Where She Went - Gayle Forman

Update 03/23/2012: After thinking about this one a little more, I've decided to adjust my rating of this book by half a star.

Where She Went, the sequel to If I Stay, is told from the point of view of Adam Wilde, Mia's boyfriend in the previous novel. It's been three years since the events in If I Stay and Adam is now a famous rockstar, living the celebrity dream, only he isn't happy. Adam is still haunted by the ghost of his ex-girlfriend, Mia, who left for Julliard and cut all ties with him without explanation. While in New York, a chance encounter with the girl who broke his heart leads to a heart-wrenching journey of self-discovery and redemption.

I enjoyed Where She Went much more than I did If I Stay mainly because I found Adam more likable, relatable, and compelling than Mia. I could identify with his pain over their breakup, and I could understand his anger and frustration at her for how she ended things. I thought Adam's downward spiral due to his unresolved feelings for Mia as well as the pressures of being a celebrity were well written, although I suspect that Foreman hasn't spent much time in Los Angeles because her description of the city didn't feel right. Los Angeles is known for its mild weather, not the heat. Although it can get hot in the summers in certain areas, most of the year the weather is wonderful.

This novel might have been a five star read if it were not for Mia, who I still find utterly unlikable and much too perfect. Like in the previous book, Mia is still worshipped by everyone around her (other than Adam), and she's still the greatest cello player ever. Despite having lost her family, she doesn't seem to have had many struggles. While my dislike for her worked in Foreman's favor for most of the novel because the reader through Adam is supposed to dislike her, it became problematic once Adam begins to soften towards her.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read. I think this novel would appeal to those who are fans of Melina Marchetta's writing, particularly The Piper's Son.