Even Stevens’s CBR-III review #47 – Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Note: Where She Went is a sequel to If I Stay, and the synopsis of this book is going to contain SPOILERS about the first book.

Where She Went picks up three years after the events of the first book. Adam is our narrator this time around, and we find him a pretty big rock star now, living the life of the rich and famous but still feeling alone and missing Mia, whom he has not seen since they both left for college. Mia is now attending Juilliard, and through a little serendipity, the two of them meet up and try to bridge the gap that has formed over the last few years.

There’s not much more to the plot than that, but Forman’s talent lies in highlighting the little moments, great character development, and the emotional aftermath that comes with such a devastating event. Even though Mia pulled through, there was still plenty of pain and hurt, both physical and emotional, to work through. Through Adam, we get flashbacks to after the accident interspersed with the present day. Adam was a good narrator, and it was nice to get the story from his perspective, but I really missed Mia as a narrator, she was just that enjoyable in the first book.

Forman does a nice job of infusing uncertainty into the well-worn will they/won’t they set up, and the interaction between Adam and Mia feels natural, never forced. As with the first book, I really felt for these two and was rooting for them throughout. Though the stories are very different, this book often reminded me of the Before Sunrise and Before Sunset movies starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in tone and pace (if you haven’t seen them, I highly recommend them).

I found this to be a very satisfying conclusion to Adam and Mia’s story, and was glad to spend some more time with them, even if it did go by way too fast.

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