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Re-Read: Where She Went (If I Stay #2) – Gayle Forman

Re-Read: Where She Went (If I Stay #2) – Gayle FormanTitle: Where She Went (If I Stay #2) by Gayle Forman
Publishing Info: April 5, 2011 by Penguin
Source: Amazon
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: September 2, 2013
Related Posts: If I Stay (If I Stay #1), Where She Went (If I Stay #2), Just One Day (Just One Day #1), Sisters in Sanity, If I Stay (If I Stay #1), Just One Day (Just One Day #1), Just One Night (Just One Day #2.5), I Was Here, Leave Me, I Have Lost My Way

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. 

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I am SO glad that I re-read WHERE SHE WENT. I remember adoring both IF I STAY and WHERE SHE WENT the first time around, but I had forgotten how emotional these two books were, especially picking up Adam’s point of view in WHERE SHE WENT.

Adam’s point of view is so… raw. He doesn’t hold anything back in his narration and I really felt everything he was feeling — small and … well, enormous. He’s got some BIG FEELS in this book. Sometimes it was hard to watch and to see him in that much pain and constantly try to push it down or shove it away. For reasons I can’t explain, I feel like it was that much more emotional because it was a male POV. You guys… Adam is 100% my favorite male POV of all YA. No wait. Of all time. His voice is so genuine and I feel like reading WHERE SHE WENT from his point of view captures all of the feelings that he’s holding back from the entire world. That’s pretty big stuff.

I love catching up with Mia and Adam three years later and seeing where they are in their lives. This is a pretty significant jump in time from where we left off in IF I STAY, but Gayle Forman knew what she was doing. This is where the real story picks up again and we get a lot of the details from what happened in the past three years in flashbacks. Now usually, I don’t like flashbacks. Actually, no, that’s not true. Usually I’m very picky with flashbacks because a lot of the time I feel like they’re not necessary and could have been summed up in dialogue or recounted by the main character. I do, however, love the flashbacks in IF I STAY/WHERE SHE WENT. They felt totally natural to the story and contained a lot of important information that we need to know for the present-day story.

Once again, I find that music supplements a story to help draw me in even more. Just that one instance where Adam borrows an iPod and scrolls through a playlist… When I see music I love in a book or I can just hear a single song and imagine the characters listening to that one as well, somehow I just get that connection and it really adds to my reading experience. As far as the Shooting Star music goes, I could take it or leave it. I usually don’t get anything from fabricated lyrics because I have no connection to them… It doesn’t usually detract from the book, but it doesn’t really do anything for me!

I get ALL THE FEELS from WHERE SHE WENT. I loved every second of my re-read and I really enjoyed the male POV from Adam. Everything was so emotional and raw and it was just a really different feel for me. So glad I got to re-read this one!

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Adam Wilde // Character Obsessions: Songwriting, numbing the pain, getting through the day.
Poor Adam. But oh, I love him! His emotions in this book were so incredibly strong and I loved that instead of him feeling closed off — like he is to the world — the audience in WHERE SHE WENT really gets to see every little bit, every piece, every emotion that he goes through. WSW solidified him as one of my favorite male characters of all time (for the second time).
Mia Hall // Character Obsessions: Cello, Julliard, remembering her family.
Mia feels totally different in WSW. Not in a bad way like “wow, this is a totally different character” but more that I can see what she went through and those strong pieces that were always there are now the more obvious ones than her shy side. I think I just loved Adam so much that Mia really took a backseat for me!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Adam Wilde. I cannot believe I ever forgot how much I love Adam Wilde. This re-read of IF I STAY and WHERE SHE WENT totally rekindled that love and helped me not to forget!
Left Me Wanting More: Adam Wilde? Haha that’s not fair to say is it? I could read many, many more books with him as the main character/narrator. I absolutely love his POV and I wish I could read so much more of it!

Addiction Rating
BUY IT… NOW!

