Book Review: Where She Went by Gayle Forman

“I've become to realize there's a world of difference between knowing something happened, even knowing why it happened, and believing it.”

― Gayle Forman, Where She Went

The characters Adam Wilde and Mia Hall from Gayle Forman's If I Stay are back in Where She Went, her young adult novel. It is told from Adam's point of view in brief sentences and touches on a number of topics, including family, grief's aftermath, loss, sacrifice, and closure.

Synopsis from Goodreads...

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 Julliard’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.

My reaction to this novel...

This novel is the sequel to Gayle Forman’s If I Stay, and it is written from Adam’s point of view in the minimalist, lyrical style that marked the previous novel.

Where She Went delves into the devastation of bereavement, the promise of fresh hope, and the rekindled spark of passion. I was ecstatic when I saw the second book, but I couldn’t read it right away since I watched the trailer for the first novel, which is being adapted into a film, and I was disappointed. Yes, even though I did not see the entire film, I was disappointed since the person who played Adam is not who I expected him to be. Nothing against the actor who portrayed the part, but he is not the right Adam as described in the novel, as for me. As a result, every time I started reading the first chapter of the book, the actor who portrayed it in the film kept playing in my head, which I believe damaged my initial impression of the novel.

Anyway, after months of not thinking about it, I started looking through my shelves, and this was the first book I saw, so I chose to read it since I had forgotten the picture of the man who played Adam in the movie. It was first tedious for me. Adam’s emotional point of view was lost on me. Then I realized I couldn’t stop myself from reading it. I felt quite sorry for Adam. Despite his fame and current relationship, you can still sense the hole left by his prior love. I pity Adam. He was devastated when Mia departed, and I could feel his anguish. I was furious with Mia for abandoning him like that. As with the first novel, still, Adam’s character stole my heart. I simply wanted things to improve for him and for him to be happy.

I also wanted to express how my heart had been ripped and hurled. What I hoped from the conclusion may not have been what I received, but it was still wonderfully heartwarming. I also felt that to properly grasp Adam and Mia’s sentiments, you must first understand their narrative and their passion of music. Actually, I’m having a hard time deciding whether I enjoyed this story or the prior one more. I rushed through both of them and was not disappointed. This one’s novel, with Adam’s view got me thinking about how all of our decisions in life influence others. And sometimes those decisions are wise, and other times they just leave things behind, which is really kinda sad. This novel will leave you fighting and thinking with your own unresolved relationships.

I will suggest it to everyone who has read the first novel but has not yet read this one. If you haven’t read the first, I really urge you to read it now so you can understand what occurred in this sequel and for you to be able to feel the love that is so pure and innocent.

My Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐(4/5)


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