Title: Where She Went
Author: Gayle Forman
Publisher: Dutton Books
“And there it is. A hollow blown through my heart, confirming what some part of me has always known. / She knows.”
Three years after her accident, Mia Hall is a rising star in Juilliard and maintains zero contact with her high-school sweetheart, Adam Wilde. Adam, on the other hand, is a rock star in the midst of constant round-the-world tours, popping pills and dealing with the kinks of celebrity life – celeb girlfriend, uncomfortable interviews, and feeling like his music is lost. When he’s in New York, the pair chance upon each other again, and neither of them know if they were really going to pick up from where they left off those years back.
Adam Wilde, the Lost Child
Portrayed as a confident musician who knew where he wanted to go in the prequel, we see Adam as who he is when the perspectives have changed. Confidence is replaced with depression, and Adam is shown to only be stable with the help of cigarettes, pills, and Mia’s presence. Behind the cold, stressed, and sometimes-rude exterior, he is quite a sentimentalist, basing his sanity and his energy to keep going on his happier life in Portland, with his band back then, and Mia.
Mia Hall, the Music of His Heart
Like Adam, Mia’s character changed with the change in perspective. From a slightly awkward, nervous, and innocent girl in the first book, she is now portrayed as a carefree, confident, and talented individual – a reverse in roles between the two. She shares Adam’s sentimentality of their past. However, she continues to base her life on her other passion – classical music – and uses it to shape herself to the way she wants to, without free passes and pity.
Being the basis of this novel itself, the many types of love are seen throughout the entire story – familial love, platonic love, love and passion for the industry, and romantic love. While all the aspects are shown in certain parts of the novel, romantic love remains the most prominent.
Adam’s constant musing of Mia and his frustration at her closing communication with him is a mark of him being unable to let go of her. In turn, he has allowed his frustration to be translated to the agitated lyrics of his songs, only to have the music leave him when he continues to pine for her more, as he had mentioned. Conversely, meeting Mia stirred something within him, and they play together for the first time in three years – an experience which had been uplifting, something Adam had not felt in a long time.
Likewise, Mia, despite her seemingly cold attitude towards Adam in the events throughout the story, bought his signature guitar at an auction, showing the love she had for him despite all she had said about wanting him to let go of her.
Style & Structure
Opposite to its prequel, Where She Went is told at the perspective of Adam (instead of Mia in If I Stay). This not only provides the perspective from the other side of the relationship, giving a deeper sense of being for Adam, it also represents the fact that every relationship has two sides to the story and how much each party plays up the character of their significant others then. With both books, we are able to get a full, well-rounded view of both parties.
In the meantime…
That’s all for me now, and I’ll see you next week!