If I Stay was one of my favourite reads of 2009 - it was one of those books that became so much more than just the sum of it parts. It completely blew me away. When I heard there was going to be a sequel I have to admit I was excited but also worried - I just couldn't see how it could possibly compare. But how wrong was I to be even slightly concerned? I loved this one as much as If I Stay, maybe even more!
It's been 3 years since the events of If I Stay and Adam is now at the 'height' of his musical career. Famous, easily recognised he finds his success not what he thought it would be. And despite it being years since she left, Adam hasn't stopped loving Mia. When he finds himself stuck in New York for the night it leads to a meeting with Mia ...
I really like Adam in If I Stay but I absolutely adored him in this. There is just something so raw and brutally honest about his narration. He obviously misses Mia but it's more than that - he's still grieving for her family. I also found it interesting that he didn't like the fame that came with his success as a musician - that he no longer enjoyed what it was he loved about playing in the first place.
Mia was just as I remembered her and I enjoyed seeing her through Adam's eyes. Losing your whole family is impossible to conceive - and how you would continue your life after is equally unfathomable. I would imagine you would either embrace whoever is left in your life or lash out at them. I'm guessing cutting Adam out of her life must have been her way of lashing out. But everything she says - has done - makes complete sense.
The interaction between the two felt as if they were just picking up where they left off - and that fate brought them back together at just the right time. I just couldn't stop reading - I honestly felt as if I could have read forever and I had to know if these two characters would get a 'happy' ending.
A stunning sequel, beautifully written, with characters that will capture your heart. It is a story of loss and love - choosing how you want to live your life and having the courage to actually live it in the way you want.
A perfect companion to If I Stay - I absolutely loved it!
on 20 February 2012
Where She Went isn't the kind of book you can forget about easily. It's a book that can teach you about hard hitting situations, about fame, about relationships and, most importantly, about love. This book will break your heart, yet give you an ending that's so perfect, so right.
I've become attached to the main characters, Mia and Adam, they are amazing, and I admire the love they share. At the start of this book, I hated Mia. I hated her so much. I couldn't even bare to see her name. She broke Adam's heart, and as I was reading this book I could feel his pain. I could feel how confused and devasted he was. Imagine how that must feel for a boy? Not knowing why the girl you loved with all your heart dumped you? Three years. Waking up every single day, confused and lost.
Forman does a brilliant job telling the story from Adam's point of view without sounding like a tormented girl. I think Adam is one of a kind, you can't find many boys in the world like him. But after reading If I Stay and Where She Went, I realise you have to be patient, you don't have to look so hard, be yourself, like Mia was doing when Adam first saw her.
When Adam and Mia bumped into each other, I could feel how awkward it was. But when they started talking about their relationship, they let their feelings out. Three years worth of pain and loss. They replayed the accident that ruined everything, they talked and when they finished talking on that boat. There was no hope left in me. I was in tears. But then Mia came back, she explained everything to Adam. And that little ounce of hope for them getting back together got me through the book, without putting it down and getting a tissue.
I'm heart broken. This is book was the final book in the If I Stay series, I would have loved a third book but I guess the ending to Where She Went is so powerful you don't really need another book. But it would have been nice if there was.
I have to stress how much I love Forman's books. They are absolutely stunning. If I Stay and Where She Went are two of the best books I have ever read. It tops Harry Potter for me. They will stay with me for a long time.
The plot of the novel essentially focuses on a couple of days in the life of Adam and Mia, although there are occasional flashbacks to events that happened before. (It seems that these events happened in the novel before this one, "If I Stay" which does at least highlight that it is not necessary to have read the first in order to enjoy this one - I certainly hadn't). It is a tricky thing to produce a novel that limits its storyline to the events of a few days, and especially if the novel is not an action-packed thriller or something along those lines, which "Where she went" definitely is not. No, this novel deals with emotions and as such, the limited time frame and the lack of action, could have made it drag; and yet it didn't. Emotions were beautifully depicted in this novel and I should imagine that anyone who has suffered a lost love, regret or the lack of joy in life that comes with depression, would relate to Adam, our protagonist. His emotions were vividly expressed to the reader and this is where the author's skill came to the fore. Not much happened in the novel in terms of events, but there was a rollercoaster of emotions, and if this is the sort of thing that draws you, then you may well like this.
The premise is simple: Adam is a successful rock-star who has never quite recovered from a breakup with his girlfriend, Mia, who was involved in a horrific accident, but who has now recovered to become a world-renowned cellist. Adam seems to have it all - celebrity, money, a meteoric rise to fame, a beautiful girlfriend, and yet he feels something is lacking and finds no joy in his life. He is detached from his friends and from the things that should bring him joy, and his lacklustre attitude is one of the best portrayals I have seen in a novel for a long time. When he meets up with Mia again, the effect on him is staggering, and that's where I shall leave it as I don't want to give any spoilers.
on 31 July 2011
I liked Where She Went a lot more than If I Stay. Adam's point of view was refreshing, especially as I liked him more than Mia's character in If I Stay. Interestingly enough, from his perspective, I learned to like Mia more as well.
