven't read If I Stay. Of course, that book is kind of spoiled for me now by knowing there is a sequel :)

    I can't wait to read both of these. I liked your review of this and I'm glad you thought it was worth 5 stars even with flaws.

  12. Misha - I would love to read your own review for the books when you get to read them.

    BookQuoter - That's the best thing about not reading series in order!

    Melissa - I'm glad you liked it too! It was a sweet story, but like you said, it captured the pain of somebody being rejected the way Adam was.

    The Story Queen - Yeah, I definitely saw where the 'rockstar musician' thing was going and why it was there to begin with, I just thought it was too surreal for me. But regardless, I still loved it :)

    Marce - If you don't normally read a lot of YA, then yes, I suggest you skip this one too :)

    Jenny - I think you'll like it!

    FictionstateofMind - A lot would say they liked the first one more but I think I just have a teeny tiny crush on Adam! Haha. So I like the sequel more for some reason.

    Christina T - Aw I still recommend it even if it spoiled. It's still a different experience! ;) And thanks for dropping by!