Sunday, May 29, 2011

WHERE SHE WENT by Gayle Forman

Title: WHERE SHE WENT (sequel to IF I STAY)
Author: Gayle Forman
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Release Date: April 5, 2011
Number of Pages: 264
Source of Book: Won ARC in contest from ifistaynovels.com provided by publisher
Author's Website: www.gayleforman.com

Goodreads Summary:
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.
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I finished this book over a month ago (and I lost sleep because I was up reading until I couldn't keep my eyes open anymore), and I'm still in awe of the genius writing of Gayle Forman. When I first read IF I STAY, it was because I had heard so much about it - little did I know what I was in for. Gayle Forman has a unique ability to draw a reader into a book and grab at your emotions and twist and turn them until you feel so caught up in the character's journey that you would do anything just to give the character a hug or a helping hand. Her books are not ones that you can put down. It's an emotional journey to read IF I STAY or WHERE SHE WENT, but one that you must take! But make sure you read them in order!!! (and if you haven't read IF I STAY yet, why the heck not?!?) 

WHERE SHE WENT takes place three years later and switches view points from when we had insight into Mia's thoughts in If I Stay to now seeing Adam's anger, heartbreak, and despair. Adam is now a big rock star and his band has hit it big and is heading off on a European tour, but Adam is devastated, and as the reader, you feel it from the first pages. The Adam I loved in the first book is still there somewhere, but he's been beaten down and lost himself when Mia broke up with him. The writing is straight-forward, but pulls you in instantly. This is contemporary realistic teen fiction writing at it's best. This book very much has the feel of a "one night in the life of" kind of story. It's takes place in New York, it includes chance encounters, it flashes back to Adam's perspective of what happened with Mia and her family, and it shows us where Mia is now. 

The thing I love the most about Adam and Mia is the way they are always looking out for each other. They are such a great, honest couple because they truly want the best for the other, but they've been through such grief and tragedy that they need to resolve those issues before they can be happy and hopeful together. The journey that Adam and Mia have to take to understand each other, forgive each other, communicate their true feelings, and hold on to each other is wrought with emotion, frustration, and love. And ultimately, this is a true love story - one that was three years in the making. Read this one - you will begin your own love story with Gayle Forman's writing. I'm so glad she revisited Mia's world and explored how Adam would have reacted to the tragic events in the first story. It's realistic, it's gritty, and it's hopeful. I can't wait to see what she has in store for us next in her writing career!

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