Before you read anything in this review, I must say that summarizing this book, complete spoils the end of If I Stay. And If I Stay was as fantastic as it was because you didn’t know what Mia was going to choose. Know anything about this book, ruins that. So, if you haven’t read If I Stay, please do not read this, or any other, review of Where She Went. Don’t even look at the book in fact. Please. You’ll enjoy it more.
That being said, Where She Went was very similar to If I Stay, for me, in that I went into the book with an ultimatum. If it ended a certain way, I was going to LOVE it. But if it didn’t end that way, Gayle and I were not going to be friends. Ever. I probably wouldn’t have ever read another book by her.
This book is told from Adam’s point of view. Which was amazing. I’d completely fallen in love with Adam in If I Stay and getting to hear his voice, his thoughts and doubts and feelings, was amazing. When books switch point of view, I generally worry that we’re going to get too much. I like some characters, especially leading males, to have some mystery to them. But Forman does an amazing job of keeping a lot of Adam’s story a mystery from the reader, and also having a role reversal in the narrative.
Like If I Stay, Where She Went is told in a series of flashbacks intermingled with present day. And the reader learns very quickly that despite her miraculous recovery, Mia and Adam are no longer together. In fact that haven’t even spoken in years. And something is wrong with Adam. He has the life he’s always wanted, but he hates it. He has the girlfriend everyone wants but he just doesn’t care that much about her.
What I really loved about Adam in this is how is just teetering on the brink. And he knows it. He sees how he could continue on in the life he’s living, become the stereotypical burned out rock star, addicted to prescription drugs. But, throughout the beginning chapters, he just doesn’t see any other option.
The bulk of the book is taken up by a night long tour of New York City, visiting the characters favourite places, interspersed with flashbacks to see how the characters got to be where they are now. Even though it isn’t quite as heartbreaking as If I Stay, it certainly doesn’t make you fall in love with characters you already know are dead, it is sad and emotionally draining. In a good way. The scene on the bridge is heartbreaking in the best of ways. Does that make sense? It’s like everything up until that moment just had emotion pile on top of emotion, and frustration on top of frustration, and silence on top of silence. And then they break the silence, and have a sort of freedom. A freedom to heal.
And then the story ends in the same vein as If I Stay. With hope.
And with me sobbing.