Becky's Reviews > Where She Went

Where She Went by Gayle Forman
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Mar 03, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: 2011, disappointing, reviewed, romance-y, review-copies

I loved "If I Stay". LOVED IT. It was one of those books that made my heart and soul ache. It moved me and surprised me and lingered... So much so that I kept mentally comparing the way I felt reading the two books, and I admit to being a bit disappointed by this follow-up.

This is Adam's story. I loved Adam in "If I Stay". He was this incredibly supportive and sensitive and wonderful guy who loved a girl so much that he would do anything for her, who accepted and honored her for being the unique and oddball opposite to him, rather than wanting her to be something she wasn't, who loved her family so much that their deaths were as painful to him as his own family's deaths would be. I liked Adam so much, that I didn't even talk about him in my "If I Stay" review, because nothing would have really done justice to how perfect I thought he was. I don't mean literally perfect, he had flaws, but just perfect in the situations he was in.

Unfortunately, I barely even liked Adam in "Where She Went". I get that Mia leaving him left him heartbroken. I get that. Even taking into account the unusual aspect of the end of their relationship (meaning him supporting her through the accident and the recovery), I just find being heartbroken, anxiety-ridden, depressed and self-destructive for 3 years (with no end in sight) a bit... tiresome. That's longer than they were even together. And yet, after three years, a meteoric musical career, fame and fortune and success, all Adam can do is blame Mia for walking out on him and leaving him cold, and take that bitterness and anger out on others.

I don't mean to sound insensitive. I know that many, many people will find just this thing I found so tiresome to be rather romantic. We all want to be the center of someone's world. Someone's soul mate. I understand what she meant to him, and what their potential meant to him. But with every outburst and cynical thought, I just got more and more tired of it.

I also missed the music that was so much a part of what brought "If I Stay" to life. I know that there was a lot of musical references in "Where She Went", but it wasn't the same. I have no interest in where each of Shooting Star's songs debuted on the charts, or other details of their rise. It's enough to know they made it, for me. What I missed was the way that music mattered, the way they LIVED through music, not just lived by it, or with it, if that makes sense.

All of this is not to say that I disliked the book. I didn't. I liked it, overall. Some parts quite a bit more than others. The writing is still fantastically emotive and brutal in a way. It pulls no punches and makes sure that the reader feels everything (to a fault - see above). I WAS sad and hurt for Adam's loss, and I did want him to find a measure of happiness again... and if not happiness, then closure and acceptance. It's hard to lose those we love. It's even harder to lose those we love after we've helped them through their own lost loved ones. Who's there to help pick up those kind of pieces? I grieved for him for that.

I liked the way that the story came kind of full circle, and Adam did get his closure, even though it came through finding out things that certainly hurt. I liked that he was able to understand and appreciate the decision that Mia made in leaving, even though he was shattered by it. I liked the way he found new reserves of self-respect in himself because of this revelation.

This book didn't live up to "If I Stay" for me, but it is by no means a bad book. I like themes of lasting love, and I think that many people will love this book for that reason, but I just didn't think that this one had the same heart that "If I Stay" had, and for that, I can only give it 2 stars.
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Reading Progress

March 3, 2011 – Shelved
March 5, 2011 – Started Reading
March 5, 2011 –
page 37
14.02%
March 5, 2011 –
page 89
33.71% "Hmm... so far this is not nearly as great as If I Stay... =\"
March 6, 2011 –
page 130
49.24% "Yeah... still not up to If I Stay standards. Not even close. =\ Truth be told, I'm losing interest..."
March 6, 2011 –
page 258
97.73% "Ending was better... but still... Just didn't have the same power."
March 6, 2011 – Shelved as: 2011
March 6, 2011 – Shelved as: disappointing
March 6, 2011 – Shelved as: reviewed
March 6, 2011 – Shelved as: romance-y
March 6, 2011 – Finished Reading
March 11, 2011 – Shelved as: review-copies

Comments (showing 1-30 of 30) (30 new)

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Flannery Do you hear that noise? It's you crushing my dreams of awesomeness for this book. I'll cross my fingers and hope that I am in the group that finds Adam's self-destructing behavior endearing rather than ridiculous.