WHERE SHE WENT is pretty brilliant… One of the best sequels/companion novels out there. Gayle’s writing is flawless in the book and I loved every minute of this re-read.

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Books Like WHERE SHE WENT!

     The Beginning of Everything - Robyn Schneider      Just One Day

You can also check out my post “12 Books to Read If You Liked IF I STAY” for more recommendations!

 

Re-Read: If I Stay (If I Stay #1) – Gayle Forman

Re-Read: If I Stay (If I Stay #1) – Gayle FormanTitle: If I Stay (If I Stay #1) by Gayle Forman
Publishing Info: April 2, 2009 by Penguin
Source: Amazon
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: August 11, 2013
Related Posts: If I Stay (If I Stay #1), Where She Went (If I Stay #2), Just One Day (Just One Day #1), Sisters in Sanity, Where She Went (If I Stay #2), Just One Day (Just One Day #1), Just One Night (Just One Day #2.5), I Was Here, Leave Me, I Have Lost My Way

In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck... A sophisticated, layered, and heartachingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make—and the ultimate choice Mia commands.

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Gayle Forman is one of my all-time favorite authors and also a great writing inspiration. The beauty and emotion captured in her books are the reason I started the Gayle Forman Read Along… Well that and I needed a good excuse to re-read all of them because I’ve been meaning to do so ever since I finished JUST ONE DAY.

Re-reading IF I STAY was an interesting experience. I was really glad I got to share it with the people on the read along because there were some people reading not only IF I STAY for the first time, but any of Gayle Forman’s books for the first time! It was just really great to see them experience that. But also, one of my main fears of re-reading was that I wasn’t going to like it as much as my first read. While that kind of ended up happening in a way, I also fell in love with the book all over again.

It’s true that I didn’t enjoy IF I STAY as much as when I first read it. On my first read, I was simply blown away. It was the first Gayle Forman book I ever read and of course the beauty of her writing just swept me away, but I also think (and have discussed with other read along-ers!) that part of the reason I wasn’t as amazed on the re-read is because I knew exactly what was coming in Mia’s story. The initial read has a sort of suspense whether Mia will choose to stay or go, the surprise of the initial accident, and just little moments that a first-time reader isn’t expecting. I think all of those elements on a first read really makes the book amazing. It’s still gorgeous and heartbreaking and bittersweet the second time around, but those little surprises really make up a sizable chunk of a “wow factor” for this book.

Some things that I was able to pick up on my re-read that I hadn’t on my first read: a small little  hint at SISTERS IN SANITY! Mia makes a mention of a Portland band called Clod which was Brit’s band in SISTERS IN SANITY. I absolutely loved that because so much of SISTERS IN SANITY reminded me of IF I STAY. Obviously I had no idea on my first read since I only read SIS a couple months ago so I really, really enjoyed how those two books tied together! Very clever, Gayle!
I also think that already knowing the ending of the book helped me slow down and really get into the characters and their relationships. Whenever I get excited about the end of a book, I have this really bad habit where I can’t help but rush through what I’m reading to get to the end and see what the future holds in store for our characters. This being a re-read, the ending wasn’t a surprise to me so I really got to take my time and cherish the relationships that were blossoming as others ended, revel in Mia’s pain and sadness, observe things about characters and the setting that I hadn’t noticed before… I just really got to take in a lot more detail!

Um, HI — this also helped me rekindle my love of ADAM WILDE. Gayle……. thank you for Adam. I’ve already started the re-read of WHERE SHE WENT and I am SO in love with Adam. Of course, that’s a discussion for another day, but all of IF I STAY just really helped me remember how much I loved him and what a shame it was that I almost forgot!

If you haven’t read IF I STAY and WHERE SHE WENT yet, I highly recommend picking them up! They both instantly made me a Gayle Forman fan for life and will always hold a special place in my heart.

