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.
Now, when I pick a book to read, one of things I avoid is anything involving suicide, illness or anything remotely depressing. That's one of the reasons I wasn't a fan of the Fault In Our Stars - I don't deal well with reading about illness.
I did, however, remember that I had I Was Here on my bookshelf. And since I had it, why not read it? Not that I thought I was going to enjoy a story with such tragic events. I thought I'd struggle to get through this. The topic is quite a sensitive thing.
To my surprise, I actually really enjoyed this one! It's only a short book, not even three hundred pages total, but it felt as if it was about ten pages long. I read it so fast, and I was glued to it. I had to know what had happened to Meg!
This book has a bit of everything; family, romance, tragedy, death, humour, mystery, you name it. I liked that in a book, and it certainly contributed to the book becoming such a page turner for me.
Our protagonist, Cody, is Meg's best friend. She spends a good portion of this book trying to figure out what happened, why Meg took her own life, and whether anyone encouraged it. She put herself in Meg's shoes and the journey she takes is emotional but ultimately interesting. We learn so much about Meg, and yet she remains such a mystery to us. Not only does Cody have issues with Meg and her double life, but also with the relationship with her mother and Meg's parents. As someone who is terrible at comforting people and unsure what to say in such circumstances, I could relate. Cody's discomfort made it more difficult for her, with her own sense of loss, mourning and confusion. What do you say to parents who lost their child at a young age? Is there anything to say?
We also meet some interesting characters along the way: Meg's roommate, her family, and Ben. Ben, the love interest. I have to say, as soon as we met him, he just came across as Kellan Kyle number 2. And it's not like that's not a good thing. He's a singer in a band from Seattle who has a similar life and past as Mr. Kyle, as well as a similar personality. So I couldn't help but compare. But the way Ben's story progressed, I grew quite fond of him, and well. I'm always okay with a second Kellan.
The aftermath of such a tragedy is very real for all persons involved, and Gayle has a wonderful way of telling it. I found that there are messages in this book well worth learning, and one of them is never to judge. We've all fought battles, and even if we seem fine on the outside, you don't know really what's happening inside. Being nasty to someone could end up being the last straw for someone who is struggling. Lesson? Be nice, respectful and make each day count. Although Cody thought she knew her best friend, she did at times take her for granted. Cody assumed Meg would tell her everything. She was wrong. And that's a difficult lesson to learn, and something to consider.
It was heartbreaking, suspenseful and a book I'll remember for a long time.
As stated before, although I don't usually like this type of book, I absolutely loved it. Definitely recommendable to anyone who likes Young Adult.
I know Gayle Forman is a popular young adult author, so I'd love to hear what books of hers you like. If you've not read her stories, then I recommend this one. Any thoughts? Leave us a comment or find us on social media below:
BOOK REVIEW: I WAS HERE BY GAYLE FORMAN
4/ 5Oleh The Honest Bookclub