Author: Gayle Forman
Published: April 5th 2011 by Dutton Juvenile
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: Four Stars
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?
Purchase: Barnes and Noble / Amazon / Book Depository
Cover Thoughts: I love the dark background behind the girl. I like how she isn’t fully shown. It’s nice that it has the same background as If I Stay.
First Line: Every morning I wake up and I tell myself this: It’s just one day, one twenty-four hour period to get yourself through.
Where She Went is the second chance everyone wishes they could have. This follow up to If I Stay takes place three years after If I Stay’s events.
Three years after Mia walked out of Adam’s life, a fated night leads the two meeting each other again. At a new point in both of their lives, Adam in a successful band and Mia is a successful cellist, they meet again. Where She Went is told from Adam’s point of view rather than Mia’s. The chapters alternate between present time and past events. I loved the different vibe that Where She Went had compared to If I Stay. The band aspect was a big highlight. Where She Went began as heartbreaking in a different way than If I Stay.
The two main characters in Where She Went are Adam and Mia. Both characters are getting quite famous in Where she Went. Mia is getting ready to go on tour for six months. She has graduated Julliard early. Adam’s band is doing really well and they’re selling out shows. In the beginning, Adam is interviewed by a woman who brings up Bryn, his current girlfriend and Mia, his past girlfriend. Bryn and Mia are both off limits to the press, but the reporter is dedicated to finding out what happened with Shooting Star and specifically, Adam when he disappeared off the map. Adam blows up at her and crushes her tape.
When we return to Adam in Where She Went, we find out Shooting Star has officially taken off, they have a platinum album, groupies, and sold out arena tours. However for Adam, things aren’t as great as they could be. Adam is still hurt over losing Mia, he’s detached and he just tries to get through a day at a time. Even his newfound fame hasn’t helped him cope with his loss.
I liked seeing Adam’s flaws come out. He left the band temporarily, he didn’t want to get out of bed and he carried the resentment of Mia leaving him for three years. He didn’t get along with his band mates, he was very withdrawn to everyone, he had a bad temper at times and he wasn’t the greatest boyfriend. All of these things helped add to the character I met in If I Stay. I found Adam’s feelings to be very realistically portrayed. There were several times in Where She Went that I could feel his pain of being left behind.
After Mia and the band got big, he would hook up with random groupies to forget her. I thought this was realistic for his situation. One thing I loved about Adam in Where She Went is that while he’s a “rockstar” now, he still isn’t too good to go to diners or bowling. He doesn’t think he’s the greatest thing on earth which was nice considering he was in a successful rock band. We also see Adam having a sense of humor in Where She Went.
It was nice to see Mia from Adam’s perspective. Mia has changed since the last time Adam saw her. She’s more formal, she talks on the phone while with other people and she is more confident. I like that she still had some of the same aspects from if I Stay. She loved music, her family and she enjoyed the laid-back places in New York. She appreciated New York for reasons other than the usual ones like the food, culture, etc. There are several scenes in Where She Went involving Mia that I really love. One is when she takes Adam on her New York Easter hunt and shows him all of her favorite places.
Kim, Mia’s best friend, also returns briefly in Where She Went. I enjoyed Adam and Kim’s friendship over Mia being in the hospital. I liked that Kim was the one that got Adam to get out of his hole he was in after Mia left. I dislike that Adam and Kim didn’t carry on their friendship after Mia left for Julliard. I wish I would have heard about Kim and Mia’s relationship. Kim also has her own success in Where She Went. She is now a renowned photographer who has pictures in National Geographic and New York Times. I thought this part could have been omitted from Where She Went, because it seemed unrealistic for Adam, Mia and Kim to all have such success by the time they’re 22. I found it believable that Kim would go to such extremes though given her character being strong willed.
Other characters in Where She Went are Bryn, Adam’s girlfriend who’s an actress, Aldous, Shooting Star’s manager, and Ernesto. Bryn was and okay enough character. I liked her when she first met Adam. She wanted to be more than a pretty face and wanted to produce movies. I enjoyed Aldous, he seemed to really care about Adam rather than just be out to get the band’s money. Ernesto was part of Mia’s support system after moving to New York. It was nice to hear about how he had helped her deal with her parents death and Adam.
There were several things in Where She Went that I liked reading. I liked t the comparisons of Adam’s playing and Mia’s playing. I liked Mia and Kim’s conversation about the difference between guys and men. I liked Adam explaining his old feelings about Mia and how that affected him with the band. For a while he was upset and didn’t want to play anymore. Something that I found interesting is when Adam says his parents said he was a “surprise” when they found out they were going to have a baby. This reminded me of when Mia says in If I Stay that her parents would never call her a surprise or mistake.
Like If I Stay, Where She Went is a very character driven novel. Various plots throughout Where She Went is Adam getting ready go on tour, his relationship changing with his bandmates, Shooting Star growing bigger and him reconnecting to Mia. The biggest plot of the story is Adam and Mia reconnecting. Due to their past events, they begin by only talking about where they’re at in their lives now. I enjoyed seeing the story alternate between the current events and the past events. It was interesting to see Adam look back on the time before Mia left to see all the signs he missed. The main plot is about Mia and Adam reconnecting after Adam attends one of Mia’s symphonies.
Now that Shooting Star is a world known band with much success, Adam has to deal with the sudden fame. He is now claustrophobic due to being recognized and mobbed by fans. He’s on pills to deal with panic attacks and smokes to deal with his nervousness. He and his band now stay in separate hotels because he can’t get along with Mike. I thought it was interesting how music became an outlet for Adam instead of a freedom that Mia mentions.
One of the most interesting parts in Where She Went involves Mia’s family. In a conversation with Adam, Mia tells him she still feels her family in her heart. She feels like they watch her and talk to her. I loved this idea of her still being connected with them after their deaths. The other part I found really interesting is Adam realizing that Mia somehow knew what Adam promised her at the end of If I Stay. It was nice to see this part of If I Stay come back into play. Due to the promise Adam made Mia when she was in a coma, Mia left him which leads to all his pain.
Adam’s promise to Mia is something I think readers will think about. If you could have someone stay alive, but still leave you, would you? I thought Adam’s pain was well portrayed as we see him dealing with the promise, its effect and arguing with himself about how he made this happen. Something great in Where She Went is how Adam knows he still loves Mia, but he told her she didn’t have to stay with him in If I Stay. It’s good to see him dealing with all that entails.
In the beginning of some chapters, there are lyrics to Shooting Star’s album “Collateral Damage”. I felt these lyrics added a nice touch while not being completely amazing. I thought they helped get inside Adam’s head a bit more. At the end of the story, we find out where Adam and Mia are then.
While I adored If I Stay, I would have to say I loved Where She Went even more. The main reasons is in Where She Went, we see Mia and Adam interact in present time as well as flashbacks. I loved almost every single thing about this book. I found Adam to have more depth than he did in If I Stay. I enjoyed getting to know his character better. I loved Mia and Adam’s flashbacks, especially the camping trip. I liked seeing Adam dealing the effects of Mia being gone and his promise. It was very raw. I felt myself being very invested in Adam’s character. I related to him in his feelings towards Mia. It was interesting to hear about Mia’s feelings after she left for Julliard.
Where She Went was a great romantic contemporary Young Adult book that I think readers would enjoy. While it’s not as emotional wrecking as If I Stay, there is still tons of emotional moments in Where She Went. I loved the relationship build up for Mia and Adam. I liked seeing how both characters changed in this book. I thought all of the band drama between Adam and Mike was very realistically done. I loved all of the New York aspects there were in this book. I was very satisfied with the plot and the characters, I rate this book four stars.