I Was Here by Gayle Forman


I was hereGenre: YA Contemporary
Pages: 288
Publisher: Simon and Schuester
Source: ARC(thanks to YABirmingham)
Format: Paperback
Rating: 5 stars
Buy the book: Waterstones, Amazon, The Book Depository
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.

Let me just start by saying that the blurb I have just given to you is not the blurb that I had previously read. In fact my blurb does not mention anything that happens in the book but instead it just has the note that Meg wrote to Cody. Due to this,  I went into the book expecting it to be a YA contemporary novel about a girl trying to find herself after her best friend commits suicide however while this is what it was about, this wasn’t the whole book.

One thing I would like to say before I start talking about my feelings towards this book is that I don’t think it is suitable for younger readers. It includes quite a few swear words and a very small amount of sexual content. However, the main reason I would not recommend this to younger readers is because of what it is about. It is obviously a book dealing with the subject of suicide. Some of the things in this book are quite eye opening and they could potentially affect people on a deeper level. I cannot tell you what they are because it will slightly spoil a part of the book but only read this book if you are mature enough to be able to deal with a difficult subject.

Cody was a peculiar main character. Obviously having just recently lost her best friend, she was slightly emotionally detached from the reader and because of this you didn’t really connect with her as much. At the start she was this angry girl who was being forced to face a life without her best friend. However, as the story went on, she became more real and we got to know her a bit more. We started to feel for her a lot more because we understood why she was feeling the way she was. Her many flaws became more clear but we understood why she did certain things even if they were slightly crazy. As she starts to decrypt the file, we see a different side to Cody and I felt as if we were seeing parts of Meg come out. We were seeing how Meg felt before through what Cody felt then. This also meant that  I felt that I knew Meg despite not actually meeting her. I felt an emotional connection to her and I could see why they were so close. This made the story a lot more realistic and it meant that I could feel like I was actually part of the novel and not just reading it.

One thing I need to mention about this book is the romance. Having gone into this book not knowing about a romance, I felt that it was quite natural. Even though as soon as we met Ben, I knew he would be a potential love interest I kept questioning this because of what was revealed. I could not figure out how a relationship between them would work but I loved it. It wasn’t a rushed relationship. It felt real and it felt as if it had happened the right way. She did see him as attractive but she never wanted to be with him because of Meg and I loved that. It wasn’t any form of love at first sight and they did actually become friends first. The book mainly focuses on the loss of Meg and everything Cody does in order to deal with that and I liked the fact that the romance didn’t overshadow this.

Gayle Forman has a lovely way of writing stories that I just adore. Having previously read and loved her If I Stay duology, I had high expectations despite reading Just One Day and not liking it as much. This book definitely did not disappoint. From start to finish, I was engaged and even though I wasn’t reading it all the time, I was constantly thinking about what was happening because I wanted to know. There was a slight mystery aspect in this novel because of the encrypted file and that’s what I loved.  I wanted to know what was in this file. Once we did find out what was in it, I was shocked and I just kept reading. At times, I felt myself getting sucked in like Cody was and when you read the book ,you’ll find out why that is really scary. Every part of this novel was full of symbols and hidden meanings and I loved it. Gayle Forman has this way of writing that just completely transforms something ordinary into something that holds a lot of meaning and I absolutely loved that. At times, I was a bit worried about how people would react to what was in the file because it is alarming and it did make me wonder what it can do to people however as you read on, this changes and Gayle Forman dealt with this subject so incredibly well. Forman did what she does best; she wrote about a depressing subject yet also somehow managed to stop you from becoming completely and utterly depressed.

In the end, I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars  because it was full of emotion, mystery and intrigue. I needed to know what was going to happen next. I was completely and emotionally involved with the characters and the story as a whole. This book comes out in January 2015 and I strongly suggest that you pick this book up if you feel that you can deal with this subject because it will change you slightly. If you haven’t picked up If I Stay by Gayle Forman, I also suggest you do that. Thank you for reading this slightly odd review. I just don’t know how to put how I feel about this book into words.


P.S I wrote this review when I first read the book back in November.

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