If I Stay was Mia’s story, and like her music, it was lilting, graceful, sometimes somber. But Where She Went is Adam’s story, and like his music, it’s to the point, angsty and hard. This book picks up three years after the first book. Adam is a famous rock star, Mia is graduating from Julliard, and they haven’t spoken in years. It took me a while to settle into this book since things are so different, but in the end I really loved it.
Starting this book and jumping three years into the future, as well as changing perspectives, was really jarring. This book is told from Adam’s point of view rather than Mia’s, though it follows the same format as the first book (present tense chapter, flashback chapter, repeat). It works well, though, because it fills in the gaps in time and makes you feel like you haven’t missed as much. And, since it’s Adam, each chapter is preceded by a few lines of his lyrics. I like this addition because it gives you some more insight into Adam’s state of mind. It’s also a nice call back to what Adam told Mia in the first book – that if she wanted him to write a song about her, she’d have to break his heart. And he didn’t just write her a song, he wrote her a whole album!
So, getting to the story: it’s a little bit “destiny brought us together”, but I’m okay with that. It’s Adam’s last night in New York City before leaving for a world tour, and of course he just happens to run into Mia, who is also about to leave on a tour of her own for young classical musicians. (The other thing I’m willing to accept is that they’re both world-class musicians from the same small town. What are the odds, really?) Adam is pretty obviously depressed and he has a lot of pent-up anger at Mia for leaving him without so much as an explanation. What this book does a great job with is showing both characters’ feelings and motivations. Though they’ve been angry at each other, neither one is completely at fault or villainized, and they manage to remind each other why they fell in love in the first place.
I suspect that the narration change may alienate some fans of If I Stay, but they should hang in there for the climax of this book, which is GREAT. I don’t want to spoil too much, but the finale of the book is so tumultuous and sexy and awesome. The whole book is kind of emotionally exhausting, but it’s a great ride and I loved the book.
Where She Went comes out on April 5, 2011. I received an ARC for review from Penguin.