Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Where She Went by Gayle FormanWARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD FOR IF I STAY

Where She Went takes place three years after If I Stay and is told from Adam’s point of view. Adam and Mia have been apart for nearly three years now and their lives have gone in different directions. Adam has used their breakup as the driving force behind his music, which subsequently led to his success as a rock star. Mia went to Julliard and is now playing concerts at all the biggest venues. Right before Adam is supposed to leave for a tour in Europe, he and Mia run into each other in New York City for the first time in three years.

This book had a very different tone from the first book. Adam is very angry and depressed after all he has been through with Mia. He still loves her and is upset at how their breakup went, and he is depressed because even though he achieved everything he wanted to career-wise, he absolutely hates his career. He has fought to keep Mia’s name out of the press but unfortunately he can never get her completely out of his own head.

Where She Went is told in a similar fashion as If I Stay, alternating between current time and flashbacks. Through the flashbacks we learn what happened after Mia got out of the hospital and how their relationship began to decline when she moved to New York, and we also get to see how Adam’s career took off and what he has done since Mia left. What is hard for Adam also is that he constantly had to be there for Mia after she lost her family in the accident, but what many people didn’t realize was that he loved them as well so he was also hurting badly after their deaths and had nobody to comfort him.

When Adam and Mia meet up after all this time, it is awkward for them both at first. Adam is still angry with Mia for how she left things and isn’t entirely sure what spending time with her will result in. They are both leaving for different countries the next day–Adam to England and Mia to Japan–and know that they have only this one night to fix whatever went wrong between them and have closure. The direction that this book took was very interesting and I was definitely surprised at the way it ended.

Overall, Where She Went was a great follow up to If I Stay. I liked getting Adam’s perspective and it was interesting to see how much Mia’s family’s accident affected so many lives.

Where She Went was released on April 1, 2011 and is the second book in the If I Stay series.

 

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If I Stay by Gayle Forman

If I Stay by Gayle Forman“Sometimes you make choices in life and sometimes choices make you.”

Mia and her family decide to go out for a drive on a snowy day. When their car is hit by a truck, Mia is separated from her body and watches as she is taken to the hospital in critical condition. As she watches her life happen from outside her own body, she realizes that she has to make a choice: to return to her life after all she has lost, or to let herself die and move on.

This was such a beautiful story. Mia is such a rare teenager–she has a really wonderful family and she knows it. Most teenagers are constantly fighting with their parents but Mia absolutely loves her family and enjoys spending time with them and isn’t ashamed to admit it. This just makes it so much worse for her after the accident because she knows how much she has lost.

The story is told from Mia’s point of view from outside her body. She’s almost like a ghost–nobody can see or hear her; she’s just able to watch what is happening around her. The story jumps between what is happening in the hospital and flashbacks of Mia’s life growing up and her love story with Adam. I really liked how Forman did this–it allows the reader to get Mia’s story gradually and by the end of the book you’re just as torn as she is about the choice she has to make.

Mia probably wouldn’t be as torn about her decision if it wasn’t for Adam. She and Adam are completely different–he is into rock music and plays in a band and she is quiet and plays classical music on her cello–yet they balance each other out perfectly. They were already having problems in their relationship because their music careers were going in different directions, but they were fighting for a way to stay together. When Mia realizes that moving on and dying means also leaving Adam behind, she becomes even more unsure about her choice.

This book really makes you think about life and death, and what you would do when faced with a choice like Mia’s. Continuing on and living despite all she has lost is definitely the harder choice, especially since medically Mia will face a lot of challenges, but taking the easy way out and dying is the harder choice for the people she leaves behind. Mia begins to realize that her choice doesn’t only affect her, but instead will have an impact on everyone close to her.

Overall, If I Stay was a beautiful and powerful story that makes you realize how quickly our lives can change. I loved how the story was told in a back and forth way from Mia’s point of view, and I was literally unable to put this book down.

If I Stay was released on January 1, 2009 and is the first book in the If I Stay series. It is also being made into a movie that will be released on August 22, 2014.