Thirteen is indeed a lucky number as Where She Went (Book number 13) by Gayle Forman delivers right on the spot. It has been a while since I enjoyed and embraced a book this much (read it in one go) and I’m certain I’d read this again sometime soon. There is no way Where She Went reinvents the chick lit wheel but I can tell you that this has fast become one of my most favorite chick lits of all time.
Told in the perspective of Adam, the plot picks up three years after Mia, the other lead character, makes a choice of whether she wants to live or die, after a car accident that left her badly injured while killing the rest of her family. Adam tells her: “If you stay, I’ll do whatever you want. I’ll quit the band; go with you to New York. But if you need me to go away, I’ll do that too. .. And that would suck, but I’ll do it. I can lose you like that, if I don’t lose you today. I’ll let you go. If you stay.” So she dumps Adam without any explanation and life whisks them away in separate directions until a chance encounter in New York where everything between them starts and ends again.
I have not read If I Stay, but Where She Went offered enough clues to point out how the characters from the prequel changed way far from where they started. Adam became an angst ridden, Xanax-popping, anti social rock star while Mia is a cold, selfish, confusing cello rising star. But while these personalities are not exactly magnetizing, the way the story went leads to understanding and ultimately, forgiveness of the characters so you can readily embrace them.
Where She Went offers a lot of realizations on what it is like to have loved and lost and to find it again. It draws the bittersweet reality of letting go and highlights the importance of being open to life and true to yourself too.
Actually, the book plays with a lot of dark concepts but it does it in a light way which is brilliant (unlike with The Memory Keeper’s Daughter which could’ve aptly been titled A Series Of Unfortunate Events).
Where She Went is solid proof of how love is sometimes not enough to make things work and how it is best to go separate ways sometimes. I also enjoyed how it echoed truths from The Alchemist: “If what one finds is made of pure matter, it will never spoil. And one can always come back” and the concept of “love without ownership” is played beautifully well if not by showing the exact opposite of it.
The power of this book lies in its execution – the emotion woven in the story is so intense and compelling. Often I read a book like a distant observer but with Where She Went, I was sucked into the story so much that not only did I feel every single bit of agony, bitterness, longing, confusion, and madness it contains, but I also rooted for the characters. This book is a real joy and I hope you can experience that too. It is not perfect but for a chick lit slash romance novel, Where She Went has definitely got my vote.
On the photo: Where She Went from My Man (thank you, babe) and a number of books I have yet to read borrowed from Fr. Noel.