Angela's Reviews > Where She Went

Where She Went by Gayle Forman
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Feb 08, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: issues, magical-realism, young-adult, arc, 4-stars, read-in-2011

In Gayle Forman’s WHERE SHE WENT, Mia and Adam are now living separate lives. Mia broke off things shortly after going to Julliard, and Adam has spent the past three years trying to work through his confusion and hurt. In the meantime, Adam’s band has become an international phenomenon, and Mia has become the cello virtuoso of her generation. In a chance encounter, Adam and Mia meet in New York City right before both are about to leave on world tours. In one night, the two must struggle to overcome years of pain and misunderstanding to see if any love remains.

Similar to the first book, WHERE SHE WENT packs an emotional punch with its direct, affecting prose, and the use of Adam as the first-person narrator in this installment adds emotional insight. This book provides an unflinching look at how tragedy can impact people differently, and this sequel shows characters that are more flawed and complicated. While Forman’s prose is unfettered, her attention to detail about the small things that bind people draws the reader in. The parallelism in structure between the first and the second books is also outstanding. Flashbacks are used deftly to describe what has happened in the past three years, and the older age of the characters allows for deeper, more realistic reflection. Beautiful and telling song lyrics are incorporated as chapter headings, and this was the first time I’ve read a book in which I felt that the lyrics really added to the story.

Early in my reading, I felt that I was going to like WHERE SHE WENT even better than IF IT STAY, but it didn’t have the same emotional impact ultimately. I was less able to connect to the characters this time because they had each become celebrities in their own ways, and there were a few times that Adam’s inner dialogue didn’t ring true or when conversations between he and Mia felt awkwardly worded. Though the ending will please many, it felt predictable and too easily resolved for me. Also, there were a few mishaps that jumped out, like inaccuracies regarding what strings a cello has.

Overall though, WHERE SHE WENT provides an emotionally impactful conclusion to the story of Adam and Mia and what happens to people after they continue to live in the wake of tragedy. I recommend this book heartily to anyone who loved IF I STAY or to those who embrace books with harsh emotional realities that end with a bit of hope.

Note: This review refers to an advance reader's copy.
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Reading Progress

February 4, 2011 – Started Reading
February 7, 2011 – Finished Reading
February 8, 2011 – Shelved
February 8, 2011 – Shelved as: issues
February 8, 2011 – Shelved as: magical-realism
February 8, 2011 – Shelved as: young-adult
April 26, 2011 – Shelved as: arc
February 20, 2012 – Shelved as: 4-stars
May 29, 2012 – Shelved as: read-in-2011

Comments (showing 1-18 of 18) (18 new)

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message 1: by Tabitha (new)

Tabitha Olson I've been toying with the idea of reading this, but I liked the ending of If I Stay so much that I've avoided it. But, after reading your review, I think I might like it...so I'm going to give it a try.

Thanks for another great review! And glad to see you've got a little bit of time to write them. :)


message 2: by Angela (last edited Feb 24, 2011 04:44PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Angela Though I didn't put it in my review, I was actually happy with the ending of IF I STAY also, and I would have been just as happy with it as a standalone. I feel like this book is more for the people who just had to see what happened afterwards, which I didn't really need. When I started reading it, I was sure that this was going to be my first 5-star book of the year, but the small falterings here and there brought it down one notch. However, it was still a good read overall, as you can tell from my review. :)

And thanks, as always, for the compliments on my review! I don't actually have time to write any reviews right now, but I *had* to do this one since it's required by the tour site I use for ARCs.


Na Dine Bookaddict thanks thanks thanks for your review which made me read this book - i would not have missen reading it in a million years!


Angela Nadine wrote: "thanks thanks thanks for your review which made me read this book - i would not have missen reading it in a million years!"

So glad you enjoyed it! :D


Carly222 I just bought this today after reading your review! :) If I Stay hit me pretty hard probably because I'm an emotional reader but it caused me hesitation with this one. But after reading your review it made me feel more at ease and excited for it so I saw it and picked it up!


Angela I caused a book sale?!? Wow. That's awesome. :) I'll look forward to hearing what you think about this and how you compare it to the first book.


Carly222 It is awesome :) and I can't wait to share and compare!


Angela Glad it's going well for you! ;)


Carly222 Oh sorry I meant its awesome you were a booksales woman! I haven't actually started it yet but hope to this weekend and will let you know how it goes!


Angela Carly222 wrote: "Oh sorry I meant its awesome you were a booksales woman! I haven't actually started it yet but hope to this weekend and will let you know how it goes!"

Haha, sorry for misunderstanding. No matter when you read it, we shall discuss afterwards. (Though it might be a while before I get back to you b/c I'm going to be away from the computer for the next 10 days or so while I'm on a girls' trip to Cali. I promise to write back to your private message after I return, too.) :)


Carly222 Hehe thats okay! Wow how fun and exciting! Hope you have a great time and safe travels! Sounds good :)


Angela Awww, thanks! I'll let you know if I have any adventures. :)


Carly222 Yes, please do! :)


Angela :)


Carly222 Yeah, I freaking loved this story. I really enjoy Gayle Forman's writing style. We'll discuss more when I know you are back from vacation! Hope you're having a great time!


Angela I'm baacccck. :) Let the discussion begin!


Carly222 Yay! How was your trip? I'm sure it was fabulous :) So, let's see Where She Went... Well reading this second book I realized I really love Gayle Forman's style of writing and just think it is beautiful.(view spoiler)


Angela Carly222 wrote: "Yay! How was your trip? I'm sure it was fabulous :) So, let's see Where She Went... Well reading this second book I realized I really love Gayle Forman's style of writing and just think it is beaut..."

Hey you! My trip was great, but exhausting, so I've been catching up on sleep and necessary to-do items around the house for the past two days. And then, this Friday, Seth and I are taking a long weekend vacation down to the hills of North Georgia! I feel like quite the traveler right now. :)

Re: WHERE SHE WENT, I obviously agree with most of what you said. I really, really like Forman's writings and style in both books, but there were small things that bothered me in each book that kept them from being a 5-star reads (view spoiler), though they were close. I heard that she's working on another book right now, so I look forward to what her next title brings.


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