I 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 😛
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):