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Mia Hall // Character Obsessions: Cello, spending time with her family, Adam Wilde.
Mia is such an interesting character for me. We get to know her (and her family) mostly through flashback stories as Mia is ultimately deciding whether to stay or to “go”. I feel like she’s two totally different people from before the accident and then after, which actually seems pretty natural considering what she went through (and sorry, I’m jumping there, already putting what I know from WHERE SHE WENT into play). She’s definitely always been a strong person, but there was always a little factor of doubt in her abilities and self-confidence. I think the accident changes her in the sense that she’s forced to appreciate what she has right in front of her (although that’s a bad way to put it because Mia really was always appreciative of her family) and not to let her self-doubt get in the way of anything she really wants.
Adam Wilde // Character Obsessions: Guitar, Shooting Star, music, Mia.
ADAM. Oh, Adam. He’s such a wonderful boyfriend to Mia and I absolutely melt when he interacts with Mia’s family, especially her younger brother Teddy. I love how he’s this edgy, almost-rock-star and he’s totally in love with a more conservative classical musician. They just fit together so well and their love of music really does bring them closer. I especially love that WHERE SHE WENT is from Adam’s perspective and… Well, we’ll get there!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Gayle Forman. Oh, Gayle. I always love your books! I loved re-reading what made me first fall in love with Gayle Forman’s writing and lead to one of the ultimate book boyfriends, Adam Wilde!
Left Me Wanting More: Eh, not fair to say, but wow-factor. The re-read obviously wasn’t holding many surprises the second time around, but that’s purely because it’s a re-read!

Addiction Rating
BUY IT… NOW!

Oh, you guys know I could gush about Gayle Forman forever. Just do me a favor and buy IF I STAY and WHERE SHE WENT.

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Books like IF I STAY!

     Where She Went      Just One Day

You can also check out my post “12 Books to Read If You Liked IF I STAY” for more recommendations!

Where She Went (If I Stay #2) – Gayle Forman

Where She Went (If I Stay #2) – Gayle FormanTitle: Where She Went (If I Stay #2) by Gayle Forman
Publishing Info: April 5, 2011 by Penguin
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: June 26, 2012
Related Posts: If I Stay (If I Stay #1), Just One Day (Just One Day #1), Sisters in Sanity, If I Stay (If I Stay #1), Where She Went (If I Stay #2), Just One Day (Just One Day #1), Just One Night (Just One Day #2.5), I Was Here, Leave Me, I Have Lost My Way

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

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I must admit, at first I was a little bit unsure that we were getting this story from Adam’s perspective after falling totally in love with Mia’s story in IF I STAY. Needless to say, I was sooo not disappointed! It took a small bit of adjusting from a female perspective to a male perspective since I wasn’t all together ready for it, but writing from any angle, Gayle Forman does an amazing job with building characters and just overall beautiful writing. I definitely saw the difference between Mia’s first person and Adam’s — I felt like in the first book, Mia had a very pronounced maturity to her tone and her presence whereas with Adam (and we’re supposed to), we have more of a “dude” feel. By that, I don’t mean that we have less emotion because that is nowhere near the case. The language mostly is just a little bit looser and we see a more masculine side, a little bit rougher without being abrasive, and a little less proper.

Okay, now to the story! I loved it. Love love love this series! If I was impressed with the first book, this one surely didn’t disappoint me as I often fear with sequels. I immediately picked up on Adam’s perspective and to be honest, despite his forthcoming of emotion at Mia’s beside, I wasn’t really sure if he was in love with Mia and how strong his feelings actually were. Throughout all of Where She Went, we see just how rough it’s been on him since he and Mia stopped communicating and just how much she really did mean to him. She was his world, and you can see and feel the devastation coming from him.