I also preferred the writing in this book and Gayle Forman does a fantastic job at conveying Adam's grief. I felt so sorry for him in certain parts of the book and could imagine how awful it would be to have his life. There were a few clichés in this book, for example the fed-up rock star who hates crowded places, but they didn't feel quite as tired as those in If I Stay. I could really empathise with Adam, you could see how lonely he was, without Mia.
I also really loved the flashbacks in this book. They added a lot to the storyline, considering how much time had passed since the accident. It was interesting to learn how drastically Adam's life had changed, especially with the band.
The end of the book kept me on my toes and I was so happy with the outcome. I was really unsure what would happen in the last few chapters, Gayle Forman certainly kept me guessing.
4 stars - This was a good ending to the If I Stay series and you are left with a feeling of satisfaction.
on 12 April 2015
Review: I'd been wanting to pick up this novel from the moment I put down If I Stay, I HAD to find out what happens next, but then I HAD to wait until the book was delivered! I love the fact that this is a sequel but this is a sequel three years on and from Adam's perspective when the last novel was from Mia's POV. I think that was a very good choice on the part of this author! You are dropped right into the action, we catch up with Adam and what he has been up to with his band and it becomes apparent straight away that whilst the first novel deals with death and grief and trauma as well as romance and love and friendship, this novel is going to be decidedly darker, Adam is not as well left him in If I Stay.
I'm really not sure I like Adam as a character in this novel, whilst i Liked him in the previous novel, I'm not sure I'm crazy about what he has become. I think though that this is down to circumstance and what he has been through and so I really didn't hold it against him, I still wanted to find out Where She Went. Mia too is a very different character from the first novel she is much stronger now, much more independent, which I liked, but she is also in a much darker place because of the loss and the grief and the new life that she has, but I still really loved catching up with her life and seeing what ending she would be left with at the end of the novel.
One of the really great things about this novel is the setting. I love books set in New York and so we get some wonderful descriptions of the city and Mia and Adam get to see secret places that Mia has found during her time there. The pace of the book wasn't quite a quick as the previous novel, i wasn't desperately running the pages dying to find out what would happen next, but because of the length of the book, I still read it in a day!
Overall, if you've not read any Gayle Forman before then this duet of novels would be a great place to start. They are easy reads but thoroughly enjoyable and well worth the short time it takes to read them. Most key issues are covered in both books as well as so they are well rounded reads. I didn't enjoy this novel as much as the first but I still found it a pleasant book and it was great to have some closure on If I stay!
on 22 January 2015
When I finished listening to 'If I Stay' I was desperate to find out what happened next, I had this book ready and couldn't wait to open it. Life got in the way a bit and it was about 3 days before I was able to pick this one up, but thoughts of the characters and that world stayed with me, they were in my thoughts, I even had a dream about it which was weird. So I knew I had to get back to it as soon as I could.
My initial reaction when picking up the book was disappointment - it's set 3 years after the end of Stay. That is a massive leap and I was hoping it would carry on right where the other left off. But I loved the story and Forman's writing so I decided to persevere, hoping that those 3 years would be filled in at some point to let us know how we got here.
My next shock was that this one was told from Adam's perspective not Mia's which seemed a bit alien at first but I soon found myself enjoying his voice, fitting into his world, walking beside him as he went through each day.
The book is divided between current events of Adam's life and things that have happened over the past few years.
I don't want to give too much away as I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't read it, but I was shocked by some of the turn of events. Not Adam's job - I always knew he would make it, but the sheer loneliness of his life was shocking, and it was almost like his waves of misery would flow off the page from him. I wanted to reach in and reassure him that it would all be ok.
The more I read, the more the gaps were filled in and I felt myself settling back into the story, and realising why it was written that way - and I have to admit it was the perfect way to do it. Everything suddenly just felt right, made sense and worked out - I understood what had happened and how they had got here and the bonus is you get a bigger look at their future.
I actually found myself disliking Mia a little bit - some of her choices were just mean and to be honest - selfish. But after all she went through you can kind of understand that, but I still don't think it's a real excuse.
Adam weaves his world around you until you are absorbed and I didn't want the book to end, but at the same time I was desperate to find out how it finished.
This is honestly one of the best series I have ever read, it's story swept me up and churned me through a whirlwind of emotions. It has stayed with me and the characters feel like old school friends.
So although not what I expected at first, I would highly recommend these books to other people, only slight warning to younger readers - some content may not be suitable but nothing too bad or shocking.
This is a wonderful follow up to "If I stay" and I really think I enjoyed it more than the first book.
"Where she went" is written from the perspective of Adam 3 years on from "If I stay". Adam and Mia are no longer together, but Adam has made it in terms of his music career, but he no longer enjoys it or the fame which goes with it. He still mourns the loss of Mia's family in his life and we get to feel the depth of his feeling over the loss of Mia herself in his life and this is beautifully translated through the emotions written in the pages, that have a wonderful sense of realism.
