Thursday, 31 March 2011

Review: Where She Went by Gayle Forman

A few days ago, I received a copy of Where She Went by Gayle Forman, a book I've been highly anticipating. A few days ago I even posted a list of the top five reasons I loved If I Stay, this included a bit about why I couldn't wait for Where She Went and that can be found here.

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 so clear as day, be ready to kiss her or take her to me only to wake up with Mia just beyond reach.
But I can’t touch her. This is a privilege that’s been revoked.

It’s been three years since Adam’s love saved Mia after the accident that annihilated life as she knew it . . . and three years since Mia walked out of Adam’s life forever.
Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Julliard’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.
Told from Adam’s point of view in the spare, powerful prose that defined If I StayWhere She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.
(From the jacket copy of Where She Went)

You can tell from the fact I did a whole post about it that I was ridiculously excited about this book and as soon as more people have read it I'll definitely do a similar list for Where She Went. As it is, there is now under a week left to wait for Where She Went and I am so excited to offer my review on the ARC I received!

I read Where She Went over two days ago and have spent all that time since turning it over in my mind and processing it. And as much as I want to do one of those reviews where I rant about how much I loved it and use lots if capitals and exclamation marks I honestly don't think that would do such an amazing book justice.

I have read a lot of reviews where emotional books are described as 'an emotional roller-coaster'. And I'm not saying that is at all wrong just that I believe a book as exceptional and unique as Where She Went deserves a new simile. That's why I would like to say it was like emotional Dodgem cars.

Why Dodgem Cars you're probably wondering. Well, on the ride you get bumped and knocked around. And then sometimes you do the bumping yourself. You may get hurt by a restricting seat belt jerking you back or by being too free by not wearing a seat belt and being knocked. But when things calm down and you step off that ride, you're ultimately happy you were on it in the end. That summarizes how I feel about Where She Went. That considered, below is a more in-depth review in which I will try to avoid spoilers though may (hopefully not) slip slightly.

So as with If I Stay, Where She Went focuses on one day with much of the story being told through flashbacks which hold something of relevance.

The entire story is told from Adam's point of view. He's not the same as we remember him though. Over the three years that have passed Adam has had reason to become a much darker person and this is shown while we're in his head. I think Gayle Forman executed this remarkably well. Adam is very angst filled at the moment and that comes across clearly and in such a way that even though he's changed there's enough the same that we still recognize him and you'll still love him. To be completely honest I think in might even live Adam more after reading Where She Went.

Another of the aspects I specifically loved about If I Stay was Gayle Forman's writing style. It wasn't purely about the story but also how it was told. The figurative language that's so descriptive it'll draw a picture in your head that won't leave you for days, the words that are so lyrical and smooth. I adored a return to this in Where She Went though with a distinctly darker edge due to Adams frame of mind.

One of my favourite aspects of Where She Went though was the lyrics at the beginning of some of the chapters. These show more than anything the way Adam was feeling when Mia left. I read some of these lyrics and just understood so much clearly his pain. When you read them you which nothing more than for the music that goes with them as I believe this would reveal even more about the emotions he was feeling at the time.

If you read my previous post on If I Stay you'll know that it was the only book I've ever cried in. Not anymore. I cried in Where She Went and now believe that Gayle Forman has a true talent for causing tears in the highly sarcastic.
It was the most engrossing read I've had in months and I read it all in one sitting being unable to leave the ending in question. Days after reading it I'm still debating whether or not I loved it more than If I Stay. And now as I write this I think I can say with conviction that no I didn't. They are both different and can't be compared. I love them both for reasons that are sometimes the same and sometimes different.
As I don't want to ruin anything I can't tell you how it ends only that I loved all of it, every single word, even those that made me want to cry or scream.

5/5 silver platters!

Thank-you netgalley and penguin for allowing me to read this fantastic book and thanks Gayle Forman for writing it! I can't wait for it to be released so I can go out and buy it and hold a hard copy in my hands!


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