Where She Went/Gayle Forman Read Along – Week 1

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Welcome to the first post in the WHERE SHE WENT read along, the third leg on the GAYLE FORMAN READ ALONG! A big thanks to Alexa at Alexa Loves Books for hosting this leg. You can find the schedule, questions, and chapter breakdown at her blog.

Week 1: August 15-21: Chapters 1-6
Week 2: August 22-28: Chapters 7-12
Week 3: August 29 – September 4: Chapters 13-18
Week 4: September 5-11: Chapters 19-23

We’ve just read the chapters for Week 1 of the read along and if you missed the questions or need help with any details, Alexa’s got it all for you!

Haven’t signed up for the read along yet? Don’t worry! You can still join us for WHERE SHE WENT or the other two books left on the GFRA!

QUESTIONS: WEEK 1

Adam has changed a lot since we last saw him in If I Stay. Any guesses as to what happened between him and Mia? Him and the band? In his personal life? What do you think of the “new” Adam we find in the first chapter?
OH, ADAM. My gosh, how I love him. I feel SO bad for him. He has just fallen to pieces since his separation from Mia. “New” Adam is a musical genius, but part of his success is due to all of his heartbreak from not being with Mia. It seems like he’s just fallen into this deep despair and lost such a huge part of his life and aside from his music career, everything else is barely hanging on. Right from the start of this book, my heart is honestly breaking for him and I forgot just how emotional WHERE SHE WENT is.

How do you feel about Mia’s determination to go to Julliard right away, instead of deferring for a year? Do you think it was the right decision for her to immediately leave the familiar, the scene of her greatest trauma and grief and head to an unfamiliar, new place?
I think part of it is just Mia’s personality and her determination to accomplish what she knows she can, part of it is her desire to probably go to New York and away from the reminder that her family is gone, and another part to start over and do something that she really loves and is successful doing. A year is a really long time. What would Mia do in the year that she defers? I think it would be worse for her to have stayed and rehabbed at home with all of the reminders of grief and the added stress of her not being at Julliard. Her music is helping her rehab and she has the determination to go to Julliard that quickly.

What do you think of Mia and Adam’s first reunion after three years?
That. Scene. Just. Killed me. (I’m answering these questions AS I’m reading, by the way — or at least this section — so everything is so fresh and emotional.)
I loved the inner monologue in Adam’s head of all the questions he wanted to ask Mia. The things he couldn’t say. How it was Mia, seemingly mostly calm, breaking the ice first. It’s also so perfectly awkward because that seems EXACTLY like what would happen if two people with such a love finally saw each other for the first time in years. Gayle is a brilliant writer and that scene… Just SO many emotions.

Grief strikes people different, as we see Adam grieving when he and Mia break up. Have you ever experienced the same intensity of grief? How did you survive it or move on from it? What do you think of Kim’s role in helping Adam snap out of his grief?
Adam feels that it’s wrong to even try to compare it to Mia losing her family, but the grief is there just the same. For Adam, the break-up had a different aspect of pain in the sense that he felt totally alone. Without Mia there, there was no one to lean on, no one to help him through the hurt. He goes day to day, just going through the motions, unsure of what to do without Mia.
I haven’t had a REALLY bad break-up. My longest relationship is the only one that really stuck and now we’re engaged so I can’t say that I’ve been through that kind of devastation. I thought I had my heart broken once but looking back, it was half true emotions, half teenage melodrama! It all felt very real at the time though and I definitely draw on those emotions as I’m reading Adam’s story and as I try to plot for the WIP I plan on using for NaNo in November (EEK).
I loved Kim’s part in helping Adam deal with the break up… Whether it was intentional or not. I do wonder what she wanted out of that visit. Did she have more in mind than visiting Adam? Or was she just seeing an old friend? Did she know he needed help to snap out of it? I guess not since she figured he’d be at the House of Rock. Either way, she was instrumental (no pun intended) of getting Adam off his butt. LOVED it. And yet, STILL SO HEARTBREAKING. Damnit, Adam.

Song lyrics can sometimes describe our feelings about situations completely, as Adam’s lyrics for the songs on the Collateral Damage album describe his feelings after Mia dumped him. What are some song lyrics that describe feelings you’ve had or memories?
“Kill” by Jimmy Eat World will always, always remind me of my dating life because of the lyrics and I just feel such a connection to that song. Another one is “Between the Lines” by Sara Barielles. Really, neither of those ENTIRE songs fit my relationship “woes” but there’s one line here and another line there that just hit straight to the heart and I just FEEL it every time. Isn’t that weird? Being in a totally happy, loving relationship and those old songs still bring back such strong memories of the hurt that used to be there. I’m also a really emotional person in general so I tend to carry a lot of memories and feelings with me at all time. Music is such a great connection for emotions for me — both happy and sad — so when I make an emotional connection to a song, it tends to stick for a long time and bring up that emotion whenever I hear it.
I don’t really get sad listening to those song as I used to do and just revel in that sadness, but I DO acknowledge it and I use it as a point of emotional reference for writing now (well… the very beginnings of my WIP, anyway). It won’t be something that I forget, but that doesn’t mean that I’m also still hung up on it!

Those were AMAZING questions, Alexa! I am already loving my re-read of WHERE SHE WENT and I cannot wait to read everyone’s responses!!

3 thoughts on “Where She Went/Gayle Forman Read Along – Week 1

  1. Savindi @ The Streetlight Reader

    I loved all your answers Brittany! I felt bad for Adam when I was reading the first two chapters because he seemed so broken, but then I stopped feeling bad for him because he just seemed to be stringing along Brynn and that made me even more angry. He knows what heartbreak is like and I feel he isn’t being fair to Brynn whatsoever. I do think Adam’s grief is real, but apart of me thinks “Well you said it was okay if she walked away from you” and I feel like what he said in If I Stay wasn’t even sincere at this point. And I think Mia made the right decision in going to Julliard, I’m like you-what would she have done if she deferred for a year. I think she would be even more psychologically distraught if she stayed in Oregon.

  2. Alexa Y.

    Your answers to these questions were amazing Brittany! As a first-timer reading Where She Went, it’s really been an emotional experience for me as I have no idea what to expect AT ALL. Forman’s writing is so good in this one, like really SO GOOD.

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