Guys, I’m not afraid to admit it. I totally cried. I got so sucked into the story and I just totally let myself be thrown into that world. There was a totally heartbreaking moment which I needed to note, and as all of the poignant moments in my life (at least in my head), it had a soundtrack. Adam turns on Sufjan Steven’s song “Chicago” — and with that album (Illinoise) always standing out in my head as being particularly emotional (let’s not even talk about “Casimir Pulaski Day” because I cry every time I hear that song), I completely lost it. During that scene as he’s listening to that song, I had it playing in my head and I just started letting the tears fly. I’ve always been strong into music so I absolutely adore when authors put songs into their stories. It really brings me in a layer further and helps me actually put myself in the story since I have a connection to the music that’s play (something I forgot to mention in my review of ONE MOMENT by Kristina McBride  — rats!). That, and I always wanted to be the person who puts together soundtracks for movies. Another dream job!

Sidenotes aside (wait, isn’t that redundant?), I loved the story and I absolutely adore Gayle Forman’s writing! I’m so glad I rushed to read this book so soon after the first! Usually I put a little gap in there so I get to enjoy a series as long as I can/as long as I can hold out, but when I found this in the library, I had to pick it up right away!

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5/5 stars
Loooooove. End of story.

BOOKS LIKE WHERE SHE WENT…
If I Stay by Gayle Forman — Please go read the first one if you haven’t already! Please!!!!!!
…OR…
One Moment by Kristina McBride — Another contemporary YA that I loved! Some moments just so full of emotion, worry, panic, love, betrayal.. Man, this has got it all.

You can also check out my post “12 Books to Read If You Liked IF I STAY” for more recommendations!

If I Stay (If I Stay #1) – Gayle Forman

If I Stay (If I Stay #1) – Gayle FormanTitle: If I Stay (If I Stay #1) by Gayle Forman
Publishing Info: April 2, 2009 by Penguin
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: May 4, 2012
Related Posts: Where She Went (If I Stay #2), Just One Day (Just One Day #1), Sisters in Sanity, If I Stay (If I Stay #1), Where She Went (If I Stay #2), Just One Day (Just One Day #1), Just One Night (Just One Day #2.5), I Was Here, Leave Me, I Have Lost My Way

In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck... A sophisticated, layered, and heartachingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make—and the ultimate choice Mia commands.

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Ho. Ly. Cow. This book was phenomenal. First I have to say bravo to Gayle Forman for such beautiful writing – I read a lot of cheesy books and yes, they’re fun, but nothing is better than a flat out wonderfully written story. Although this is dubbed YA fiction, Mia’s narration throughout the novel does not feel juvenile at all. I feel like any age can read this book and appreciate it in its entirety. Every character in this book has a story and I felt such connection, like this was the story of a real family, real friends, and not just characters on pages. I connected with everything Mia was feeling throughout her struggle to fight to stay alive or decide if it was her time to go. Wow, it just really moved me, as cheesy as that sounds. There’s just no other way to put it. So mature, so emotional, so gripping. I laughed, I smiled, and most of all I cried. Just read the book. It’s so worth it!

For a more in-depth review, check out my thoughts of my re-read of IF I STAY!

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5/5 stars
Love love loved it!

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If You Liked This, You Might Like…
One Day by David Nicholls — I actually read this because the movie was coming out… And then I never saw the movie (oops). This was another story that I was captivated with – The 20 year love story of Emma and Dexter, struggling to decide whether they’re supposed to be together or end up apart. It actually took me just a little bit to get into the story, but this was another one that when I finished, I just had this inexplicable feeling leftover and it stuck with me for days. Really moving story, lots of pull on the emotions of the characters, and a bittersweet ending.
…OR…
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold —  Susie Salmon’s story takes place after she is already dead, observing her family move along with their life after her disappearance as she hopes they’ll solve the mystery of her murder – I actually think If I Stay is WAY better than The Lovely Bones. If I Stay is so touching and I feel like it connects much more with the reader and brings them in to the book, gets them involved with the characters. While The Lovely Bones is a similar-type story, I actually found it a little too long and dragged on.

You can also check out my post “12 Books to Read If You Liked IF I STAY” for more recommendations!