Where She Went by Gayle Forman
I loved If I Stay, so I had to jump into Where She Went. This time, Adam, Mia’s guitar-playing boyfriend, is the narrator. And in the three plus years since Mia’s accident, Adam has become a rock star—a real one. And since Mia has cut off all communication with him, he now has a fabulous movie-star/perfectly beautiful girlfriend who is several years older than he is (but still only in her late twenties).
Adam does a great job of narrating all the difficulties of being way too famous. It’s hard not to be able to walk outside without everyone flipping open cell phones for a picture, without the paparazzi tagging along trying to catch him in a compromising position, the tabloids always looking for a ‘baby bump’ on his girlfriend. Add to this the fact that his band is coming apart because his band mates are starting to see him as a prima dona—interviewers want to talk only to him because Adam writes the songs.
And then there’s the irony. Adam and his band, (same one as in If I Stay—Shooting Star) became famous because Adam’s creativity exploded when Mia left him. In his anguish over her desertion, song after song poured out of him, culminating in the ultra-platinum album Collateral Damage. Now the fame is inhibiting his creativity. And though he once thought that rock stars who were hooked on drugs were pathetic and weak, he finds that he needs anti-anxiety medication to deal with the fans and sleep meds to get any shut eye. In short, at only twenty years old, Adam is falling apart.
Mia chose to go to Julliard as she had planned to do before the accident. She worked hard to regain her competence as a cello player, and she became the virtuoso that she was destined to be. In the smaller world of classical music, Mia is also a star.
One day, when Adam is in New York and decides that he is too stressed out to join his band mates on a flight to London to kick off a 67-stop tour (he doesn’t want to tour at all), his manager suggests that he stay over an extra day to rest. Adam sees Mia’s photo on a poster for a classical concert in Carnegie Hall and decides to go.
Getting an opportunity to talk to Mia, Adam also gets that rare chance that almost none of us ever have, but that all of us crave—closure. He gets to ask those angry questions—‘Why the hell did you dump me? Wasn’t I good enough for you? Do you have any idea how much I loved you?’
While I think the novel has too jolly an ending, I did love the way Mia and Adam negotiated the minefield of their relationship. Mia’s reasons for doing what she did are surprising, but make good sense in the context of her tragedy.
Warning: This is one of those sequels that I wouldn’t read until I read the first book—If I Stay. Both are short and absolutely worth the trouble.