Where She Went, by Gayle Forman, is the sequel to her novel If I Stay and continues the story of Mia Hall, a beautiful cellist, and Adam Wilde, an aspiring rock musician. In the first novel, Mia’s entire family is killed in a tragic car accident, leaving Mia wandering the “in-between” of death and life. While in a coma, Adam frantically tries to reach out to her both in music and touch. At the end of the novel Adam promises Mia that, if she were to return to him, he would do whatever she needed, including letting her go. Mia hears him pleading and finally starts to wake up and push death away.
Where She Went begins three years later and is told from Adam’s perspective. His band, Shooting Star, has hit it big with their most recent album, Collateral Damage, which Adam wrote and produced all himself. He is in the media, constantly pestered for interviews, pictures, and gossip. For all his hard work, he detests this environment, and his friendship with the other band members has slowly disintegrated because the media is solely focused on him. Adam drinks, pops anxiety pills, and chain smokes to lessen his nerves, but nothing seems to help him. He is eternally stuck on that one moment when Mia left him and never came back. He adores her, hates her, needs her. Adam craves some kind of closure, something to make him understand why she left him so brutally after he almost lost her to death. Their break-up came silently, like an assassin, and Adam withdrew from everything and everyone. Collateral Damage, his newest album, is the raw emotion he struggles with everyday, and it earned him millions. But he wants none of it, if it means he is without Mia.
The day before Adam is supposed to leave for London to kick off his European tour, he is struck by both coincidence and fate. In the park he sees an ad for Mia’s upcoming cello debut, that happens to be that evening, and decides to go. He swears he will only listen and watch and, when it ends, he will walk away and never look back. But fate has another plan, and instead of letting him silently slip away into the night, Mia invites him backstage to chat.
The story is told within the space of about a day, with flashbacks and memories intertwined with present day, and leads readers through heartache, desire, and frustration. It is a beautifully written story that is romantically believable and leaves the readers wanting to know more.