Where She Went by Gayle Forman – Book Review

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The sequel to If I Stay, Where She Went is told from the perspective of Adam, the boyfriend left behind by Mia. But (spoiler alert to If I Stay), he was not left behind when she chose to pass away in her coma, but rather when Mia recovered, she took her position at Julliard and let their relationship end. Adam has now become a rock star, but suffers from anxiety and is all but estranged from his band and even himself. When he gets to see Mia again three years after her accident, they finally get to resolve issues.

It was going to be pretty darned hard for Gayle Forman to top If I Stay. I didn’t want to know whether Mia lived or died, and I didn’t care to know how Adam felt. But, Forman drew me in. The idea of the anxious rocker seemed a bit blah blah at first, but then I started to think: what of the people left behind? Touch wood I have never been through the types of trauma from If I Stay, but what do you do? If you are in a relationship with someone when they have a massive crisis like this, can it be maintained afterwards? Or is it doomed? So MANY questions!

In the end, I loved it. I found the last twenty or so pages a bit of a convenient fix, but not unrealistic. Ultimately, it was satisfying and I know I will be recommending these books to YA readers in the future.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman – Book Review

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Mia is seventeen, a cello virtuoso living in small town Oregon when the care she is travelling in with her parents and younger brother is involved in a car accident, leaving only her alive. As her body fights for its life, Mia’s spirit watches her boyfriend, her friends and family grieve and travels through her past. It seems the question of whether she lives or dies is up to her.

I cried a lot while reading this book. I am a book crier anyhow – I loves me a good cry! But really, look at that premise. It would take a pretty awful writer to use that premise and not squeeze a few tears out of me. Gayle Forman has created lovely characters – people who are like people we know, are like people we want in our lives – and then put us into a terrible position – do we hang on to them or let them go? I also love an ambiguous ending – although with a sequel, it wasn’t that much of a stretch to see where the story ended up. It’s certainly written of a YA audience, but I know if this book had been around when I was in my early teens, I’d have never stopped reading it!