REVIEW: Where She Went by Gayle Forman

WHERE SHE WENT by Gayle Forman
  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Juvenile (April 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • Author Website: Gayle Forman
  • Pre-order: HERE
  • Rating: YYYY1/2

  • 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.


    IF I STAY by Gayle Forman is one of my top five favorite reads of all time and when I need cathartic tears to flow, it is my go-to book. In fact, it is a cherished book among many readers and I could go on and on with accolades for IF I STAY because it is so amazing, but that is not why I am here today. The much awaited companion novel to IF I STAY, entitled WHERE SHE WENT found it's way into my eager hands and I stopped everything I was doing so that I could read and savor my newest bounty. It was as if I was starved for literary ambrosia and I could not stop until the last word was consumed. I was in heaven.

    I am not sure how I can go about this review without revealing too much, but I will try my best. Initially I had no knowledge that a sequel/companion novel was in the making until last spring. I never thought that much about Mia's and Adam's story going any further. Then as the idea set in the seed of possible scenarios planted itself within my brain and I became obsessed. Yet, nothing could have prepared me for what I encountered within the pages of WHERE SHE WENT.

    This story takes place three years after Mia's horrific accident in which she lost her entire family, but now the story is being told through Adam's POV. And if you have read the synopsis you know that Mia and Adam are no longer together (I'm not spoiling anything here). His perspective on their lives apart is grittier, darker and more destructive but by no means as painful than it's predecessor. As you begin you cannot fathom why Mia and Adam are apart, it is even a mystery to Adam who is now a successful rock star living the American dream. As he trudges forward, lost and riddled with anxiety his mind goes back to those months after her accident, replaying and dissecting each moment until he is numb and empty. The night before he is to leave on a European tour abroad a moment of fate occurs and Adam and Mia are brought together again. Their encounter leads to an evening traveling throughout the city of New York, revealing their lives apart in moments filled with memories, hurtful truths and confessions. But what will the light of dawn bring for them? only time will tell.

    As I read WHERE SHE WENT I felt a weight settle in my chest. Adam's pain and loss was so palpable that certain passages left me without the ability to breath. I was so overcome with emotion that I was left bereft of tears. I understood Adam's anger, sympathized with Mia's decisions and was a willing captive to their journey. I truly enjoyed the music lyrics that introduced certain chapters it is one of my favorite bits that add to the magic of this book. Gayle Forman is an amazing talent and she has returned with a story that is filled with love, anger, heartbreak and hope. In the same beautiful lyrical style as before while returning us to a couple that we can never forget.

    I recommend WHERE SHE WENT to all of those that enjoyed IF I STAY for it was a story that needed to be told and was well done. I will be the first to admit that it did not grab me in the quite the same manner as IF I STAY had, but It is a story that I will always remember and cherish.


    1. OMG!!! What a great review! I'm glad you got to review this early, and am still jealous, but anyway...

      Glad to know that this one isn't just dark and gritty; that there is a revelation and an ending, a meeting of both Mia and Adam. I think I like the premise of the novel, and I LOVED If I Stay. Even before I read this review, it'd been dubbed my most anticipated 2011 sequel, and ultimately one of my most anticipated books of 2011.

      Obviously, the second book can never live up to the standards that the first one did, but I'm glad that WSW was still amazing and even more exemplified Gayle's excelling talents in writing.

    2. I wasn't as much a fan of If I Stay as everyone else seemed to be but I am interested in reading it's sequel.

    3. I'm so curious about reading from Adam's POV. Thanks for the great review!

    4. Yeah ! I'm so excited ! And glad to hear that it's as breathtaking as the first book.

    5. This is a fantastic review. I, too, loved IIS, and was already excited for WSW, but now I can't hardly wait. Thanks!

    6. Brilliant review, Nancy! Your review makes me want to read If I Stay asap. I don't know why I haven't picked it up yet, I've heard such fantastic things on it. And now with the sequel, I can't wait. Thanks, Nancy! =)

    7. Oh wow - I can't wait until April. I just reviewed If I Stay. It seriously broke my heart.

      Love your blog - new follower.



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