Becky Gosh, I was wondering what that was! Do you think you could keep it down over there? ;)

I do hope you like the book though. I think I just got me a little case of Nitpickitis. *cough*


Alex I concur whole-heartedly. Nothing so beautifully heart-wrenching as the first one. But still, it would have been awesome if this book had come with a soundtrack. The lyrics intrigued me and I wanted more.


message 4: by H. (new) - rated it 2 stars

H. Shar Totally agree! Mine was along the same lines. Don't you find him Whiny at times?? Haha!


message 5: by Sarah (new) - added it

Sarah  smiliek Do they end up together in the end??


message 6: by H. (new) - rated it 2 stars

H. Shar Sarah wrote: "Do they end up together in the end??"

It was quite open-ended. The ending, I mean. They never officially got back together but there are hints of resolution.


Lindsay Tramble This review sums up my exact thoughts of Where She Went! Excellent review!


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

i feel almost the same. I hate seeing depressed Adam and this whole book? it almost drove me insane. I don't know how exactly to put it into words, but I guess I liked If I Stay a lot more than this.


message 9: by Judy (new) - rated it 1 star

Judy Yes! I agree with your review completely, especially the part about the music. I could care less about all the paparazzi and the drama to show how famous Shooting Star was and name dropping things like Grammys and blah blah blah. About how haaaaaaard it was to be Adam. Yawn.


message 10: by Heartofkenna (new) - added it

Heartofkenna See I really am reluctant to pick up this book. It seems so very different from the first which was focused on life, grief and learning to live again, while the scope for this second book seems much more narrow aand romantically focused. The review surprised me a bit content wise, I didn't know Adam became self destructive and gloomy,but it still fits my idea of being detatched from the first which disappoints me.


Becky That is an excellent point, Heartofkenna. I agree completely that the 2nd book lost any sense of meaning. It just went in a completely "I need to be with THIS PERSON or my life is ruined" direction.


message 12: by Nina (new) - rated it 2 stars

Nina Spot on review. I agree 100%.


Madalyn Your completely right. Just like many other books "where she went" just doesn't live up to "if I stay" for me.


message 14: by Lina (new) - rated it 1 star

Lina Almost exactly how I feel!


Tanima Bag I digress. It's the honest and raw truth in Adam's pov that got me hooked. I'll admit I haven't read the first book and although many ppl have great things to say about it,am not gonna be reading it anytime soon. I understand that Mia went through a really really tough time and that eventually heals herself through her first love i.e music. And I also love her dedication and everything. But can I ask who helped her through all that?? Who was there for her like a strong rock to keep her going when she didn't have the strength to on her own. And who was there for her always ready with the unconditional and unending supply of courage and love? Her family was there and there was the best friend, but I don't see why someone who has no obligation do any of that for anyone day in and day out without asking for anything. He dropped his music his band his career his life in a drop of a hat for five fucking months without a care or second thought about himself. That's called love and being completely dedicated to ur loved one,people. U don't find that kinda jewel of love every day. It's only natural he'd grieve and get hurt and "whine" and develop issues. A broken soul does that to some of us. A break up with no questions answered, no explanation given? I mean what kinda shitty person does that to someone u claim u love??! I get that she's only dealing with her own broken soul in the best way she could, but even that was inexcusable. And TBH at times I found Mia self centered and selfish. Every one else has to make sacrifices, except her. Every one has to give in to her wishes. God forbid she ever relent to make anyone else happy once for a change. And I loved it that Adam was gonna have his closure for once and for all. But it turned out into a romantic reunion instead of the reunion u NEED to get ur closure. I was a tad bit disappointed. And also the ending, though nice and all,is another disappointment, since once again it's Adam who has to give everything up for Mia. I can only hope this time the chick realises his worth and not make knuckleheaded decisions. And if she does, I only hope he gain a brain cell it two and dumps her stupid ass and gain a sense of self worth. The writing was great and kept me enraptured and the raw hurt in Adam's voice makes me root for him and champion for him. It's only natural he's hurting,he's only a human. Sometimes time is irrelevant and unsuccessful in healing a broken heart. It only makes it easier to deal with it,but the bitterness stays.


Becky Tanima wrote: "I digress. It's the honest and raw truth in Adam's pov that got me hooked. I'll admit I haven't read the first book and although many ppl have great things to say about it,am not gonna be reading i..."

TL;DR wall-o-text. So I go to your review, hoping for something readable which would get to the point you hopefully have, and I see the exact same thing you posted here.

Seriously, did you just copy your entire fucking comment here into a "review" just to disagree with my opinion? (I'm assuming that's what you mean by "digress", anyway.)

