Tags: YA, contemporary, romance, music, NYC
Three years after Mia’s family was killed in a devastating car crash, Adam is a hot international rock star and Mia is Juilliard’s next new professional cellist. The only problem is, Adam and Mia have not talked since then. Adam is living the dream life, filled with money and girls and awards, but he is still wracked by the pain of their breakup, and it has really screwed him up.
Then, Adam and Mia cross paths again one night in New York City. Told with a series of flashbacks as to where their relationship went wrong, Adam narrates his night with Mia, a night that could be as insignificant as randomly running into the person who broke your heart…or as life-changing as imaginable.
I was actually very happy with how If I Stay ended. When I heard that Gayle Forman was coming out with a sequel to If I Stay, however, I was curious to see how it would turn out in Gayle’s talented hands. Turns out, it’s as good as it gets.
At first, Adam seems like a rather unlikable character. In many ways, he acts like a spoiled, ungrateful brat, being nasty to people and taking the whole “I was dumped by my girlfriend” thing too far to be sympathetic to. However, he is easy to sympathize with. A romantic situation that could’ve easily been melodramatic is meticulously revealed to us in small, emotional bits, filling in the three years between the car crash and the present day. Everything in this book just progresses effortlessly: we can pretty much believe that these are two real people whose lives are simply being recorded down in this book.
In Adam and Mia’s story, we see the emotional complexity that goes into a relationship rife with tragedy and change. Why do people act the way they do? How can what one person does or thinks about their relationship seem so irrational to their partner? WHERE SHE WENT is the best book I’ve read that explores these subtleties. It’s deep, and yet it’s not preachy, or so deep as to be unrelatable.
WHERE SHE WENT is, simply put, so, so good. It’s beautiful without being over the top, memorable without being unrealistic. If you read and loved If I Stay, then this sequel is an absolute must-read, if simply for the fact that you will get more of Adam and Mia. And if you haven’t read If I Stay yet, I think I will have to come after you and bug you until you do.
Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Cover discussion: I've cover lusted after this before, but yeah, I don't care that it's more conventional than If I Stay's old cover. It's very beautiful.
Dutton Juvenile / April 5, 2011 / Hardcover / 208pp. / $16.99
Received for review from publisher. Thank you!