Where She Went by Gayle Forman
It has been three years since the tragic accident that took the lives of Mia’s entire family (If I Stay), the accident that left Mia herself barely clinging to life in a coma. At that time, high school boyfriend Adam Wilde had been by her side, whispering in her ear, supporting her, calling her back to this world, and Mia did.
Now Mia and Adam live on opposite coasts. Mia has made a full recovery from the accident and has gone back to playing her cello. After finishing her schooling at Julliard, she is now playing on stages and touring the country.
Yet Adam is not faring so well. When Mia recovered and left – she left him behind as well. Adam never fully understood what happened to them and as he dealt with his anger and loss it came out in his music. Angry songs that feed teenage angst are a different sound for Adam and his band but these songs that Adam wrote through his deep pain puts Collateral Damage on the top of the charts.
One night, a very unhappy with his life Adam takes a walk in New York City before hopping on a plane the next day for the Europe leg of the bands tour. The rest of the band left that day, but Adam did not want to fly on Friday the 13th so opted to join them the next day. While walking he discovers that Mia is performing at Carnegie Hall. Having not seen her in the three years since she left, Adam buys a ticket and slumps into the darkened theater to watch her play and planning to slip out as soon as it is over. However, for a highly recognizable guy as the lead singer of Collateral Damage is, the whispers go through the audience and Mia spots him and requests he join her back stage.
Face to face with Mia after all these years is both painful and the things dreams are made of. Over the course of one evening Mia and Adam walk the streets of New York and relive the past from their days of dating, to the accident, and why she left.
This is not one of those sequels that I can say, “Oh you do not need the first book, you can just pick up Where She Went,” and you will catch right up. No, in this case not only do you need the first book, If I Stay – you will want it. If I Stay holds the love between Adam and Mia and it is a necessary step to get to Where She Went. If I Stay is the story of a young cellist (Mia) and her rocker boyfriend (Adam) and how they made their different lives work together, until a tragedy of epic proportion puts a whole new direction in both their young lives.
I just finished Where She Went, late last night. I looked at the clock when I closed the last satisfying page at is was 12:30 in the morning. Where She went, as described above picks up three years later after both teens have now gone their separate ways. While Mia’s career is all gorgeous music and seems to be going in the direction she had always planned…. Adam’s is not.
Adam carries the loss of Mia on his shoulder. While he does have a girlfriend, she can not replace this image of Mia that he has in his mind. Through pain killers, late nights, and smoking, Adam is not the man he was three years ago. He is bitter, the band is always fighting and while they tour he does not even stay in the same hotel as they do…. Mia’s absence has left such a big hole in Adam that he keeps trying to fill it with all the wrong things trying to move on but winding up right back at square one.
This book was told from Adam’s perspective and at first I trudged through the background catch up story of Adam much like someone would trudge through a garbage dump. Carefully and watch where you are going… Adam’s life was dark and angry and author Gayle Forman reflects that well as she lays out a life for Adam that some on the outside may say is glamorous, (he is famous, girls fall at his feet, he has money…) but as you read into Adam’s life you will clearly see it is not glamorous at all.
It amazes me how I filled my mind with Adam’s world feeling that missing connection probably as much as he did and then how the book changes and flows once you bring Mia into the story. Mia is balance. And that is where I started relaxing into the read, curious as to where she really did go… and what that meant.
A satisfying sequel that leaves me with that feeling I have when I know I will think about a book long after that final page is closed. It touched me in the way that Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall did. How the paths we choose can lead us far and away and what it takes to find the right path again.
The 2011 WHERE Are You Reading Map had been updated to include Where She Went
I was uber excited to be offered this book for review after
my book club read If I Stay in February of this year.