Where She Went
Original reactions 6/26/12: I'm in love with Gayle Forman's writing! I admit, I was a tiny bit unsure of how it would come across since A) I was in love with the first book and B) since it was from Adam's first person point of view and not Mia's. I'm very happy to say that I was not disappointed! Although clearly (and thankfully) a different tone, we are not short on emotion or depth in any way. It was another heartwarming and heartbreaking story all at the same time. And.. I'm not ashamed (well maybe just a bit) to admit that I really did make me cry! I also think it was the fact that towards the end we got a few actual real song references (not Adam's fictional band), one of which being Sufjan Steven's song "Chicago" (so many of Sufjan's songs just get me - Don't even get me started on "Casimir Pulaski Day"), so it just brought me a whole separate layer deeper into the story.
Overall, I just loved it and my appreciation for Gayle's writing just grows!
Original review first posted on The Book Addict's Guide 6/26/12: I must admit, at first I was a little bit unsure that we were getting this story from Adam's perspective after falling totally in love with Mia's story in IF I STAY. Needless to say, I was sooo not disappointed! It took a small bit of adjusting from a female perspective to a male perspective since I wasn't all together ready for it, but writing from any angle, Gayle Forman does an amazing job with building characters and just overall beautiful writing. I definitely saw the difference between Mia's first person and Adam's -- I felt like in the first book, Mia had a very pronounced maturity to her tone and her presence whereas with Adam (and we're supposed to), we have more of a "dude" feel. By that, I don't mean that we have less emotion because that is nowhere near the case. The language mostly is just a little bit looser and we see a more masculine side, a little bit rougher without being abrasive, and a little less proper.
Okay, now to the story! I loved it. Love love love this series! If I was impressed with the first book, this one surely didn't disappoint me as I often fear with sequels. I immediately picked up on Adam's perspective and to be honest, despite his forthcoming of emotion at Mia's beside, I wasn't really sure if he was in love with Mia and how strong his feelings actually were. Throughout all of Where She Went, we see just how rough it's been on him since he and Mia stopped communicating and just how much she really did mean to him. She was his world, and you can see and feel the devastation coming from him.
Guys, I'm not afraid to admit it. I totally cried. I got so sucked into the story and I just totally let myself be thrown into that world. There was a totally heartbreaking moment which I needed to note, and as all of the poignant moments in my life (at least in my head), it had a soundtrack. Adam turns on Sufjan Steven's song "Chicago" -- and with that album (Illinoise) always standing out in my head as being particularly emotional (let's not even talk about "Casimir Pulaski Day" because I cry every time I hear that song), I completely lost it. During that scene as he's listening to that song, I had it playing in my head and I just started letting the tears fly. I've always been strong into music so I absolutely adore when authors put songs into their stories. It really brings me in a layer further and helps me actually put myself in the story since I have a connection to the music that's play (something I forgot to mention in my review of ONE MOMENT by Kristina McBride -- rats!). That, and I always wanted to be the person who puts together soundtracks for movies. Another dream job!
Sidenotes aside (wait, isn't that redundant?), I loved the story and I absolutely adore Gayle Forman's writing! I'm so glad I rushed to read this book so soon after the first! Usually I put a little gap in there so I get to enjoy a series as long as I can/as long as I can hold out, but when I found this in the library, I had to pick it up right away!
Re-read completed 9/2/13: Oh my. WHERE SHE WENT was even better the second time around, even better than IF I STAY. Adam's POV is absolutely heart-breaking but I love reveling in that pure emotion. The beauty, emotion, music, suspense... It was all so amazing, even when I knew exactly what happened next.
Re-read review originally posted HERE on The Book Addict's Guide 9/23/13: I am SO glad that I re-read WHERE SHE WENT. I remember adoring both IF I STAY and WHERE SHE WENT the first time around, but I had forgotten how emotional these two books were, especially picking up Adam's point of view in WHERE SHE WENT.
Adam's point of view is so... raw. He doesn't hold anything back in his narration and I really felt everything he was feeling -- small and ... well, enormous. He's got some BIG FEELS in this book. Sometimes it was hard to watch and to see him in that much pain and constantly try to push it down or shove it away. For reasons I can't explain, I feel like it was that much more emotional because it was a male POV. You guys... Adam is 100% my favorite male POV of all YA. No wait. Of all time. His voice is so genuine and I feel like reading WHERE SHE WENT from his point of view captures all of the feelings that he's holding back from the entire world. That's pretty big stuff.
I love catching up with Mia and Adam three years later and seeing where they are in their lives. This is a pretty significant jump in time from where we left off in IF I STAY, but Gayle Forman knew what she was doing. This is where the real story picks up again and we get a lot of the details from what happened in the past three years in flashbacks. Now usually, I don't like flashbacks. Actually, no, that's not true. Usually I'm very picky with flashbacks because a lot of the time I feel like they're not necessary and could have been summed up in dialogue or recounted by the main character. I do, however, love the flashbacks in IF I STAY/WHERE SHE WENT. They felt totally natural to the story and contained a lot of important information that we need to know for the present-day story.
Once again, I find that music supplements a story to help draw me in even more. Just that one instance where Adam borrows an iPod and scrolls through a playlist... When I see music I love in a book or I can just hear a single song and imagine the characters listening to that one as well, somehow I just get that connection and it really adds to my reading experience. As far as the Shooting Star music goes, I could take it or leave it. I usually don't get anything from fabricated lyrics because I have no connection to them... It doesn't usually detract from the book, but it doesn't really do anything for me!
I get ALL THE FEELS from WHERE SHE WENT. I loved every second of my re-read and I really enjoyed the male POV from Adam. Everything was so emotional and raw and it was just a really different feel for me. So glad I got to re-read this one!
It. Was. Beautiful. Honestly, was super wary of a sequel to If I Stay. That book was amazing. This couldn't possibly be as amazing. But it almost was. I say almost, because the middle part with Mia wandering around New York annoyed me a bit. They fell into the whole "we're gonna be mad at each other but also not ask the obvious questions because why would we do that, that would be too easy" thing. So that's annoying. But overall, so well-written and has a happy ending. You won't be sobbing like with If I Stay.
Overall: Katniss can't roll her eyes hard enough at this cheesiness but she takes some cues from it about how to behave with Peeta.