Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Book Review // I Was Here by Gayle Forman

I Was Here by Gayle Forman

Genre(s): Young Adult, Contemporary
Release Date: January 27, 2015
Publisher: Viking Juvenile (Penguin Books USA)
Format: Hardcover // 270 pages
Rating: 4 stars

Other books by Forman: If I Stay, Just One Day

Filed under: friendships, mental healthsuicide
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 Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end town in Washington. About Ben McCallister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, and some secrets of his own. 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'm not someone who picks up books dealing with suicide. In fact, I avoid it. Not because it's too dark and depressing, but because I know I wouldn't have an emotional connection with whatever story the book about suicide is trying to tell. I've never been close to anyone who has committed suicide or attempted to, and I don't know how painful it is to lose a close friend. However, I was able to understand Cody very strongly.

I Was Here begins with an email that Meg sends to Cody, her best friend, stating that she took her own life. Cody is confused, because she knows Meg. At least she thought she did. And Meg wouldn't do something like that. Cody learns new things about Meg after Meg's parents ask her to retrieve Meg's things in her room at college, which pushes her to figure out exactly why Meg would do such a thing.

"You had a pile of rocks, and you cleaned them up pretty and made a necklace.
Meg got jewels, and she hung herself with them." (p. 151)

Straight from the beginning, we see that Cody was a crap friend to Meg once she left town to go to school. They were like sisters growing up, two peas in a pod, and they were supposed to leave for college together. When Meg left and Cody stayed behind, Cody started ignoring her. So when Cody finds out that Meg killed herself, I understand why she was desperate to figure out why. I understand the confusion, the hurt, the desperate need to do something as if it would change anything. A lot of the things that Cody does are a bit irrational, but it makes sense in her situation.

It's really weird for me to say that I loved this book, especially because it wasn't GREAT. There were a lot of little things that bothered me, like the romance. Right when Cody meets this one boy, it's obvious that something would happen between them — and it would've been fine, but I didn't think it went well with the story I Was Here is trying to tell. (Also, I couldn't fall in love with him. However, not to stray away from my point, I did find some things about him likeable. SOME.)

The way Forman writes the internal conflict that Cody battles is honest and genuine. My heart shattered when I found out that Meg is actually based off Suzy Gonzalez, a real girl who ingested potassium cyanide and died in a hotel. I can't tell you whether or not I'd recommend it because this story is upsetting and will cause you dismay, but I will say that it is worth reading.

I Was Here spoke volumes to me and I hope, if you decide to read this, that it speaks to you too.

I know it's only been out for a month, but have you read I Was Here yet?
What are your thoughts on Cody and how she goes about finding an answer?
If you haven't read it yet, would you consider doing so?


  1. I usually don't read books dealing with suicide for the same reasons as you, and also because I generally prefer books more light-hearted, but this sounds really interesting! It sounds honest and real and a bit suspenseful. Thanks for the review!

  2. I normally have a hard time writing reviews, but this one was a little different because I felt strongly about the themes in this book. Thanks for reading, Sara!