Review: Where She Went

So I can’t lie, I’ve been in a bit of a reading funk. I’m trying to read Jane Austen’s Emma, but I have such a hard time getting into her stories because of the sentence structure! I know I’ll love the book, but it’s taking me a while to really gel with it. It might explain why I’ve ended up at Barnes & Noble multiple times buying books over the last two weeks.

One of those books I got was a book I’d been considering for quite a while: the sequel to If I Stay. I wrote a review last year about it. (Be gentle rereading it. I was so new at reviewing! I’m much more seasoned now…. get it? Because I started reviewing in the fall, and now it’s winter? I’m hysterical). Anyway, this book was a really quick 260 pages for me to read today, and I’m starting to feel better about where I’m at and my reading pace. Woot!

REVIEW: Where She Went, Gayle Forman
Published: 2011
Length: 260

Plot: Set three years after the events of If I Stay, this book is told from Adam’s perspective. He’s achieved insane fame with his band after Mia walked out of his life and went to Julliard, but he’s a mess. When he goes to see her perform at Carnegie Hall, he has no idea what the night will really have in store for him.

Most Memorable Line(s):In the sound of my footsteps slapping against the pavement, I can almost hear the word reprieve, reprieve, echo through the streets.
-I just love the imagery created in this line. To be so aware of your own body’s movements, to feel something so completely you hear it around you? It’s a line that, to me, highlights exactly how much emotional is flowing through this story. Just a strong line.

What I liked: The undercurrent of optimism in this novel made it really hard to put down. In the same way as If I Stay, this novel flips back and forth between the present and the past. And even in the darkest times for Adam, there was a sliver of hope, a sliver of acceptance. Stay was so heartbreaking, so sad, that optimism was in short supply. The optimism here, however small, made this a bit more fun to read. I also really loved seeing Adam’s point of view. I really felt like I could connect to him, possibly because his age in this novel is more similar to my age now? I understand his jittery feelings, his insecurities and being unsure about his choices. I also loved seeing NYC through his eyes via Mia’s eyes. The way Gayle Forman takes these two on their own Easter Egg hunt to draw out their feelings and resolve their issues was a wonderful journey for me to follow.

What I didn’t like: The one thing I wish I got a bit more of in this was the idea of a symphony in the music. And it’s possible that this book was more like an album (especially considering how Forman uses “Adam’s” lyrics from his album) instead of a symphony. But while the music mattered, I didn’t feel as though it carried the novel in the same way. I think this book could’ve had more of that. Stay had the crescendo, Went felt slightly more predictable in its outcome, and even its most intense climactic moment didn’t seem as… dramatic, because of the previous novel’s circumstances. (Though I loved the ending. Love it tons).

Grade: 8/10 … a sequel that outmatches its original? What an unlikely happening. But for me, the less tragic nature of this novel made it easier for me to enjoy, for obvious reasons, and Adam’s voice felt a little more stable and solid than Mia’s had. I just wish his voice had the ‘music’ like hers.


One thought on “Review: Where She Went

  1. The first time I read Pride and prejudice I felt like I was missing major pieces of the story. I have read it maybe 10 times since and will listen to it on my phone when I run in the park over the summer ( lol, everyone else runs to beyonce, I run to Austen, as if I can’t be stranger, but I love it 😛 )

    anyway, I found that listening to the book help me notice moments that I failed to catch when I struggled to read it the first time and using the end notes in the B&N edition of the book helped me understand the era better which made some of the passages clear for me.. Its easier to read more contemporary literature because we understand the the history, the social dynamics between characters and we are familiar with places, objects and concepts presented.. reading an older classic is also an education to the thoughts, lives and concerns of another era that we have no way of personally relating too..

    anyway, keep up the great work! I love following your progress 😀


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