Today, it's time for another book review. After much cajoling by people online, I was encouraged to read Where She Went by Gayle Forman, the follow-up novel to If I Stay, which I read earlier this year.
If I Stay, if you hadn't heard of it, was a book about Mia, who after suffering a HUGE tragedy, has to be painfully aware of everything going on around her as she decides whether or not to stay on earth.
When I first read about If I Stay, I thought it would be hokey. The premise sounds good, but it also sounds hard to pull off, right? Well Forman did. It's a weirdly poetic, purposefully awkward, heart-wrenching kind of book. It's not something I clamored to read or had to tell everyone and their mom about when I finished, but it was extremely well-written and had a soft power to how it was told. If you wanted something emotionally charged and out of the regular, If I Stay is your book.
Where She Went is no different. The book is basically a slightly later on in life follow-up to If I Stay. Where If I Stay is from Mia's point of view as she works through everything, including watching her boyfriend Adam watch her, Where She Went is from Adam's point of view after he has everything he supposedly could want but still isn't happy. He's trying to reconcile his thoughts about Mia, and they have one night together, years after the first book, to figure out who they are to each other and what all happened between them.
I loved Adam in If I Stay. He's the rocker, literally, who has the heart of gold. Music is paramount in both books, and it was refreshing to see a YA really championing having a passion for something, and having a dream to be big in something. So, reading Where She Went was great for me because it was Adam all the time. I think Gayle Forman, overall, had a decent grasp on a 20-year-old hot guitarist male perspective.
Oh, and for those of you who were like me and had read If I Stay, but hadn't gotten to Where She Went yet, If I Stay dealt mainly in the past, out of necessity, through flashbacks. I'd say Where She Went dealt in the past of Adam too, also out of necessity, but also dealt a lot with his future anxieties.
I liked Where She Went more than If I Stay, but you need to read If I Stay to get the full weight of Where She Went.
Okay, here's for the traditional review points:
The Cover: Pretty. Doesn't make me clamor for it, but it matches the mood of the book, so it's effective.
The Plot: Like I said, Forman can write. Well. And it shows in this book. Her ability to weave in and out of the present without giving the reader whiplash is something worth reading about.
The Romantic Element: Confusing in this book. I don't think that's the right word. Romance is obviously there, and it's more authentic feeling than most, but overall, I felt more like saying "Hmm" than "Awww" at all times. It's still a good romance, but I liked the romance in If I Stay better, personally.
Carry-on factor: A lot of people love Gayle Forman, and they have lots of reasons to. If I Stay stuck with me. Where She Went fills in the gaps left from If I Stay. I'd say If I Stay has more carry-on factor, but Where She Went is the rest of the story, so you have to read it if you've read If I Stay.
Overall: Like I said, if you even remotely liked If I Stay, Where She Went is a must. If you like emotions, not just romantic, for a charged story, then these are your books and Gayle Forman is your writer. It's not about action; it's about loss and life and passion and talents, and love. So if that sounds like something you'd dig, these books, especially the second, are done well enough to satisfy. Good emotional reads all around.
Now let me know what you thought of If I Stay or Where She Went below, or if you're just now hearing about them, are they something you'd like?
Now to leave you with a song to write by, "I'm Not In Love" by 10 CCs. It is old school, funny, and I just like it as an untraditional romantic song. So, I feel it's appropriate, lol.
Note: I got my copy of Where She Went from the library, and I did not receive any compensation in exchange for this review (except if I sell any books through affiliate links). Thanks!