Where She Went is the sequel to Gayle Forman’s If I Stay. I mentioned in my review of If I Stay, which you can find here, that I felt as though the ending was a bit abrupt and I would like some more information about Mia’s recovery. I was hoping to get that with this sequel and I did get a little bit of it. The first book really followed Mia and her plight over whether to stay alive or not. The sequel is much more focused on her ex-boyfriend, Adam.
Rock star Adam’s band has made it big. He is touring the country with thousands of girls swooning over him. He has a famous actress for a girlfriend. To everyone else, Adam has everything. He should be happy but instead, he is miserable and heartbroken. As Mia recovered from the fatal accident that took her entire family, things began to change between Adam and Mia. Suddenly, Mia stops returning his phone calls and Adam is left without closure. Where She Went chronicles Adam grieving over the loss of their relationship until one fateful night Mia and Adam run into each other in New York City.
I enjoyed this book almost as much as the first book. As a narrator, Adam was not quite as likable Mia for me but I still liked the book. While the story was fast paced and a pretty easy ready, I was blown away by the emotions that Forman is able to capture with her writing. She did a wonderful job at articulating what it is like to be heartbroken. The emotions portrayed in this novel are often raw and heartbreaking. I think that portraying emotions and putting them into words is one of Gayle Forman’s biggest writing strengths.
Overall, I liked this book. It was a quick read and very easy to relate to the characters. I only wish that there had been more. I always feel like I want to know more about Adam and Mia’s lives when I finished both the first book as well as this one. I gave this book four stars. Check it out if you’ve read the first one and need a quick read.
The Sea Garden by Deborah Lawrenson is divided into three separate novellas that do not seem to be connected too closely for most of the book. The first novella begins with an award winning garden designer traveling to a small island off the coast of France to restore a historical garden. Once she arrives on the island she meets a whole host of mysterious characters and the reader starts to realize that things are not quite what they seem.
The second and third novella transport the reader back to World War II. I enjoyed these two novellas much more than the first one. Each of the novellas was a short and interesting story but none of them really grabbed me and pulled me into the book. Towards the end of the third novella the author connects all three stories together. While it makes for a beautiful overall story, it began to feel very rushed at towards the end of the book. The last fifty pages it felt as if the author was trying to just hurry and wrap the book up. I think I would have enjoyed this book a bit more if the author had flushed the ending out a bit more.
Overall, I rated this book three stars. It was not my favorite book but it was well written and an interesting story.
Mia is a seventeen year old musician with her whole life ahead of her. She has just auditioned for a place at Juilliard. Everything seems to be falling into place for Mia until one February morning when her entire family is killed in a tragic car accident. Mia is the only survivor. If I Stay by Gayle Forman follows Mia’s conscience as she makes the decision to either stay alive or pass on with the rest of her family.
I’m a bit late to this bandwagon but with the movie version coming out in mid-August I thought I should go ahead and read this one. The premise of this story is that we have a choice. Mia could have chosen to either live or die. This decision is one that really forces the reader to think and to consider that choice.
Overall, the book is well written and the characters are very relate-able. The ending to this book is a bit abrupt, however. It leaves the reader wanting to find out more about the ending and what happens next. Thankfully, Forman did write a sequel called Where She Went which I hope to read soon.
As I mentioned earlier, this book has been made into a movie and will be released on August 22. You can find out more about the movie and watch the trailer here.
Overall, I liked this book and gave it four stars. I think that young adult readers will enjoy this book and I plan to recommend it to my high school students this fall.