My Review: If I Stay & Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Posted August 22, 2014 by Holly in Reviews / 0 Comments

Below are my reviews of Gayle Forman’s If I Stay and the follow up, Where She Went. Even if YA is not your usual genre, these are absolute must reads if you love a strong, emotional story line. I read both in one day and 24 hours after reading, I’m still an emotional mess. That’s how you KNOW it was great reading!


Just listen, Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel.

I open my eyes wide now.

I sit up as much as I can.
And I listen.

Stay, he says.

Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?

Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it’s the only one that matters.

If I Stay is a heartachingly beautiful book about the power of love, the true meaning of family, and the choices we all make.

My Review

According to Amazon, I purchased If I Stay on January 20th 2013. For 19 months I left it unread on my Kindle with the constant thought of “oh I’ll get to it later.” Once I knew the movie was coming my “I’ll get to it later” turned into “come hell or high water, I’m reading that book before I see it.”  I read this one and Where She Went back to back. On a work day! Gayle’s words wouldn’t allow me to put them down.
An accident rips Mia’s life apart; faced with the decision of staying here, on earth, or following her parents and little brother to the other side, Mia takes us on a journey where, through Gayle’s fantastically descriptive writing, we re-live moments in Mia’s life with her parents, her brother, and her best friend and with Adam. I could feel those moments she told us about. I could feel her and Adam falling in love. 

The you who you are tonight is the same you I was in love with yesterday, the same you I’ll be in love with tomorrow.

I was expecting to cry through this book and was surprised I didn’t cry much. (I think that’s just because I’m addicted to the movie trailer and had a general idea of what was to come in the story. The trailer however, makes me burst into tears the minute I hear it start) The one constant that made cry through both books was Adam…

“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. I was talking to Liz and she said maybe coming back to your old life would be too painful, that maybe it’d be easier for you to erase us. And that would suck, but I’d do it. I can lose you like that if I don’t lose you today. I’ll let you go. If you stay.”  

If I Stay was heartbreakingly tragic but at the same time it was beautiful. Beautiful, because, despite Mia’s loss we’re still able to see and feel the love and family surrounding her.  This is definitely a book of feels and you feel them all. 


It’s been three years since Mia walked out of Adam’s life.

And three years he’s spent wondering why.

When their paths cross again in New York City, Adam and Mia are brought back together for one life-changing night.

Adam finally has the opportunity to ask Mia the questions that have been haunting him. But will a few hours in this magical city be enough to lay their past to rest, for good – or can you really have a second chance at first love?

My Review

Where She Went positively wrecked me. I can’t stop thinking about it. Adam’s POV just annihilated me, his every thought, every word, every feeling, made my heart just ache for him. I loved getting inside his head and seeing how that fateful day in If I Stay affected him via flashbacks. Seeing him and Mia together, in the present day, getting a second chance to connect and for Adam to get some answers was absolutely beautiful. Most importantly, Mia made me understand why she left, and why she stayed away. 

“I needed to hate someone and you’re the one I love the most, so it fell on you.”

She too, made me cry during their discussion but for happy reasons. 

“You?’ is all I can manage to choke out.

‘Always me,’ she replies softly, bashfully. ‘Who else?” 

I’ve never felt like I wanted to cry while reading an entire book. Parts of one? Sure. But never the whole thing from the first to last word. Until now. I can’t even verbally describe Where She Went to another person without feeling my nose tingle, eyes water, and the lump rise in my throat! But with such heartfelt beautiful writing you can’t blame me.
“And then Adam Wilde shows up at Carnegie Hall on the biggest night of my career, and it felt like more than a coincidence. It felt like a gift. From them. For my first recital ever, they gave me a cello. And for this one, they gave me you.”

Connect with Gayle


About Holly

I'm a born and raised Jersey girl (not as seen on TV) who loves escaping in books. I Google everything and I hate rain. I have a deep love for Starbucks, shopping, and HEAs. Stay as long as you'd like. Stalking is highly encouraged :-)

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