Your comment/review hurts my brain. If you have a point other than "I plagiarize myself because I'm too lazy to write a review of my own opinion rather than a rebuttal of someone else's opinion," it's completely lost on me. Next time, just follow troll protocol and tell me I missed the point.


Isabelle  Lightwood I felt the exact same way. I absolutely adored If I Stay and I was really disappointed with this. It's just my own personal opinion and I mean no harm to anyone who loved it.


Rebecca It's nice to hear someone express my thoughts exactly. Thanks!


message 19: by Margo (new)

Margo If you loved the first book but didn't like the second one, then I have a feeling I'm going to REALLY dislike the second book, cause I wasn't a fan of the first one. (I badly wish I was though, I hate not liking books)


Becky Morgan wrote: "If you loved the first book but didn't like the second one, then I have a feeling I'm going to REALLY dislike the second book, cause I wasn't a fan of the first one. (I badly wish I was though, I h..."

Well, I guess it depends on what you didn't like about it. I just read your review, and I'm not sure whether you'll like it or not.

There's definitely less perfection in Where She Went... There are a lot of flaws, but they feel overly dramatic, if that makes sense. It's a teen book, yeah, but come on. The world doesn't ACTUALLY revolve around teens, even though they might think and act like it does. ;)


Amanda || eastofreaden I just finished the book, and I agree. I found Adam almost repulsive in this. Yes, it's sad that the love of his life left, but HER FAMILY DIED. At one point he even compared how her family dying impacted to her to how her leaving him impacted him. Really? Are you kidding me?


Becky Yeah, I know. So ridiculous.


Rowan You said that you loved Adam in If I Stay and barely even liked him in Where She Went. I actually think the total opposite– even though I'm sure I'm the only one that thinks this, I sometimes preferred Mia's flashbacks to memories of her family rather than the ones with Adam. (At first I thought he was just a stereotypical dark and twisty emo rock dude that didn't have anything else to offer.) But in Where She Went I really enjoyed hearing things from Adam's perspective. And I think he should be cut a little slack, because everyone deals with heartbreak in their own unique way. Deep down he probably thought (and he was the main reason) that he and his music playing got Mia to stay, and when that profound moment passed and she eventually left, he was just dumbfounded and in a daze, wondering why after all of that that she still chose to separate herself from him. And so for that reason I think it's okay that Adam sounds a bit whiny, and I actually thought it was very interesting to see his (usually ineffective) ways of coping.


message 24: by Kira (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kira FlowerChild THANK YOU! I kept reading all these rave reviews and I was wondering "Am I crazy that I really, really hated Adam's character in this book?" Well, I may be crazy, but apparently I'm not the only one.


Pamela Agree!


Sheveen In complete agreement with your review. I loved Adam so much in the first book, and I actually wasn't a fan of his POV in the second. His characterization in the first book was open to interpretation and I liked that. So while the first book was just wow! The sequel seems kind of unnecessary and more like a typical teen-angst book.


Kristen Morin Becky, when you say

"I also missed the music that was so much a part of what brought "If I Stay" to life. I know that there was a lot of musical references in "Where She Went", but it wasn't the same. I have no interest in where each of Shooting Star's songs debuted on the charts, or other details of their rise. It's enough to know they made it, for me. What I missed was the way that music mattered, the way they LIVED through music, not just lived by it, or with it, if that makes sense."

Isn't that what Adam is upset about the whole book? That the music doesn't mean what it meant before? All the fame and fake people and playing for big venues. He says it flat out at the end on the bridge, 'what if it isn't what you love.' And it's Mia who has his old guitar who brings it all into recognition for him. He'll finish the tour and then be with Mia and rediscover music. If he loved the music and loved the experience of being a successful rock lead singer I don't think he'd be missing Mia too much, and wouldn't have strolled into her concert.

I think, if there were more chapters to the story we'd see Mia and Adam living through music again, just as they did in the end when Mia brought out his new guitar and they played together, missing their flights.

(Clearly, I loved the story! I see where some people can find Adam whiny but I just don't see him that way. But, I love to read reviews that are opposite the way I feel :)


Ilona.Z *Herondale* ;) Loved your reveiw so much! Totally summed up my thought of the book!


message 29: by Imen (new) - rated it 1 star

Imen i strongly agree with you


Ilona.Z *Herondale* ;) This is exactly how i felt… you read my mind :)


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