Where She Went (If I Stay #2) by Gayle Forman

Posted July 6, 2017 by Debbie in Book Reviews / 2 Comments

Genres: Romance
Format: Paperback

Where She Went


Gayle Forman

It’s been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam’s life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Julliard’s rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia’s home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future – and each other.

Told from Adam’s point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.


~My Thoughts~

Where She Went is Adam’s story.  Adam, the character that I bonded with so deeply in the first book of this series If I Stay.  I think the reason I felt such an intense deep connection with Adam was the rawness of emotions that embodied this character.  I felt every word and action that was written upon the pages.  While If I Stay was really Mia’s story, for me the shining star of the entire series is Adam.

“..all I left with was the magnitude of my mistake, of my missing you. And I have to watch you from this distance, watch you achieve your dreams, live what seemed like this perfect life.”  

The story continues with perfect continuity and in just a few words I am once again caught in the web of the author’s words.  Adam’s grief, hardness, heartbreak, confusion and guilt are written with such deep-seated emotion.  I felt the raw and jagged edges penetrating my mind and slowly breaking me apart.  The writing is just that good.  You don’t read the words, you feel them.

Living the life Adam always believed he wanted is not all he thought it would be.  When a piece of you is missing, has disappeared without explanation, just getting through the day is an ongoing struggle.

 “Every morning I wake up and I tell myself this: It’s just one day, one twenty-four-hour period to get yourself through. I Don’t know when exactly I started giving myself this daily pep talk-or why. It sounds like a twelve-step mantra and I’m not in Anything Anonymous, though to read some of the crap they write about me, you’d think I should be. I have the kind of like a lot of people would probably sell a kidney to just experience a bit of. But still, I find the need to remind myself of the temporariness of a day, to reassure myself that I got through yesterday, I’ll get through today.”   

The further I read, the more invested I became.  I wanted with such desperation for Adam to have, if nothing else a fleeting sense of peace. I wanted Adam to get back just a pinch of the goodness he had given when it was needed. Much to my surprise the author heard me pleading and with the turn of the page …. Mia

“..all I left with was the magnitude of my mistake, of my missing you. And I have to watch you from this distance, watch you achieve your dreams, live what seemed like this perfect life.”

Complicated is the word that best describes what happens next.  No quick happy reunion.  No hugs, no baring of souls.  Pure and simple the author takes us on a journey of two people who at one time provided air for each to breath.

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. Maybe coming back to your old life would just be too painful, maybe it’d be easier for you to erase us. And that would suck, but I’d do it. I can lose you like that if I don’t lose you today. I’ll let you go. If you stay.

That was my vow. And it’s been my secret. My burden. My shame. That I asked her to stay. That she listened…

I wasn’t about to tell her about the promise I’d made. A promise that in the end, I was forced to keep.

But she knew.

No wonder she hates me.

Now they seem like strangers who at one point shared a past that is blurred by tragedy.  Trying to understand the decisions made in the past.  Hoping with desperation for a future.  Feeling as though the gaping hole between what happened and what could be will never be filled. The truths held inside but never spoken aloud.  The intense desire to expose your deepest fears.  Hope flickers like a flame, leaving you unsure if darkness is your future.  The truths that come out in jagged little pieces, whispered into the  winds, hoping they are heard.  The realization that sometimes what we think is for the best, isn’t.  The promises made without regard to ourselves. The truth of your words, laying upon the lips of the last person you ever thought you would see.  The memories become reality.  The realization of what you really want, what fills your heart and mind with peace and what brings the love you feel full circle.  Where She Went showcases the growth of Adam and Mia.  A beautiful mixture of both strength and vulnerability.  The writing of these two characters is strong, even when they are feeling unsure and uneasy.  There is a realness to these characters.  We are given full view into every aspect of their being, making them feel so damn real.  What starts out awkward, transforms over time to easy and is shattered in a moment, the story of Mia and Adam should not be missed.

Where She Went is an intensely emotional story.  A story that has settled deep within me. A story that I know has and will continue to leave a lasting impression in my mind and in my heart.



Rating Report
Overall: five-stars

2 responses to “Where She Went (If I Stay #2) by Gayle Forman

  1. I didn’t read the first book, but I watched directly the movie and I found it heartbreakingly beautiful…I have both the books but never seem to find myself in the right mood to start reading it, since I know I’ll end up crying most of them

    • Debbie

      I think I actually enjoyed book two a bit more than the first book. While it is sad at times I have to say the depth of the characters is what really made Where She Went special to me. Thanks so much for taking the time to read the review.

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