Australian Release Date: January 2015.
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Australia. RRP $19.99
Source: from publisher in exchange for an honest review.
From the bestselling author of If I Stay – this summer’s YA blockbuster film.
This characteristically powerful novel follows eighteen-year-old Cody Reynolds in the months following her best friend’s shocking suicide.
As Cody numbly searches for answers as to why Meg took her own life, she begins a journey of self-discovery which takes her to a terrifying precipice, and forces her to question not only her relationship with the Meg she thought she knew, but her own understanding of life, love, death and forgiveness.
A phenomenally moving story, I Was Here explores the sadly all-too-familiar issue of suicide and self-harm, addressing it in an authentic way with sensitivity and honesty.
I started reading this while I was waiting with my son at his eye appointment and had to stop for fear I would start crying in front of everyone in the waiting room. The emotion in this book packs a punch right from the start! I was hooked from the very first page and my heart was twisted throughout as we follow Cody as she tries to come to terms with her best friend committing suicide.
Cody and Meg were like two peas in a pod, which was why Cody was even more devastated by Meg’s death. She thought she knew everything about Meg and is angry by the fact that she apparently knew nothing. Meg had gone away to collage and Cody, who is stuck in the small town the girls grew up in, is asked by Meg’s parents to go and collect Meg’s things. She does reluctantly.
She meets Meg’s room mates and Ben, a friend of Meg’s who had a complicated past with her, a boy carrying his own guilt over what part he may of played in Meg’s death. They find solace in each other and a romance starts to slowly blossom between them. It’s not heavy, they both have too much grief, but Forman handles it delicately and balances it perfectly with the tone of the book.
Cody is given Meg’s computer and reads Meg’s emails. She is confused and intrigued by the fact there are weeks of sent emails missing. With help, she retrieves the missing emails and uncovers a shocking truth – Meg had joined a site that encourages people to take their own life. Cody discovers one person in particular seemed interested in Meg. Cody becomes obsessed with finding out who this person is. I had no idea such sites existed and it sickens me to my stomach to think there are people out there who would encourage others to kill themselves. Cody made a very questionable decision at the end but it was keeping with her character and was the only way she could really start healing.
Beautifully written, gripping, with characters that feel real, I Was Here will sink into your heart and break it (in the way we readers love). And although this book deals with grief, I didn’t feel it was too heavy, felt there was a hopefulness to it. I love how it shines the light on depression, a topic facing many teens and shouldn’t be shied away from. This is definitely a must read contemporary.
*I would recommend this to older teens and up. It does contain drinking, drug references, sexual references and swearing.
You can add it to your Goodreads HERE.