27 Jan 2015

REVIEW: I Was Here by Gayle Forman

Title: I Was Here
Author: Gayle Forman
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary.
Publication Date: February 1st 2015
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Australia
Format: Paperback/ARC
Pages: 288
Rating: 4/5

From the bestselling author of If I Stay - this summer's YA blockbuster film.

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.

This book was provided to me by the publisher, but this is no way alters my review.

There’s something about seeing Gayle Forman’s name on a book cover that reminds me that I’ll never be prepared for the feels that I’m about to experience. For me, I Was Here was no different. As a whole, I really enjoyed this book but there was one aspect that held it back from being a five star book for me. This is the story of a girl coming to terms with her grief after her best friend, Meg, commits suicide.  I felt like I’d read this before. Meg and Cody are those typical best friends you read about – Meg is the more popular one, the one that’s going places, has a good life etc. and Cody is the one that’s more in the shadows. Typically, Meg is the one that commits suicide. I know that depression can hit anyone and it effects different people in different ways, but just once I’d like to read a book about how the popular one deals with the loss of her quieter friend. Sort of off topic, but if anyone knows of a book like that please let me know.

Apart from that, I really liked the book. I’m going through the process of grieving right now, so I kind of understood where Cody was coming from. I know some people found her annoying but she was sort of exactly what I needed right now. Our situations are very different, but there were aspects of her grief that I’ve felt myself recently so I really appreciated the authenticity of her voice. I admit that I didn’t actually cry in this one so it didn’t tear me apart quite as much as If I Stay did.

I think, all in all, this was a really beautiful story. There were a few parts that I wasn’t exactly keen on, but I still understood why (most of) those things happened. I think one of the most important messages this book has is that life does go on, it might not seem like it at the time but eventually, the pain eases.

Thank you the wonderful mods of the Australian YA Blogger group for organising the review copies and to Simon and Schuster Australia for sending me an extra copy after my original was lost in the mail.