Book Review: I Was Here by Gayle Forman

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Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK

Release Date: January 29th 2015

Genre: Contemporary, YA/NA

Rating: 4 stars

Goodreads Blurb:

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 Review

Warning: Minor spoilers!

The book started off with Cody trying to come to terms with Meg’s suicide. This worried me a little because I thought I might not actually get to know Meg’s character…but I was wrong of-course. Like most people, Meg turned out to be pretty complicated and it would have been impossible to truly understand the reasons behind her suicide without finishing the book. She is of-course dead so there aren’t any interactions between her and Cody but we learn about her through the people she knew and Cody’s memories of her.

Cody’s way of coping with Meg’s death was indifference and I found this refreshing because it was like the character wasn’t trying too hard to make me like her. Unfortunately, a lot of the decisions she make are based on this obsessive need to know more about this “secret life” that Meg kept from her. I knew that Cody needed closure but her behavior was verging on stalkerish through a lot of the book. She also makes a lot of assumptions and treats the only other person who was close to Meg, Ben, like crap.

Ben was a character we get to know pretty well and he frustrated me because I couldn’t really figure out his relationship with Meg. To top it all off, the romance between him and Cody felt unnatural and weird. The problem is that Cody is already following in Meg’s footsteps by seeking out the guy who encouraged her to have suicide and reading her emails…This relationship between her and Ben felt like one more thing Cody was trying to experience as Meg.

This book does a great job of exploring themes like suicide, grief, redemption and regret. I truly enjoyed reading it and the author’s honest and raw style made me feel like I was experiencing the emotions alongside the character.

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