BOOK REVIEW – Where She Went (If I Stay #2) by Gayle FormanWhere She Went (If I Stay #2)
by Gayle Forman
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads

 *If the name of the book isn’t clue enough that there will be spoilers for book one, I’ll say it now: There will be spoilers from book one…*

She left for Juilliard the day after Labor Day. I drove her to the airport. She kissed me good-bye. She told me she loved me more than life itself. Then she stepped through security.
She never came back.

Don’t you just LOVE when your master plan comes together?? Like, you aren’t sure if it’s even going to work, but you sure as hell try anyway? I always take these totally random gambles where I think a second book in a series looks amazing…but I had never ever planned to read book one because it looked like everything I hate in a story, but I just have to read book one because that damn second book looks so good, I can’t resist being a part of it’s awesomeness. It almost never works in my favor, because, well, if it looks bad, and it is bad, then the second will be just as bad, most likely. Yeah. Well. This time my gamble worked out. This. Book. Was. Amazing. It was everything I hoped it would be and more.

My first impulse is not to grab her or kiss her or yell at her. I simply want to touch her cheek, still flushed from the night’s performance. I want to cut through the space that separates us, measured in feet-not miles, not continents, not years-and to take a callused finger to her face. I want to touch her to make sure it’s really her, not one of those dreams I had so often after she left when I’d see her as clear as day, be ready to kiss her or take her to me only to wake up with Mia just beyond reach.

Mia stayed in the last book. Adam’s final plea and exploration of her favorite music brought her back to our plane of existence….whether she wanted to come back or not. But what they don’t tell you at the end of story one is that she doesn’t actually stay. No, this bitch up and leaves Adam after he literally brought her back to life. She packed her shit, left for Juilliard, and never was to be seen or heard from again (okay, okay, they stayed in contact for a bit). All this leads to is Adam asking why? Why, after all they’ve been through, does she up and leave him, fracturing his heart into minuscule little pieces? He was devastated as she lay dying on the table. He was a mess. But he also made her a promise-a promise that if she just stays, he’ll let her go. He can lose her like that if he doesn’t lose her like this. If she stays. But what he didn’t know when he made that promise was how much more devastating this would be, how she would crush his soul to the point where he couldn’t breathe when she moved on. Couldn’t function. Could barely live. And here we are, in his POV, living in his head as he trudges day by day through his unhappy and overwhelming life….without the one person he will always want by his side.

People are swarming around and their gazes are lingering a little too long on me. I can’t deal with being recognized right now. I can’t deal with anything. I don’t want this. I don’t want any of this.

I absolutely adored this novel. It was beautiful. It was breathtaking. It was raw. It stole my heart and didn’t give it back until the final page, and even then I was a giddy mess. I guess I didn’t realize what all we would see Adam go through. We are three years from when this all started (Another thing I hate-large time lapses between books), but not once in the flashbacks did they feel forced or misplaced. And I suppose I wasn’t expecting to hear about other *cough* women, but that wouldn’t be realistic, would it? He does have a platinum album, eh? But I actually didn’t hate Adam at any point. His heart was is shattered, and he is coping the only way he knew and knows how-not well, even three years later.

My entire body is shaking. I’m losing it. A day might be just twenty-four hours but sometimes getting through just one seems as impossible as scaling Everest.

This book touched me on so many levels that I never expected it to. The angst, the build up, the absolute anger and hatred-it was so powerful and heart-wrenching. He still to this day can’t understand how, after two years together, she could just leave him behind. It fuels every lyric he writes and every ballad he sings. It has taken him over, even if he thinks he is past it. It broke my heart to see how broken he is, but it also connected me to him in the most emotional and powerful way. I felt his pain to the depths of my soul and in the pit of my heart, and that’s not an easy thing to do-To make his pain mine.

Whoever said that the past isn’t dead had it backward. It’s the future that’s already dead, already played out. This whole night has been a mistake. It’s not going to let me rewind. Or unmake the mistakes I’ve made. Or the promises I’ve made. Or have her back. Or have me back.

So many issues were explored in this story. Like, would it have been easier to actually stay or go? What’s holding you to earth when your whole family is no longer a part of it? Morals. Success. Life. Love. Jealousy. And my favorite of all-second chances. When they have a ‘chance’ encounter, and decide to hang out for the rest of the night before they leave for their respective tours, it is a chance to heal. To mend, to have closure. But as the night dwindles away and it’s time for goodbye, will what needs to be said actually be spoken aloud? Or will they part ways again never really knowing how the other feels? What happened? And will they actually be able to say a final goodbye this time?

Letting go. Everyone talks about it like it’s the easiest thing. Unfurl your fingers one by one until your hand is open. But my hand has been clenched into a fist for three years now; it’s frozen shut. All of me is frozen shut. And about to shut down completely.

Mia was not a favorite of mine in book one-Anyone who read my review knew that. She was whiney, petulant, difficult, and altogether a little drab. I didn’t understand why Adam loved her, so. But, and I never thought I’d say this, I loved her in this one. She was so vibrant, full of life, funny, sweet, charismatic, down-to-earth, funny….loveable. I understood why Adam loved loves her. I really connected with her in ways I never thought possible, but I still didn’t like what happened to them. I think it was cruel. It was tragic. I know she was going through things, but there was no reason for her to handle it as she did….and I think she knows that. So I forgive her lol.

My favorite part-(view spoiler) Just. A-dor-a-ble.

Wow. Just…wow. I don’t know really what else to touch on other than how much this story out-shined the first. Maybe it was being in his head, maybe it was just the amount of hurt, betrayal, lost love, angst-but whatever it was, I loved it. I hate that there was a book in front of this, because it totally tarnished recommending this one. Not everyone is a psycho who will read a book they don’t want to just to get to the second, but, hey, it worked out so well, ya know?? His flashbacks had so much more impact than Mia’s and they touched me so deeply. I really got to see the good side of Mia and why he fell in love with her. And, for me, that’s more than enough, and, in fact, all I ever wanted in the first place.

But I’d do it again. I know that now. I’d make that promise a thousand times over and lose her a thousand times over to have heard her play last night or to see her in the morning sunlight. Or even without that. Just to know that she’s somewhere out there. Alive.

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