I read If I Stay on audiobook a couple summers ago and didn’t bother writing a review (ugh, I hate when I do that), but while I rated it highly, the impression it left me with was mostly meh. It was a well-written story, but I had quibbles. The parents were just too cool to be true. I had a hard time connecting with the book in the way other readers seemed to. It was a sad story, but it didn’t make me sad. I won the sequel in a giveaway, but after some time I really didn’t think I would ever read it. Well, I’ve been in a weird place with my reading lately, so when Brandyn suggested I give Where She Went a try, I decided hey, why not.
Where She Went picks up three years after the events of If I Stay and is told from Mia’s boyfriend, Adam’s, point of view. Mia and Adam broke up when Mia went off to Julliard. We learn that Adam went into a sort of depression after that, which inspired a period of crazed songwriting, which gave his band, Shooting Star, their big break. Adam is now famous and pretty miserable. He and the band don’t get along. He doesn’t really enjoy performing any more. He’s in a relationship of convenience with a Hollywood star. Most of all, he hasn’t really ever gotten over Mia.
One day, he is walking around New York City and comes across the poster for a cello recital that Mia is performing. He sneaks in the auditorium and watches her perform. She finds out he is in the audience and has him meet her backstage. Mia and Adam reconnect after years apart and Mia finally offers Adam some explanation for why she ended things the way she did. After rehashing the past, the two find they genuinely miss one another and try make plans for the future.
I think I liked Where She Went better than If I Stay, but it still wasn’t my favorite book ever. And really, I think it is just a personal preference thing. The book is well-written and has emotional depth and actually seems to be a fairly accurate portrayal of what would happen if an ex-couple met up and decided to reconnect. But I don’t know. Three years seems like a extremely long time to be pining after a lost love. I think it is supposed to be romantic, but I just find it sad. I think real life people would move on, especially real life 20-somethings, especially real-life high school sweethearts.
I also still found Mia’s parents to be unrealistically cool. There is a flashback scene where high school Mia and college Adam go camping together by themselves. Uh no. No way. I am not buying that there are parents who care about their high school-age daughter who let her go on an overnight date with her college boyfriend.
But overall this was an enjoyable read and a good story– just not a story I particularly buy into or relate to. It was definitely worth dusting it off my shelf and giving it a try, though.