Adam meets Mia again and his life is again an emotional rollercoatser, as they both deal with the baggage from the trauma of the accident in "If I stay", as we find this is what led to their break up, with Mia growing to resent Adam for making her stay.
There is enough in this novel to know what has gone before, for those who have not read "If I stay" and it can be read on it own merit, but I just think that the two books should be read together, because they do compliment each other and help you to get the whole picture between Adam and Mia and leads to a deeper understanding of both characters.
It is a tear jerking read that you will find hard to put down.
Where She Went is the sequel to If I Stay, and despite not having read those I was completely sucked into this book. I wasn't just shown that Adam is a man troubled by the pressures of success and the demons of his past, but the writing drew me in so well that I felt everything Adam felt. So when he meets with Mia, the love of his life who left him broken and lost, I was thoroughly on board for the emotional rollercoaster that followed. Over 24 hours the two face the pain of the events of the past, the accident that took Mia's family, the pain that followed and their subsequent breakup. The whole time I was dying to know whether they would get back together or not. Did they? Well, you'll have to read it to find out!
You wont regret it!
Adam, "If you stay, I’ll do whatever you want. I’ll quit the band; go with you to New York. But if you need me to go away, I’ll do that too. .. And that would suck, but I’ll do it. I can lose you like that, if I don’t lose you today. I’ll let you go. If you stay."
I loved If I Stay and it broke my heart.
This is book two (although it's not essential to have read the earlier book) The story follows three years after Mia awoke from her coma. In this continuation, we hear from Adam’s point of view. It's just as tuching.
A strong 5 out of 5
on 27 September 2014
My Thoughts On The Book:
~Review Contains Spoilers to If I Stay~
I read this book straight after reading the fabulous If I Stay. I went into it unsure as to whether it would be able to have the same emotional impact that If I Stay had as we are now three years after the tragic incident that nearly stole Mia away from Adam and it was that tragedy that made If I Stay the book it was, how could the emotions be replicated?
Three years later, Mia is alive but her and Adam are no longer together and it's been a long time since Mia walked away from him. Adam is trying to get on with his life until a series of event leads to a chance meeting between the two, can they resolve the issues that drove them apart?
As with If I Stay this isn't the biggest book in the world, it's compact and it's an easy book to spoil with just a few choice words so I will be keeping the review short so I don't ruin the book for anyone who hasn't read it yet.
What is there to love about this book?
Okay, I did love this book although it didn't have quite the same emotional impact If I Stay had as it was the tragedy from that book that did it for me and this book is missing that. Don't get me wrong as this book is still stocked full of emotion but it's a different kind of emotion, this time it's love and loss of a different kind, the kind of loss that only comes from hard hitting break ups. This time the tale is told from Adam's point of view, rather than Mia's and we get the story from If I Stay in parts from his point of view which gives us a more rounded view of those event along with the current times too. We get to feel how Adam feels about Mia, the accident and how hard the subsequent 'off screen' break-up was on him and it's easy to say that he' a bit of an emotional wreck in more ways than one, he's fighting losing Mia and fighting his new found music fame, he's a hot stinking mess and it makes for an interesting read. It's fascinating to get a glimpse of the other side of music fame and to watch Adam struggle with it all. There is also something very endearing about a man in this kind of emotional pain and I have to admit to being a complete sucker for a man in tears, showing that kind of heart-wrenching emotion.
Was there anything not so good?
Again, like with If I Stay I'm really struggling to remember anything about the book that I didn't love. There may have been something but it's been forgotten and buried under the depth of all the positives.
Was it an interesting and enjoyable to read?
It was, as I said before you get a very interesting glimpse into the backside of rockstar fame and how some find it impossible to deal with and then add an already quite emotionally fragile mind to it and you can see why Adam in unhappy with his life and just how hard he found thing when Mia walked out of his life one day with no goodbye, she was just gone and there was no real break up as she just left and never came back. Again, as I said I am a sucker for an emotional man so this book was a joy for me to read, I found Adam attractive in a way I didn't find him last time and I really liked that about this book. You feel every inch of the sheer turmoil Adam in in both before and after his chance meeting with Mia, then you have to add the Mia factor to the book and we get to find out why she left him like she did and we discover how much baggage from the accident that he was carrying too and she found herself hating Adam for making her stay with the living instead of dying, it's harsh but realistic and quite beautiful to read about the post-traumatic aftermath from both Mia and Adam's side of things.
Was it a well written book?
As with the last book it is a beautifully written tale, again it's heart-wrenching and stuffed full of emotional impacts that you don't expect. It's a surprising book as you are never sure it will hit you as hard as If I Stay until it does, and it really does get to you. Gayle Forman is a very talented writer, her pacing is impeccable and her imagery is immense. She knows how to write something that will punch you right in the gut and how to write a book that with linger with you long after reading it, it leaves so much detail with you and that's a really skill and a sign of the fantastically put together book.
Would you recommend it to others?
If you If I Stay then you just read this one too so you see the aftermath of those sad events. So do Adam and Mia find some kind of happy ending? Well, you'll just have to read it to find out for yourselves now won't you, just keep some tissues to hand!