Where She Went by Gayle Forman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
What this book is about (If you are planning on reading If I Stay first, be warned there are spoilers ahead):
It’s been three years since the horrible accident that killed Mia’s family. Adam is now a very famous rock star (his band is the equivalent of One Direction, in terms of fame and glory) who is being recognised in the streets of New York and is hunted down by paparazzi for very expensive pictures. Among this chaos in his life, his thoughts are haunted by Mia’s sudden rejection of him three years ago. One day he walks into Carnegie Hall where Mia is playing one of the most important concerts in her life and their lives are about to change…again.
Where She Went is the sequel to If I Stay and there are two noticeable differences between these novels. First of all, Where She Went takes place three years after the end of the first novel (both protagonists are thus older). And second, Where She Went is written from the perspective of Adam while If I Stay was written from the perspective of Mia. Can someone read Where She Went without first reading If I Stay? I think so. But still, If I Stay built the relationships with all the characters so nicely and skipping the first book would kind of “ruin the atmosphere” of the whole book. Plus, in my opinion, If I Stay was a way more powerful story that would have stayed just fine without a sequel (did I just drop a bomb?)
I needed to hate someone and you’re the one I love the most, so it fell on you.
As you might be able to tell already, I have some major issues with this book. While reading the sequel, from page one, all I could think in my head was: This is not a sequel for the book, this is a sequel to the movie. It’s as if the publishers decided to make Gayle Forman go write a sequel that they can turn into a movie. I could see every scene played on a screen. Why does that bother me? Well, I don’t know. The whole plot felt rushed and forced into something. As if the author didn’t really have an idea of a plot but rather wanted to come up with something just to make something. Does that make any sense?
You don’t share me. You own me.
Let me explain it a little bit better. The first book, If I stay, had a clear plot. Mia’s family gets in an accident and they die and then Mia has flashbacks from the past and the present. It was a nice story and the characters were, in my opinion of course, the best element of the book. It might not have punched me in the gut, as I would have liked, but I still enjoyed the book. The second book however, Where She Went, doesn’t have a plot. It takes place again during the course of some hours (I think 2 days) and there is back and forth between the past and the present. But still, nothing really happened.
“You were so busy trying to be my saviour that you left me all alone
And everything that did happen was just a big fat cliché. From Adam’s thoughts in his head which presented him as this rock star that has everything (money, fame, his music) but was empty inside. How he had panic attacks, social phobia, OCD. To Adam’s life as a small town guitarist in a small band that of course exploded and is now “Justin Bieber meets One Direction” and whatever. Yes, of course he would become so famous and of course he would have psychological problems that make everything not matter. Jesus. It infuriates me. I’m a nobody myself, but I think that if music was everything to me or at least THAT important I would be over the moon that I have the money and the means to do what I love! I have a friend, same as Adam, a guitarist in a small band that almost nobody knows, that gets so excited for even just booking one, ONE, live concert that they won’t even get paid for. Do people really get so arrogant when they become famous? I want to hope that humans are inherently more humble than what the media present them to be. As I said, if I had the means and the money to do what I love, I would be so proud and happy of my work. But no, once again we present a sad and depressed rock star to the world. Okay.
Letting go. Everyone talks about it like it’s the easiest thing. Unfurl your fingers one by one until your hand is open.
Another major issue that I had with the book was how everything fell so beautifully into place for everyone involved. How incredibly unrealistic the storyline is. It’s as if the author thought, “okay what would my readers like to read? That their favourite characters lived happily ever after, after a few hiccups and a major, MAJOR disaster”. And of course Mia and Adam are in the same place at the same time and of course they completely randomly meet and of course blah blah blah…Okay. Let’s take a moment here because I got a bit too upset with this. Did I like the book? Meh, it was okay. I didn’t hate it and I didn’t feel like I was forced to read it. Did I have a good time reading it? It’s a small, fast, pleasant read so I had an okay time reading it. But I definitely liked the first book more than the second.
A day might be just twenty-four hours but sometimes getting through just one seems as impossible as scaling Everest
To end this meaningless monologue that I have going on here, it seems that most people like this book more than the first. Maybe I’m the one who doesn’t like clichés and books that read like movies. It does make sense. Clichés are clichés for a reason, right? And a book that reads like a movie is very easy to construct as an image while reading it. So probably this book was not for me, but I suggest that you do check it out since you might be one of the many other readers who will actually enjoy it way more.
Have you read If I stay and Where she went? Which one did you like more? Also, what did you think of the movie?
You can also check out my review of If I stay
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Where She Went (BookDepository)