Review: I Was Here By Gayle Forman.

I was here

Australian Release Date: January 2015.
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Australia. RRP $19.99
Source: from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

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.

My Thoughts:

4.5 stars.

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.

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11 thoughts on “Review: I Was Here By Gayle Forman.

  1. This book surprised me with how much I liked it! I didn’t think I was going to cry and them bam, the ending killed me a little. But the hope within the story really helped, especially at times when Cody seemed to be going out of control with her obsession. Lovely review Rochelle, so glad you ended up loving it! xx

    1. Thanks. I din’t think I’d get as emotional as I did, but it was Gayle Forman so I really shouldn’t have expected anything else. I was so glad the hope was there, books that totally drain you and leave you miserable are just no fun to read.

  2. I loved this book as well!!!! The characters do feel so real! Cody was a character with so much depth. I loved how dedicated she was to her best friend even after death. She was so determined to figure it out, almost to the point where she almost put herself in her shoes. Great review!

    1. Yes, Cody had so much depth. She did go to great extremes to try and figure this out but that was her way of coping and it was really interesting to read. Glad you loved this one too 🙂

  3. I’m just hanging out to buy a copy of this book, every review I’ve read including yours makes me want it that little bit more and more. I completely feel you on trying to hold back the tear in a public place, it seems to me that every time I read an emotional book it’s in public or on a very packed bus. Thanks for the great review!

    1. Yeah, I should have known to not try and read this book in public because I had read reviews and new how emotional it was going to be. I hope you end up loving it when you get a chance to read it 🙂

  4. This book was definitely a bit of a hit to the feels! It’s actually been my favourite of Forman’s novels so far. Cody was such a fantastic character in how realistic she was 🙂

  5. Yours is the first really positive review of this book that I have read, Rochelle! A lot of the others I’ve come across have been very skeptical of the choices that Cody made throughout the novel in respect to her safety and the romance with Meg’s ex.

    I must say that your review has made me more interested in I WAS HERE than I was before. I think it sounds like a pretty interesting premise, and I like books that aren’t afraid of being dark.

    Lovely review ^.^

    1. I hope you do give it ago. Gayle Forman has such beautiful writing. I’ve seen a lot of negative reviews too and each to their own I guess. I understood Cody’s motivations and given the circumstances I didn’t mind the romance at all.

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