Author: Gayle Forman
Publisher: Speak (Penguin)
Released: 2010, 2012
Genre: YA Contemporary
Series: Yes, Books 1 & 2
In the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces- to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make.
Picking up several years after the dramatic conclusion of If I Stay, Where She Went continues the story of Adam and Mia, from Adam's point of view. Ever since Mia's decision to stay - but not with him - Adam's career has been on a wonderful trajectory. His album, borne from the anguish and pain of their breakup, has made him a bona fide star. And Mia herself has become a top-rate cellist, playing in some of the finest venues in the world. When their respective paths put them both in New York City at the same time, the result is a single night in which the two reunite - with wholly satisfying results.
I haven't been blogging for a while, because I know I won't have much time next semester to post reviews, possibly not even to read, and I was starting to embrace that. But when I read this series, I knew I had to write something. I was bursting to talk about it, to tell everyone I met how amazing the books are!
Both books each tell about a single day, but they have lots of flashbacks and memories so the character's entire story up to that point is told as well. I loved this style, especially in Where She Went, because I got the feeling that everything that happens on this one day is directly affected by what happened before, that everything that happens in a person's life is linked to everything else.
The music laced around the story is also really great. Especially in Where She Went, when some chapters are prefaced by an excerpt from the lyrics Adam wrote about his heartbreak. Funny thing, though, at the end of If I Stay, Gayle Forman says she can't write lyrics and so appropriated published songs for her fictional characters and bands. But in Where She Went, Adam's lyrics are obviously original - so who wrote them? Just wondering.
Mia's story, and her choice, in If I Stay is heartbreaking, but even in that book, I felt more of a connection to Adam. And Adam's story in Where She Went broke my heart into tiny little pieces and - thankfully - mended it together at the end of the book. I think that the magnitude of Mia's choice is shown more clearly in the second book, when she and Adam have a sob-worthy conversation/argument/soul-baring about what went down between them. Absolute heartbreak!
Basically, highest praise from me - the books made me cry multiple times, and my heart ached the rest of the time. If you haven't read these yet, what are you waiting for!!