Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Where She Went by Gayle Forman- an ARC review

Every day I wake up and I tell myself this:  It's just one day, one twenty-four-hour period to get yourself through.

It's been years since Adam has seen Mia, but she's never left his thoughts.  Infact, every song on the album that sky rocketed his band to fame was written with Mia in mind.

When Adam decides to take a later flight for his band's European tour, the memory of Mia is brought up all over again by a reporter who can't help but ask the questions that she was told specifically not to ask.  After going off on the reporter, Adam decides to take a walk instead of going back to his hotel room to "disconnect," it's in that moment that he sees a poster for a cello concert and the star performer just happens to be Mia.

Adam thinks he can just go incognito.  No one should recognize him at a cello concert, but an usher pulls him aside after the performance and tells him that Mia wishes to see him.

One night is all they have together.  Mia leaves for Japan the next day and Adam for Europe, but it's that one night together that they both needed.  To see where they went.

In this highly anticipated follow up to IF I STAY, Forman crafts a story that is so beautifully written that I found myself hanging on every single word.  She uses the cliches of the Rocker and Classical musician lifestyle and explains them so stunningly that you feel like you understand why every Rock Star and classical musician act like they do.  It wasn't just the words that drew me, but every facet of the story had me glued to the pages and to the world that she created in the original novel.  It may have been years since we first met Adam and Mia, but it feels like they had never left.

Release date:  April 5, 2011
Page Count:  208
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult
Similar to:  Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan 
Recommended for:  Girls 12 and up
Stars: 5/5

The good:

*I don't want to sound like a pretentious English snob, but the voice and writing was just beautiful.  There is no other word to describe it.  Forman used the Rockstar and Classical musician cliches, but described them in such a way that they didn't feel like cliches.  You felt as if you actually KNEW the characters and why they acted in these cliched ways.  There were even parts in the story in which Forman pointed out the cliches and then explained them in a way that made them feel like real people instead of stereotyped characters.

* One of the things that I really liked about this novel was that even though it was a sequel, it didn't feel like a sequel.  IF I STAY was written from Mia's point of view and at differant times in the character's lives.  Fast forward three years WHERE SHE WENT is written from Adam's point of view with flashbacks to the times inbetween.  She didn't have to do the long and drawn out backstory it just flowed along with the story in such a way that you almost didn't need to read the first book to understand this one.

The not-as-good:

* I know I sound like a broken record, but I really don't like pop culture references in novels because I feel like it dates them.  The phrase 'The new Nirvana' was used at one point to describe Adam's band and I didn't mind that one because I feel that Nirvana is timeless and people get the reference of a newer Seattle grunge band.  What I didn't like was references to current pop stars or even talking about a record surpassing Lady Gaga's.  I think that Lady Gaga and Britney Spears are icons of the younger generation, but I'm not sure if in 20 years someone will read this novel and still see Lady Gaga at the top of the music charts.

* This novel sort of teeters on the Young Adult market.  In the first book the characters were younger, approaching college aged but not quite there.  In this sequel it actually borders more on the adult/women's fiction side since the characters are out of college and in their early twenties.  (Can we get a genre for this, please?)  I don't know if it was because of this age difference, but some of the word usage threw me for a loop as the characters used what I like to call 'SAT' words.  There were only a few times that I saw these bigger words that a younger audience would have no idea what they mean (and by younger I mean that I had to use the thesaurus) and it kind of pulls you out of the story when that happens.  Granted, this is an older couple now and the SAT words actually made sense in the context of the story, but sometimes I feel like it's better to just describe out the word or just use something differant instead of an SAT word.

All in all this is probably one of the best written novels that I have ever read.  Just the way the words flowed to make a story enticed me to never want to leave the world that Forman created.  I highly recommend that even if you haven't read the first book to go and pick up this charming sequel.  Trust me, it's worth it.


  1. I CANNOT WAIT to read this book. *sobs* Thanks for the review!!

  2. I'm really excited to read this one. I Loved IF I STAY! Can't wait to read about these characters again.

  3. I'm looking forward to this one. I *loved* If I Stay. Forman has such a wonderful style.


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