Book Review: Where She Went By Gayle Forman


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Where She Went is the sequel to If I Stay, and this time we listen to Adam’s voice. It’s quite sometime since that fatal accident that killed Mia’s parents and her little brother, Denny. Mia entered Juilliard and is a fast rising popular cellist. Adam, on the other hand, is having the time of his life living the life of a famous rock star. Or so it seems. Because Adam Wilde is wallowing in depression and despair. What happened after Mia woke up? Why did Adam and Mia separate? More important, what happened to Adam after Mia woke up? Where She Went answers these questions and picks up the story three years after If I Stay ended.

For all of its 272 pages (my copy is in PDF), Where She Went is heavy, emotionally. I can feel Adam’s pain right from the moment I started the first chapter. A few pages towards the ending, I was literally sobbing. If If I Stay is tragic, Where She Went is downright heart-breaking. If I Stay is more metaphysical, Where She Went is more realistic. These two good books is a perfect pair – after reading the first you cannot wait to continue with the sequel. Gayle Forman writes with such passion and raw emotion, and I like how she perfectly shifts from flashback to the present, and vice versa.

Letting go. Closure. These are the central themes in this book. Who wouldn’t get emotional with these kind of things? What I also love about this book (and If I Stay, too) is how music played a major part in the lives of the characters. Although I am not too familiar with most of the songs and singers mentioned (I’m neither a punk rock chick nor a classical music gal), I am fascinated with how Adam and Mia are brought together and are torn apart by their passion for music.

I especially love this part:

“Concert doesn’t mean standing up like a target in front of thousands of strangers. It means coming together. It means harmony.” (p.243)

Where She Went ends perfectly, for me that is, and for a moment before I reached the final chapter, I was fervently hoping that I can handle the ending. Which fortunately I did because Gayle Forman wasn’t that cruel enough to totally break my heart into pieces and make me suffer from rhinitis due to excessive crying (exaggerated, I know, but that was how emotional this book is). This has been one of my best reads for this year, and I strongly recommend this to everyone.

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“You know, I thought about that a lot these last couple of years,” she says in a choked voice. “About who was there for you. Who held your hand while you grieved for all that you‘d lost?” (p.254).

Oh, tears.

5 stars.

By Lynai Lamason