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Where She Went


Where She Went

Maggie O’Farrell, the widow of a police detective who cheated on her with his partner, is fighting her urge to be a helicopter mom. With her daughter, Emma, off at college, she finds herself in a new and uncomfortable role: empty nester. She worries about Emma, and well she should, because Emma is about to disappear. WHERE SHE WENT toys with the fears of every parent who has sent their child off to college and wonders what’s going to happen after the tearful goodbyes are just a memory.

Emma is excited to leave the nest and experience her own new role: college freshman. Ready to make new friends and figure out who she really is, Emma decides she needs to put some distance between herself and her mom. Once she does this, her dreams of college adventures, forever friendships and self-discoveries will begin. But those dreams go up in smoke when reality steps in and slaps her in the face. Her roommates have busy lives that don’t include Emma, and the school newspaper editor quashes her hopes of being a reporter when he says he wants her to edit, not write.

"The story itself is interesting...with a couple of fine twists. Readers who don’t mind a slower pace may enjoy Kelly Simmons’ fifth novel."

There is one glimmer of hope, however, and Emma is holding onto it with everything she has: come up with an incredible story for the paper. The task seems impossible, until Emma discovers the unorthodox way her roommate makes money to pay for school. She is certain she has the perfect knock-'em-dead story but disappears before it ever gets written.

Frantic over her daughter’s disappearance, Maggie embarks on a journey that will take her down paths she hopes will lead to Emma, but those paths are darker than she ever imagined. From her first step into Emma’s dorm room to the conclusion of her search, Maggie wonders what happened to her sweet girl as clues arise that paint a very disconcerting picture of Emma.

WHERE SHE WENT has a great premise, but the writing is heavy with narrative and internal dialogue, which quickly impedes the forward flow and distracts from a potentially good plot. I also did not find either of the main characters particularly likable, despite wanting to relate to Maggie and feel her pain. The story itself is interesting, though, with a couple of fine twists. Readers who don’t mind a slower pace may enjoy Kelly Simmons’ fifth novel.

Reviewed by Susan Miura on October 18, 2019

Where She Went
by Kelly Simmons