Review: Where She Went By Gayle Forman

Where She WentI warned you that I was going to cry, kick and scream to get the sequel to If I Stay…and well I didn’t quite have to do that because Kristi, one of the most awesome and wonderful bloggers I’ve met, sent it to me!

If you’ve read If I Stay, which I highly recommend if you haven’t, you know it leaves you hanging (and possibly looking like a hot mess with all the crying you’ll do if you are anything like me) …so I was extremely nervous as to how Gayle was going to pick up the story in Where She Went. From the moment I read the first few pages, I knew she was a freaking genius as we get to see the aftermath of If I Stay from the perspective of Adam! Right away I was even more excited to see how things played out for Mia and Adam after such a horrific time in their lives.

I honestly loved this much anticipated book to pieces and felt as though it really lived up to If I Stay and how it resonated with me. If I’m honest, I actually enjoyed it more AND felt such a stronger connection to the characters and their experiences in the grieving process. I was nervous as to how I was going to handle delving into the theme of grief and that whole process, as I have a whole lot of unfinished grieving to do myself, and I thought it was done remarkably well without depressing the reader. I could feel the intensity and the rawness of the emotions and the lingering questions that were left unanswered for Adam as well as for Mia. I could feel for her and understood why she did some of the things she did despite the fact that seemed cruel.

Poor Adam…you really felt for him. While he seemed like a Grade A d-bag now that he was a rockstar, you could tell that he was the same sensitive and wonderful Adam that we loved in If I Stay and just had to work through some of his angst and baggage. He really was grieving a loss too. Losing someone in the way he “lost” Mia is still a loss. I thought that the way Forman incorporated snippets of lyrics from Adam’s music was such a powerful way to show just how much the event had affected him. They seemed so real and not at all contrived. Mia was clearly the muse. I believed in those lyrics.

I thought the way she revealed WHY Mia made the decision she did was done so well and at a perfectly natural pace as it gracefully coasted between the present and past memories.  I could feel that anticipation building up and I could feel the questions just nagging at Adam because they were also nagging at me. I loved their reunion and the way that Mia took him on the “tour”. I was just DYING to find out if they’d end up together or not…or if their lives were so drastically different and too much time had passed for it to work out. The culmination of all those bottled up feelings and unanswered questions took its toll on me and rendered me a blubbering mess. Oh, the bridge scene!

My one teeny tiny gripe: I found it strange that Mia, Adam and Kim were all extremely successful at such a young age. Maybe I’m just sour grapes :P

My Final Thought:  Where She Went was just as heart-wrenching and emotional as If I Stay but I found that it went even deeper and really captured different aspects of the grieving process so genuinely. Forman’s writing proves to be just as powerful and she really did an excellent job capturing Adam’s perspective and still providing us with sufficient insight into Mia. I was thoroughly unable to put this one down, as I was with If I Stay, and I was quite pleased with the direction that Forman took with their story. If you haven’t read If I Stay, please do….between it and Where She Went you’ll be wholly invested in their story and it will make you appreciate those special people in your life. Pick this up in April when it comes out!

Review On A Post-It (Something new I’m trying for each review–for those strapped for time! I have this habit of doing it in real life when I give people books to borrow):

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 28 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating gelato, listening to music with oversized headphones and teaching her niece how to be as awesome as she is.

Comments

  1. love the post it.

  2. Thanks Pam! I didn't realize it wasn't going to crop right. Must fix for next time so I don't look like I don't know how to crop decently. LOL. I'm just too freaking tired right now to fix.

  3. I like the post it review :)

  4. I like the post-it also! And, I agree with your review! I still liked If I Stay better, but it's a hard distinction, because they just felt like the same story to me. I didn't feel any of that disconnect, or change you often feel in a sequel. Gayle Forman is amazingly talented.

    I just love this review. Don't know that I can tell you why very well right now, but I do. One of the best reviews I've read of this book! <3

  5. Thanks Ashley! I agree with you..you make such a good point! There really ISN'T a disconnect! I never thought about that fact until you thought about it.

  6. Jennifer (An Abundance of Books) says:

    I like the review on a post-it-note. It works like a rating – quickly tells the reader what you thought.

  7. Ginger @ GReads! says:

    Oh Jamie.. this book was BEYOND amazing. I finished it last week & it's still inside my head. I'm not ready to let it go just yet. I have to agree, Where She Went was better than If I Stay (is that even possible? lol). I felt a HUGE connection to these characters in this book, especially Adam. Oh Adam… WOW! He is my favorite YA Contemp character now. Gayle Forman did a superb job of speaking from a male's POV. Holy crap.

    And the bridge scene??!! O.M.G. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! "I can't do this anymore!" AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH <3

    P.S. please tell me there's a Shooting Star somewhere out there. I seriously need to hear this Collateral Damage album! Like NOW.

  8. Aww I love the little post-it!

  9. Alex Bennett (Electrifying Reviews) says:

    Ooh, I just recently read If I Stay and LOVED it! My ARC of Where She Went is currently with a friend, so I hope she gives it back soon! Glad you loved this one!

  10. Hafsah @ IceyBooks says:

    *looks around* Am I the only one who hasn't read Gayle's books? I know I'm missing out, thanks to your review!

    By the way, LOVE the Post-it! Great idea :)

  11. Avid Reader says:

    I just posted on this recently and had the exact same reaction. I think I loved it even more than It I Stay because it made me understand the characters so much better. I loved how this story unfolded too. Wonderful review!

  12. One of the things that I love about your blog, is that I can read any review and I don't have to worry about spoilers. I am starting If I Stay today (one my ereader finishes charging) and I can't wait because I know I'm going to love it just as much as you did, and I know that you can't wait to chat about it. Either way it's win win. :)

  13. I am reading If I Stay right now…I wonder if I need to kick and scream and throw tantrums to get Where She Went! Good thing is I can roll from one right into the next and won't have to wait too long!! Great post!

  14. New follower here!

    Great review! I had a lot of the same thoughts as you when it came to this book. Loved it! Loved it! Loved it! I'm sad we won't be able to "hang" with Mia and Adam anymore. I became so emotionally invested in their story.

  15. LOVING the post-it note reviews. Brilliant.

  16. Michelle says:

    I finished Where She Went this weekend and agree wholeheartedly. I definitely feel it was better than If I Stay, which is difficult to imagine given how amazing that one was. I like how they've grown and changed and how their actions have consequences. The perfect ending to an utterly unforgettable storyline.

  17. Jacinda (The Reading Housewives) says:

    Okay…I'm the only person on this planet who loves If I Stay more. Everyone's reviews say they like Where Went Went more. I'm in the minority once again, lol. Great review!

  18. Jessica M says:

    Love the post-it review — great idea! And I'm so looking forward to reading Where She Went.

  19. I was really worried about the idea of a sequel just because I enjoyed IF I STAY so much, but your review convinces me it will be awesome. I can't wait to read it.

  20. Michelle says:

    I.loved.this.book!

    Adam's so tortured and put through the wringer…poor thing. This is the type of fabulously angsty book that makes your stomach drop but in the best possible way.

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  3. [...] Just One Day by Gayle Forman (you know my love for If I Stay & Where She Went) [...]

  4. [...] Like Normal had one of the BEST male POVs ever — right up there with Adam from Where She Went. It was so fresh and felt like a genuine male’s perspective — you’ll want to [...]

  5. […] for trivia night with Gayle Forman in which I realized how badly I need to reread If I Stay & Where She Went and makes me want to do a reread of Just One Day and then obviously reread Just One Year. (All […]

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