Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Where She Went - Gayle Forman (#2)

When I found out, not long after reading the first book in this mini-series If I Stay, that there was going to be a sequel, I knew it was one of the books of 2011 that I WOULD be buying.
If I Stay is such a sad yet slightly uplifting and hopeful book. I ended it thinking that there are a world of possiblities out there and with the scary thought that truly, we never know what will happen in the future. It's a weird thought really.

This review contains SPOILERS for those who have not read IF I STAY

Synopsis: It's been three years since Mia's accident. And three years since she walked out of Adam's life. Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future - and each other. (Goodreads.com)

Review: This review is going to be hard to write, hence my lack of reviews in the last week (Sorry!). So I'm just kind of going to write all my thoughts about it in the hope that it makes sense.
This book is now set around Manhattan, New York where Adam is visiting and Mia lives after following her dream at Julliard. Mia is now a professional cellist player, about to embark on a world tour. And Adam, now in one of the most successful rock bands in history and living in Hollywood with his famous actress girlfriend.
So a little bit different from when we last met this couple in If I Stay.

If I Stay was beautiful, it really is and reading that kind of literature can make people feel emotions that they wouldn't necessarily have in reality. So, of course, Where She Went is going to have to live up to the last book. And, well, for me, it did not succeed the greatness that is If I Stay.

Differently from its predecessor, Where She Went is all from Adam's point of view and is mainly set around his feelings, thoughts and emotions. Adam was a nice guy in the last book, cute, good looking - the perfect boyfriend. The one that MANY women have loved and wanted to be real, so much.
I knew before reading, that Adam was going to take a bit getting used to. And I was right.
He starts off narrating so whiny. So much. Everything is wrong. This didn't start off on a great note, because he started to frickin' annoy me. Look, Adam, I know she was the love of your life, the one you loved for the first time and she walked out in a very horrible way, BUT SERIOUSLY? THAT MUCH WHINING AND IT'S 3 YEARS LATER?! urgh.

On that note, don't think that this book is awful compared to If I Stay. I liked the thought of finding out the aftermath of such a horrific accident, the straits on their relationship and how Mia felt after waking up, the only family member left. All of this you get from this novel. It is like a bridge telling readers that yeah, they're not together but their lives are doing alright. UNTIL.
The moment they meet each other is probably the most awkward situation you will ever think of. I know I'm glad I'm not Mia or Adam, a lot. I liked the way that after they met, it was like their relationship was kind of starting over with new people, I think it would be like that a lot for people in a situation like this.

Learning about the past three years is done through Gayle Forman's technique of flashbacks which we heavily featured in If I Stay. Where She Went seems like a completely different book and feel to the previous, but ultimately, it is exactly the same with something putting a strain on their relationship, the flashbacks, the characters and the writing.
AH. The writing. Gayle Forman is up there in the chart of best writer writers. Like you have writers that are good because of the plot and characters but Forman is a true writer. She makes you feel everything that Mia and Adam are feeling. I felt awkward, sad, annoyed, heart broken all within 200-odd pages! This book is  heart wrenching, and Forman is the only writer to make me have tears while reading a book. This one included. It is just such lyrical, contemporary, beautiful writing.

This book is not perfect. It has flaws and I like not all fans of If I Stay will enjoy it as much as others. I know it is very different from what I expected.When you first start to read, you think the lovely characters of Adam and Mia have done, but really, deeply, they are still there and blossom out again throughout.
The writing again makes this book and makes you feel these impossible things.
The ending is just...I could not have put the ending better myself. It is a perfect ending to a delightful series and although, it may be obvious now, it is still beautiful and surprising. It does just suddenly happen. Although, there is sadness of the events that have happened, the book is full of optimism and anticipation which might leave readers shouting at the book for a certain thing to happen, you can sense the atmosphere and thoughts without it even being narrated to you.
   The book has flaws but it also has some of the most delightful characters, plot, emotions and writing you will ever experience and Adam's whiny tone (urgh) is kind of overshadowed. For some reason, I do feel disappointed but overall, it is a worthwhile read. Go on - read it!
Verdict: Read If I Stay first, otherwise you will have be ultra confused.

I give it a 4 out of 5

My Review for If I Stay
Note: There have been rumours for the past year about an adaptation of this series but it is classes as 'in development' by IMDb

Author's Website: http://www.gayleforman.com/
Pages: 260
Publisher: Doubleday
Challenges: None

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