Where She Went by Gayle Forman (If I Stay #2)
It's been three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life.
And three years he's spent wondering why.
When their paths cross again in New York City, Adam and Mia are brought back together for one life-changing night.
Adam finally has the opportunity to ask Mia the questions that have been haunting him. But will a few hours in this magical city be enough to lay their past to rest, for good - or can you really have a second chance at first love?
I wouldn't have thought a book about a rock star with a broken heart would affect me almost as much as a book about a girl whose entire family dies in a car crash. And yet, that's what I'm going to tell you about Where She Went.
Although If I Stay is more tragic in the literal sense of the word, Where She Went is just as heartbreaking. Normally, Adam's lovesick, can't-let-go type of character would get on my nerves, but not this time. Although I occasionally wanted to tell him to snap out of it, I also understood why he couldn't. Forman managed to capture human emotion more than anything else in this book.
I was happy to see that music remained central to the plot, but that not everything was described in terms of music. In If I Stay, the overload of musical metaphors had almost taken away from the book, but Where She Went had a better balance. I also loved the lyrics from Adam's songs before every chapter, which were as heartbreaking as everything else.
Forman did an amazing job with Adam's character. I was surprised to find myself relating to him so much, having never been through such heartbreak myself. I expected him to seem overly dramatic and pathetic, but the opposite was true; Forman's prose relayed the realness of all of Adam's emotions. The best part of his character was his depth; he wasn't just lovesick, he was living a life he didn't fully want or control. It's very rare that I care about the outcome of a romance novel so much.
The ending of Where She Went gets a little too fairy tale, happily-ever-after, but I'm perfectly content with it. I'd hate to discredit a well-written happy ending, and Forman really did well with it. Although the ending was kind of predictable, it felt like the perfect conclusion to Mia and Adam's stories.
I highly recommend this series, especially to romance fans. Where She Went was an incredibly satisfying read and has left me eager to read more of Forman's novels.
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, admiring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. In an instant, almost all of that is taken from her. Caught between life and death, between a happy past and an unknowable future, Mia spends one critical day contemplating the only decision she has left. It is the most important decision she'll ever make.
If I Stay is an incredible book. Its draw isn't in a fast-paced plot or , but in the human aspect of the story. Within the first twenty pages, tragedy strikes, and Mia's life will never be the same again. Instead of focusing on the time days or weeks after, when she'll have to cope, If I Stay takes place in the 24 hours immediately after the crash, when Mia has to decide: will she go, or will she stay?
The story isn't exactly climactic or exciting; it's heart-wrenching instead. Even the flashbacks to Mia's happy past at the end of every chapter were tainted with grief. Forman manages to make Mia's tragedy feel strangely personal. More than anything, If I Stay is a book about grief, and love. It's definitely not a book to read when you're sad.
The book's biggest flaw was its emphasis on music, which went a bit overboard occasionally. I liked that music was such a big part of Mia's life, but at times it almost took away from the real story. The love of music most of the characters had did add depth to them, and it was also one of the many good aspects of the book.
If I Stay was an emotional roller coaster. It was a quick, easy read, but I will remember it for a long time. If you like feeling close to characters or reading stories about people (instead of events), this will be an instant favorite. I was lucky enough to finish it at the library, and I immediately checked out the sequel.
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