Saturday, May 14, 2011

Book Review: Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Photo taken from Goodreads

Book Info
Title:  Where She Went
Author:  Gayle Forman
Publisher:  Dutton Juvenile
Language: English
Format: Hardcover
Pages:  208 pages
ISBN - 13:  978-0525422945
Source:  Purchased, Power Books


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."

At last, he speaks!

Adam, the lovable rocker boyfriend of comatose Mia Hall on If I Stay is back on this new novel by Gayle Forman, Where She Went and this time, he gets to tell the story.  He takes us three years after Mia's accident, three whole years where his band made it big on Hollywood, he's now a bona fide rock star, and Mia has gone to Juilliard and is now one of its top musical students.  However, this new lease on Mia's life is not what you think - Adam and Mia have broken up and went their separate ways.  In this book, Adam dissects what happened, why it happened, and where she (Mia) went.

Okay, that bit about where Mia went is sort of silly.

But onto the review.  I try not to compare a book with another book in a series because that's just stupid.  Even if they hold the same story, they are still very different.  But let me just say that I liked this book better than If I Stay, which is not to say I did not like the latter - I did, a lot in fact.  But Where She Went is so much more emotional and poignant and touching, despite Adam's rock star denial tendencies:  fear of being alone, the constant feeling of being alone, fear of being recognized in public, etc.  His narration sounded so lost and lonely that not just reflects the discontent he experienced as his career shot up, but especially the grief that has not left him ever since Mia turned her back on him as she left for New York and never looked back.

Unlike in If I Stay, where we saw Adam through Mia's eyes, we now understand first-hand his insecurities, his doubts, his feelings about the accident and his relationship with Mia.  We now see a more flesh-and-blood Adam as he takes us to a journey of his loneliness after Mia left and of his excitement and disappointment as his band's status took off.  The story was explosive in that a surge of emotions would surely flood the reader especially in the part when Adam and Mia finally see each other again.  Do they get back together?  That seems to be the most popular question, and the answer is not as satisfying or troubling, nor as exciting as the events that would lead up to it.  Indeed, in this book, the end does not justify the means.  The means eclipse the end. 

But even if this story is told through Adam's eyes, we still see a consistent portrayal of Mia and the other characters we have come to love in the previous book, although some aspects of their characters were changed to reflect the three years that went by.

Majority of the chapters were introduced with a stanza from the lyrics of songs Adam has written during his heartbreak and which were used in his band's album that pushed them to center stage.  The words were quite heart-wrenching thought-provoking, even inspiring, I was so moved close to tears that I ended up writing poetry (one of which I posted on this blog that was inspired a little by Adam's lyrics and John Mayer's music.  Fantasy meets Reality.) and trying my hardest not to get depressed.

In essence, the premise of this story is quite simple, but that simplicity is what makes this journey that the reader takes with Adam in this book remarkably refreshing and nostalgic, no unnecessary drama, no unrealistic plot lines, no complicated situations that seem impossible to get through.  This simplicity is also what makes this book perfect for almost everyone who would like a good, uncomplicated, and undemanding read.  But just because it is undemanding does not mean it's 'put-downable' - it will suck you in and keep you reading until you reach the end, but it will not tire nor bore you in the time that it kidnaps you within its pages.  A perfectly-written sequel, that may even be read on its own.

If you have any questions on this particular rating, please refer to my ratings system here.


All opinions expressed in this book review are my own and not influenced by any party in any way.

Please contact me for questions, comments, and suggestions.  

1 comment:

  1. I really liked this one too, but I didn't find it as emotionally charged as If I Stay. I made the mistake of reading that one at Starbucks.... Ooops!


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