Review – I Was Here by Gayle Forman

POSTED ON February 27, 2017 BY Tia Jenkins IN Book Review

Review – I Was Here by Gayle Forman

I Was Here

by Gayle Forman
Published on January 27, 2015 by Viking Juvenile
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 270
Format: Paperback
Source: Giveaway Prize
Book Depository / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Cody and Meg were inseparable.
Two peas in a pod.
Until . . . they weren’t anymore.

When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.

I Was Here is Gayle Forman at her finest, a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss.

Ever since I read Gayle Forman’s If I Stay duology, I fell in love with her writing. It was always so heartbreaking, but it felt real. It talked about things that a lot of books don’t talk about and I liked that. I Was Here isn’t any different. This book addresses suicide and the fact that the internet can be a big place for others to convince you to do it. It’s sad, but it happens all the time. There are a lot of people who don’t think that telling someone to kill themselves is a bad thing, that what they are doing can harm more people than they think. The internet has created a lot of good things, but it also has paved the way for cruelty to sneak in, hidden behind an anonymous profile picture.

I Was Here follows a girl named Cody who just learned that her best friend, one of the strongest people she knows, has killed herself. Understandably, Cody is shocked. She couldn’t understand why Meg would have done this without talking to Cody about whatever it was Meg was going through. They were best friends and Cody felt like she didn’t know Meg as well as she thought she did. This leads Cody on a journey to figure out exactly who Meg was. Watching Cody learn things she never knew, caused me to really put myself in that position. I felt like I was going on this journey with Cody and it was inspiring.

On this journey, Cody meets a wide array of people. Ben being one of them. This relationship was pretty cute. Ben was a friend of Meg’s that Cody had never met before and they formed an unlikely alliance. Ben wanted to know what happened to Meg as well and he offered to help Cody out. When Cody learns that Meg was active quite frequently in an online chat room that talked about ways people had thought about killing themselves, she enlists Ben’s help to track down the man she believes talked Meg into killing herself. This road trip they embark on has a lot of twists and turns that are honestly a little surprising. Cody risks herself so many times just to learn the truth.

I think what I like about this book so much is that Cody isn’t just searching to find out what happened to Meg, she’s finding herself as well. In order to find the guy who convinced Meg, she has to put herself in that mindset and talk to the guy like she wants to kill herself too. She has to convince him that she isn’t a fraud and it was hard to read. It was hard for me to imagine getting out of that mindset. It showed me what strength is. Cody had more strength than she thought she did and it was inspiring to watch her find herself.

The romance was also slow-burn, which was amazing. You could tell that there was something between Cody and Ben from the very beginning, but nothing happened until the end and I really liked that. I liked that it was more realistic. I guess that’s also what I really like about Forman’s work. They’re always so realistic. So do I recommend this? Yes, yes I do. It would definitely be a good backlist title for those of you participating in our BTB challenge this year!

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