Where She Went (If I Stay #2)

Where She WentBy Gayle Forman

Publisher: Dutton
Publication Date: April 5, 2011
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult Contemporary
Source: Netgalley

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 Julliard’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.

Goodreads Summary

This is the sequel to Forman’s 2009 book, If I Stay, which was Mia’s story and while this can be read alone and still be enjoyed – it’s loaded with flashbacks and information about Mia’s story – I don’t think the emotional impact of the story will be the same if you haven’t read the first book.

Adam is New York, doing some promo work and getting ready to head to Europe with his rock band Shooting Star for the first leg of their new tour.  He’s burned out on the band, on life with his actress girlfriend back in L.A., and is considering leaving music altogether.  Their manager has been forced to keep Adam’s pocket stocked with anti-anxiety pills and reporters are given a laundry list of things they’re not allowed to ask him.  What’s on top of the list is what dark place Adam was in when he wrote the pained, often bitter songs for their smash breakout album.

Adam thought nearly losing Mia to the horrific accident that claimed her entire family would be the hardest test of his heart’s strength, but in the three years since, he’s begun to wonder if having her choose to come back to him only to leave him afterwards like trash on the side of the road might be worse.  Mia left for Juilliard as planned, then just drifted away, eventually cutting all ties with him.  In a deep, dark pit of depression, Adam wrote the music that would eventually catapult him to stardom, but he hasn’t been able to move past his feelings for Mia or stop wondering why she left him.

On his last night in New York, restless and desperate not to be alone with his own thoughts, Adam heads out into the streets and walks right into a poster for a concert Mia’s playing that night, then and there.  He can’t help but go in and when she invites him backstage afterwards, he has no idea what she wants.  When she invites him on a tour of her New York for the night, he doesn’t know if this is a chance for him to find the answers he wants, but he says yes.

I had very mixed feelings about this initially – so mixed that I read it twice.  This is completely Adam’s book, from his perspective, and it’s hugely emotional.  He’s depressed, anxious, bitter and frequently wallowing in self-pity.  He’s furious with Mia for leaving him without explaining why and over-dramatizes things.  He’s also still grieving over the loss of Mia’s family and dealing with other emotions he had to shelve while he was supporting Mia through her recovery.  He put his life on hold to take care of her and now he’s full of all of this anger – and fear, because he made her a promise when she was in a coma and he hasn’t kept it.

Sometimes Adam was a really difficult character to want to read about.  Most of the time, Forman moved the story along quickly enough that he didn’t get mired down in one mood or another for too long, but as much as I hate overusing the word, there were times when Adam was simply too emo for my taste.

The more I read though, the more he became the character I loved from If I Stay – the flashbacks were heartbreaking, especially the ones with Mia’s family.  I was surprised that I felt a little apathetic towards her and the future of their relationship the first time I read this – it’s yet another of the reasons I read it twice.  The second time around I felt a little better about her, a little lighter about the story in general.

My Summary: If you read and loved If I Stay, this is going to be an auto-buy for you and you’ll most likely love this.  It’s messy and full of heartbreak and love, anger and forgiveness and while sometimes it was hard to wade through, it was worth it to get to Adam’s rebirth.

My Rating: B

Barbara

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Comments

  1. I think it's commendable that you read it twice and gave it another chance. I only wish I was that mature!I just don't think this series is for me. It sounds way too messy, as you say, for my tastes. And truthfully, I'd have a hard time with an overly emotional male character. I love the idea that he gets to tell his point of view, but I'd have a hard time not telling him to man up in my head. Or out loud, whatever. 😉

  2. Ha, I had to read it twice because I was constantly telling him to man up. 🙂 At the end of the first read-thru, I thought I might understand him better and could try again.The two books are gorgeously written but are of the kinds of stories that take you to the lowest emotional points before shoving you back up. They're hard to read unless you either know what you're getting into or like that sort of thing.

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