Friday, 22 April 2011

Book Review: Where She Went by Gayle Forman.


Product details:
Publisher: Doubleday Childrens.
Release date: April 28th 2011.
Paperback, 256 pages.
Rating: 3½ out of 5.
Ages: 14+
Series: If I Stay #2
Other Books in series: If I Stay
Source: Received from Publisher for review.

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 Juilliard'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.

Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance
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Gayle Forman’s heartbreaking book If I Stay, had a profound effect on me, and stayed with me long after I finished read it.  I loved everything about that beautiful book and so I was very excited but also nervous to read its much anticipated sequel Where She Went.  Although I was curious to find out what lay in store for Adam and Mia, I wondered if such a perfectly formed book as If I Stay actually need a sequel.  Ultimately Where she Went, is a worthwhile and fulfilling sequel, but I admit that I had a few teething problems with this one…

 I was a little surprised as I started reading Where she Went. It’s a different book than I thought it would be, and the characters are oh, so different to the Mia and Adam I had come to know and love. Those two were such a perfect pair that I was sure they’d stick together no matter what, but no.  It turns out that while Mia fought to stay alive, her new life, as a rising star at Juilliard, does not include Adam. In fact, Mia and Adam haven’t seen much of each other at all since Mia recovered from her injuries and walked out of his life without any explanation, and without even saying goodbye.

This was not what I was anticipating for these two kids who had totally captured my heart in If I Stay. Mia’s actions towards Adam seem selfish and cruel.  This book is narrated by Adam, and so we find out how deeply affected he has been by Mia’s behaviour.  For a large part of the book I didn’t recognize Adam at all.  The Adam of Where She Went made me want to cry! Gone is the kind, considerate and caring boy who lives for Mia and for music.  In his place is a successful, but burnt out Rock n’ Roll star, who has no love for anything apart from his smokes and his pills. He’s not even all that interested in his movie star girlfriend.  Movie star girlfriend?! I know – that was a shocker for me too!

Just like Adam, I was pretty angry at Mia for putting him through all this, and so, when a chance encounter gives Adam and Mia the opportunity to discuss why Mia did what she did, it is a welcome relief. Adam needs closure.  Three years on he is still living with the ghost of Mia and grieving their relationship.  The answers provided by Mia are emotional, honest and real, and offer some real insights into the grieving process and how different people are affected in different ways.  It’s true that everyone has their own way of dealing with grief, and so I ultimately understood why Mia did what she had to do.  Forman has a wonderfully deceptive style and her simple words can often have a brutal effect.  These are not the perfect teenagers in love of If I Stay. They are flawed and difficult characters, but when they finally decide that they are ready to talk honestly to each other, you will take them to your heart all over again.

While this one didn’t affect me emotionally in the same way as If I Stay, it definitely pulled at my heartstrings just a little, and yeah, I admit that maybe I even shed a tear or two in the end. Were those tears happy or sad? I just can’t say! You’ll have to read Where She Went to find out if Mia has a place for Adam in her new life, or if they go their separate ways once and for all.

11 comments :

  1. Another review of Where She Went th make me lil bit envy. I wish I could read the English copy also.I have no idea when they publish the translation. The local publisher never tell us their schedule.

    Actually I am not into If I Stay. But I want to give a chance to this book.

    It's all about Books

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  2. Great review! I completely agree these are characters that you really take into your heart :)

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  3. Great review! What bugged me the most was how casual Mia seem to be with all of it. She was polite and nice. I just wanted her to snap and say something!!

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  4. I need to read If I Stay first - good thing that I already have it. I am a little sorry to hear that the sequel is not as emotionally involving, but I will still give it a try.

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  5. We seem to have had a similar reaction to the book. I was kind of thrown of by this new Adam and wasn't emotionally invested like I was the first, but I still fell completely in love with it. :)

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  6. What a beautifully written review Leanna. I have heard that Adam and Mia are incredibly different in this novel, so while I'm a little nervous about that, I'm also curious to see where the road has lead them after all these years. I love the fact that we get to hear the story from Adam's point of view this time around and can't wait to experience his story for myself.

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  7. Despite the disappointment with Adam and Mia not being together, it sounds as if Foreman did an honest job at providing real reasons for them not to be together. The tragedy that brought them together may have also pulled them apart, which I think often occurs. Great review.

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  8. @Aleetha - Try The Book Depository. Free international shipping!

    @Savy - I felt that way about Mia too. Just wanted to shake her at times. lol!

    @Misha - I know some people were more emotionally connected to the characters in this one - just not me.

    @Jan - I think you summed it up perfectly! :)

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  9. Thanks so much for this review Leanna, you really outlined some issues with this one that I haven't read in any other reviews and it gave me such a good feel for the book! I'm really looking forward to reading If I Stay, and I'm glad to know going in to this one that the reasons for Mia's actions are eventually dealt with!

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  10. Thanks for the review. I really need to make time for this one.
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

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  11. I was so surprised to see how different Adam had become too. Sure I expected change, but it took me a while to reconnect with him.

    Great review. I loved reading it.

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