Sunday, December 11, 2011

Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Where She Went
Gayle Forman
If I Stay #1

Where She Went was a little bit of a letdown for me.

It was still really good, which should tell you something about just how spectacular If I Stay was. It just didn't hit me the same way If I Stay did.

For one thing, I didn't expect Adam to be the narrator. I read the first couple of paragraphs while thinking to myself, hmmm, this doesn't sound like Mia. This is because it was not Mia. Kudos to the author for creating characters real enough that I could tell right away the narrator was different.

Three years after the events of If I Stay, Adam is a rock star. He and Shooting Star are about to go on tour in Europe. He's successful in every possibly measurable way and he can't take it any more. The constant badgering from fans, invasive interviews, and the distance between him and the rest of the band conspire to make him absolutely miserable, and it can all be traced to one person: Mia. Without her, his life is empty.

Forman wrote excellent awkwardness between Adam and Mia when the ran into each other again. It was painful to read. Where She Went is told in the same nonlinear style as If I Stay, but Forman is once again quite clear in depicting when events are in the present and when they're in the past.

I really felt for Adam in this book. As before, Forman does a wonderful job connecting her readers to her characters. His reaction to the constant recognition made perfect sense to me, because I would hate being famous. But while I completely understand that he was devastated by Mia's leaving without a word, he was a little overly self-destructive and unreachable considering this is something that happened three years ago. I kind of sympathized with his bandmates, though I could also see that he was trying. Maybe that's why I didn't like this book as much as If I Stay; I don't really know.

Where She Went is more than worth reading. It's just that If I Stay set the bar so impossibly high that the sequel didn't quite make it over.

Quality: Excellent
Enjoyability: Excellent

If you liked Where She Went, try:
Lament by Maggie Stiefvater
The Last Light of the Sun by Guy Gavriel Kay

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