Where She Went: a book review

Thursday, May 17, 2012
I love me some young adult literature. Many of my most favorite books - Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Anne of Green Gables - are technically young adult books. Maybe I should feel embarrassed to identify most with books that are supposedly beneath my maturity level, but in my opinion, a good book transcends the section it's relegated to in a bookstore or library.

But Gayle Forman's Where She Went won't be doing any "section transcending" any time soon. Even though the book's main characters are in their early 20s, this is one young adult novel that screams "tween!" As I read the first few pages, I felt as though I'd entered a time warp. Surely, I must be reading this during the commercial break of MTV's TRL with Carson Daly. (Ooo, did I just date myself?)

The book's timeline covers only a single day in the life of characters Adam (front man for an extremely successful rock band) and Mia (a Julliard-trained cellist), but a number of flashbacks are used to expand the reader's understanding of the situation. Years ago, Mia and Adam were high school sweethearts in Portland, OR, but after a traumatic car crash killed Mia's entire immediate family and left her with severe injuries, Mia headed off to Julliard, then unceremoniously dumping Adam. Now, Adam is spending a final day in New York City before starting a world tour with his somewhat estranged band mates and Mia just happens to be playing a show at Carnegie Hall. (Cue the "dun, dun, dun" music.)

Where She Went is a sequel to If I Stay and perhaps I felt Adam and Mia characters were rather two-dimension because I never read the original "Adam and Mia" book and didn't know the full back story. Both characters are so talented and successful that I couldn't help but feel that their story wasn't relevant to me. Beside, the whole book is just so damn "angst-y." Okay, I'll admit it: this young adult book made me feel old.

But don't think I didn't enjoy my trip down to teenage memory lane. I mean, who doesn't enjoy a melodramatic teen romance every now and then? Where She Went is also one fast read: perfect to throw in your bag to read during everyday lulls like bus rides, waiting rooms, and airport terminals.

You can find more information and discussions about Where She Went over at the BlogHer book club. 
Disclosure: I participated in this review for the BlogHer Book Club. I was compensated for my time and received a complimentary copy of the book. However, all opinions expressed in the review are my own.


  1. This is the kind of book that's right up my ally :)

  2. I read "If I Stay" and LOVED it. (I borrowed it from my mom, who is a young adult fiction author, who therefore loves young adult fiction, too!) It was a truly gut-wrenching story, and I really recommend it. I haven't read "Where She Went." The title itself is kind of annoying as a sequel, and though I might enjoy it, I honestly thought the first book didn't need a sequel. Unlike most readers, I didn't want to be told "where she went," and what you describe honestly sounds disappointing to me. It just doesn't sound anything like the first book.


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