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Review: Where She Went by Gayle Forman

WARNING: If you haven't read IF I STAY, then you probably shouldn't read this review. Especially since it may contain spoilers!

W h e r e  S h e  W e n t by Gayle Forman
Release Date: 4/5/11 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Age Group: Older Teens/Young Adults
Pages: 264
Source: Own/purchased
Challenge: 2nds Challenge
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kindle
Word Blurb: Heartbreaking, devastating, relieving!
"It's been three years since the devastating accident ... three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Julliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future - and each other.

Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance."

So, after leaving off in IF I STAY, the predecessor of WHERE SHE WENT, I wondered about what was going to happen next. And this book answered all of my questions.While things didn't turn out as I'd hoped they would by the end of IF I STAY, the story is still beautiful in its own right. Reading in Adam's POV of the events that took place during IF I STAY, some of the flashes of the past with Mia and her family, all the way unto now during WHERE SHE WENT, I really saw how Adam was effected by everything. And I felt for him; I was heartbroken for him. Forman masterfully created another fantastic and heartfelt story about loss and moving on, skillfully fabricated these amazing, memorable characters that stuck with me long after I'd finished reading...

I loved Adam in IF I STAY. He's adorable, with this underlying sweetness, this intense love for the shy and awkward Mia, and an obvious passion for music. What's not to love? So, to see how the aftershocks of IF I STAY left him was so upsetting to me. This wonderful guy basically went through hell in a span of three years, since Mia cut herself off from him. To top it off, he was left floundering, for answers, for reasons, for an explanation as to why Mia just decided to leave him. (I remember hating Mia for this, until things are later explained.) And after reading WHERE SHE WENT, I got to see how much Adam genuinely loved Mia's family, and how much they loved him - including him in everything they did, always wanting him around. To see that their deaths left him shattered... was extremely painful.

Not to mention that his life has since then turned to sh**, and his personality has altered to match. No longer is Adam that nice, sweet teenager from Oregon, but a miserable adult and celebrity living in L.A. So, one can see why I would be desperate for Mia to return to him, through this chance encounter in New York that I'd heard about. It was great, seeing that their connection hadn't faded, their physical and emotional reactions to one another hadn't withered, and that, despite everything that happened up until that point, they are still familiar to each other, syncing into this old, familiar rhythm.

Seeing a changed Mia was a little shocking as well. She grew up with a little bit of confidence, and I was happy that her career as cellist skyrocketed. And, after everything on her side was explained, I felt for her. I stopped blaming her for everything that went wrong with Adam's life, while, simultaneously, so did Adam.

Adam's growth, and release of his hold on the past, the bitterness, and the resentment, all lead up to one magnificent ending. One that I was hoping for this pair all along. I'm sad to see these books come to a close, but overall, I was incredibly happy with WHERE SHE WENT, a wonderful, fitting sequel to the emotional IF I STAY.

"Mia looks down at my outstretched hand, opens her mouth to say something, the just sighs. Her face hardens into a mask as she reaches out her own hand to take mine.
The tremor in my hand has become so normal, so nonstop, that it's generally imperceptible to me. But as soon as my fingers close around Mia's, the thing I notice is that it stops and suddenly it goes quiet, like when the squall of feedback is suddenly cut when someone switches off the amp. And I could linger here forever.
Except this is a handshake, nothing more. And in a few seconds my hand is at my side and it's like I've transferred a little of my crazy to Mia because it looks like her own hand is trembling" (56-57 | 264).

Thanks for reading! And happy blogging!

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