Picking up several years after the dramatic conclusion of If I Stay, Where She Went continues the story of Adam and Mia, from Adam's point of view. Ever since Mia's decision to stay - but not with him - Adam's career has been on a wonderful trajectory. His album, borne from the anguish and pain of their breakup, has made him a bona fide star. And Mia herself has become a top-rate cellist, playing in some of the finest venues in the world. When their respective paths put them both in New York City at the same time, the result is a single night in which the two reunite - with wholly satisfying results.
Review: Where She Went by Gayle Forman
Honestly, that little blurb is a little misleading. While that is the basic plot of Where She Went, it hardly captures how utterly heart wrenching this emotional little book is.
I suppose you could try reading this book without reading the prequel, If I Stay, but I would certainly not recommend it. There is little to no plot but a heck of a lot of character study and development. The journey of this book comes from learning everything about Adam and Mia, about their relationship, about their lives, loves, and loss.
If you don’t like books without plot, this won’t be the book for you. It mostly consists of Adam and Mia wandering New York City and discussing where things went wrong. There are flashbacks galore and a lot of thinking. A lot of beautifully articulated angst, music, and snippets of Adam’s pained and gritty lyrics.
It was great to hear the book from Adam’s point of view. He’s a bit whiny, but he has a lot of reason to be whiny. I loved him in If I Stay and was really excited to learn how he felt about all the tragedy he and Mia had gone through.
There are some moments of light, of course, though I always wish for more levity in my books. Adam and Mia’s love is one of the truest I’ve read about. These two wise, old souls really do belong together. Keep the tissues handy.
I found it slightly unrealistic that Adam and Mia would both be such successful musicians. He becomes a world famous rock star, she a classical music sensation. But it does make sense for their characters.
I don’t usually comment on appropriateness, but since this book is a bit mature, I’ll point out some instances of adult-ness, considering both characters are over 18. Adam’s got substance abuse issues, and obviously a major theme of the book is death and how to deal/not deal with it. There are allusions to sex and suicide but nothing major. It’s not a graphic book at all.
If you read If I Stay and wanted to know what happened next, read this book. If you like strong romance, damaged people, books about grieving and moving on, then pick up If I Stay, still the more brilliant of the two, and then read this.