Friday, 27 September 2013

Review: Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Warning: synopsis contains spoilers for If I Stay. Review is spoilerfree for Where She Went.
Where She Went by Gayle Forman
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 Juilliard'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.

Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I StayWhere She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.

Title: Where She Went
Author: Gayle Forman
Series: If I Stay #2
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Publication Date: April 5th 2011

Rating: 4 stars... I think. (What is it with this series that has me doubting the rating so much?)


First you inspect me
Then you dissect me
Then you reject me
I wait for the day
That you'll resurrect me
                   - Animate, track 1, Collateral Damage

Apparently Gayle Forman has a thing with writing duologies and writing the second book from the POV of the guy... And I'm completely okay with that.

Where She Went is written in the same beautiful prose, and in the same style as If I stay: flashbacks and scenes from the present alternate, told by the bitter Adam in a dazzling maelstrom of emotions, objurgations and forgiveness. I was told that I would like Where She Went better than If I Stay: it's true. It still wasn't that whoa-5-stars read for me, but Where She Went is undoubtetly a good book.

In this book, Adam is bitter, lonely and broken. Since Mia left him (no spoiler, it says so in the synopsis), he's angry. She didn't provide any explanation for her leaving, nor did she ever contact him again. He doesn't understand why, and it has left him devastated. It was beautiful how Forman made his character evolve and develop throughout the book. By the time the book ends, he's a completely different person, yet still himself. This is a skill not many authors have and I'm very impressed.

Mia too has a believeable storyline. Her decisions and thoughts become more clear throughout the book, as do the explanations behind her decisions. The reader is able to connect with Mia and feel for her. It's also lovely how different she has become since If I Stay: in the years of her absence, she's gone through a lot and it shows in her character. She's still Mia, but stronger, older, wiser. She knows what she wants.

 The time they spent together and its healing effect, too, was written in a lovely way. Forman uses every ounce of her skill to make us feel every emotion, every tear, every reproach. This book definitely convinced me that Gayle Forman is a very good writer.

So, why not five stars? It sounds as though everything is perfect. And for a lot of readers, it was. If I would rate logically, my rating based on the pros and the cons, this might even be a five-star read. But I'm not a technical rater: I rate with my feelings. As soon as I close a book, I know its rating (except in some very rare cases). And even though this book was very good, it just wasn't five stars to me. Something was missing.

In all, this was a very satisfying and good read. The character development was amazing, as is Forman's writing. We're able to connect with and believe in the characters in the story. It was pretty flawless, but something was missing, making this a four- and not five-star rating.

****** another thing*******
This weekend I'll be on a mini-vacation (nothing big). It means I won't have access to my laptop and, unlike some *looks at Mel*, I hate typing reviews on my phone. So you can expect some radio silence thsi weekend and quite possibly Monday too. But I'll be back!


  1. *hides* This comment you're reading has just been typed via my phone >.<

    As for the review, I fell in love with Adam's narration, it was so bitter and raw, got me crying quite a few times. I really hate that feeling when there's something missing that you can't put your finger on!

    Fab review as always! <33

    1. Haha, I knew it!

      Yeah, me too, especially when it keeps you from LOVING the story like you want to. Adam's narration was so good, very real and emotional!

      Thank you, honey <3

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Sounds like you rate like I do. A 4 star book can be technically brilliant from my perspective, but it didn't engage me on an emotional level. Most of the 4.5s for me are unquestionable worse technically than the 4s, but they got me in the feels, so they got bumped up a lot. I regret nothing.

    This one did get me in the feels though. :-p Too bad it missed with you!

    1. Yes, that's basically how I rate! I need to get the FEELS, no matter how technically brilliant a book is.

      Yeah, I hate it when that happens. Everyone and their mother are rating this five stars AND they got the feels. I just missed something, and not knowing what that something is irks me!


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