Backlist Book Review: Where She Went by Gayle Forman (If I Stay #2)

where-she-wentI adore endings that don’t tie life up in a perfect bow. There are times when things get closure and times when things don’t. That’s the way the world works, and for this reason, I wasn’t sure I wanted to read the conclusion to Mia and Adam’s love story.

I thought the ending to If I Stay was perfect. The tightly written novel focused only on Mia’s choice and ended  with that choice: Mia waking up. We didn’t need to see what happened afterwards. Sure, Adam’s wow was sweet and I applauded her bravery in making that tough decision.

I also liked that Adam realized that he couldn’t fulfill the void left by her family. So I was a little surprised when I found him at the beginning of Where She Went.

Picking up three years after the fatal car crash that destroyed Mia’s family and she walked out of Adam’s life forever, Adam’s band Shooting Star is now a double-platinum band. Yet, Adam is finding that stardom is now all that he thought it would be, and it’s because he misses Mia. Told from Adam’s perspective, Where She Went talks about what happens when Adam gets a second chance at the girl who got away when fat brings the high school lovers together for one night. Is it goodbye or is this a chance to rekindle a long lost love?

Gayle Forman has produced another tightly written novel with this story spans 260 pages. While I love the relationship and the story that Forman creates, I am not a fan of the first half of this book. I think a large part of it, is the environment that Adam is in. When we first see him he’s standoffish. He hates the band and what his life has become and he is pining over Mia. Adam

At the start of the book, Adam resents Mia for leaving and then drifting off without a proper breakup. While Mia’s behavior, not emailing or calling, is not polite, Adam did promise to let her go if that was what she wanted.

As he recounts the story of the last three years including Mia’s rehab, her departure from Portland, his band’s rise to fame, and his distance from his bandmates, we get a clearer idea of how he got to where he is at the beginning of the book. When he encounters Mia at Carnegie Hall he slowly starts to soften.

One thing that I like about this book is the way it addresses the events of If I Stay. When Mia was stuck in her limbo she evaluated her options and decided to stay after she heard Adam’s vow. Adam goes over that vow again and again in his night with Mia and by the end I was really happy I read this book.

Overall, I am glad I read this conclusion. It still leaves a lot up in the air about Mia and Adam’s future, but right now they are happy. They are content. That’s how I like to think of two beautiful characters such as Mia and Adam.

I give Where She Went four stars for this beautiful follow-up. Even though it seemed like Adam had lost his way, it’s clear that the one constant in his life is Mia. He protects her and her past fiercely. If there was ever a literary couple more deserving of a happy ending; it’s these two.

What did you think of Where She Went? What is your favorite young adult OTP? Comment below and suggest which book I should read next. 

Published by Lauren Busser

Lauren Busser is a fiction writer and essayist. She is an associate editor at Tell-Tale TV, where she writes about all things tv. She has had fiction appear in five : 2 : one magazine’s #thesideshow and her nonfiction has appeared in Bitch Media and The Hartford Courant. You can find her talking about tv, film, and knitting on Twitter @LaurenBusser.

2 thoughts on “Backlist Book Review: Where She Went by Gayle Forman (If I Stay #2)

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