Tag Archives: Mia Hall

Where She Went, by Gayle Forman (Dutton, 2011)

***Spoiler Alert!!!*** Other than knowing that I LOVED this book, do NOT read this post if you have not read Gayle Forman’sIf I Stay. In fact, go now and read that one! Hurry! Then come back here.
Ok. So now it’s just us, right? We read and loved If I Stay, and now we are the lucky ones who get to follow it up with Where She Went! Gayle Forman, I am in love. With Adam and Mia. And the role that music plays in both books. And your writing. Yes, that’s right. I am gushing over  books. How I do love to do so.
Where She Went is quite possibly one of my favorites in the heartache/love story category. Forman catches up with Adam three years after the crash. Shooting Star is huge mainly because Adam wrote the album that sky rocketed them to fame. The title of the album is Collateral Damage. The inspiration–Mia.
The catalyst for this book comes from a promise Adam makes to Mia in If I Stay:
If you stay, I’ll do whatever you want. I’ll quit the band,
go with you to New York. But if you need me to go away, I’ll
do that, too…maybe coming back to your old life would just be
too painful…maybe it’d be easier for you to erase us. And that
would suck, but I’d do it. I can lose you like that if I don’t lose
you today. I’ll let you go. If you stay. (231)
I’m almost sobbing now as I reread that page, as the whole first book comes flooding back and as Where She Went still lingers as books do just after you’ve finished them. Where She Went is Adam’s story, and it starts three years after the accident. Adam and the band, Shooting Star, are huge. Adam penned their album, Collateral Damage, and the book starts with Adam right in the midst of the damage that he’s been living through for three years. Mia was the muse for Adam’s musical catharsis because three years ago she left for Julliard and never came back.
The opening paragraph of Where She Went is all the exposition you need:
Every morning I wake up and tell myself this: It’s just one day, one twenty-four-hour period to get yourself through. I don’t know when exactly I started giving myself this daily pep talk–or why. It sounds like a twelve-step mantra and I’m not in Anything Anonymous, though to read some of the crap they write about me, you’d think I should be. I have the kind of life a lot of people would probably sell a kidney just to experience a bit of. But still, I find the need to remind myself of the temporariness of a day, to reassure myself that I got through yesterday, I’ll get through today. (1-2)
I fell in love with Adam in If I Stay, and in this first paragraph of Where She Went, my heart already aches for him. And though this early on we don’t know what happened with him and Mia, we find out soon enough later in the chapter. The book takes place over a period of one night where a chance meeting between Adam and Mia brings them together one more time. Told much like the first book, Where She Went alternates between the present and recollections of Adam and Mia’s past as both we and Adam search for answers as to why Mia left the way she did. And much like If I Stay, music plays as much of a part in the story as do Adam and Mia. Whether you are a fan of classical or, as Vanessa puts it in Chapter 1, “agita-rock,” you will connect to the music as much as the characters. Me? I’m a fan of Where She Went.
Currently reading Starters, by Lissa Price, and Pandemonium, by Lauren Oliver