Review: I Was Here Gayle Forman

Content Warning: this book is about suicide.

The Details:

Publisher:  Viking Juvenile
Published: January 27, 2015
Genres: YA, contemporary
My Rating: 5 sold Stars

Goodreads Blurb:

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 that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her small dead-end town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. 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 Was Here is Gayle Forman at her finest, a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss.


My Review:

This book is about survivors guilt. That feeling when something unexpectantly dies from what feels like a preventable event and you, the dead person’s friends and family, are left staring at what is left and wondering what you did wrong. This is something that I understand completely, and I relate to Cody and her journey deeply.

My personal story isn’t one that I’m comfortable sharing on this platform at the moment, but know that I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to finish this book when I read the blurb, but I decided to try it because I love Gayle Forman and what I found was something deeply touching and surprisingly beautiful.

The story opens with Meg’s death. It’s set up immediately. Cody, the dead girl’s best friend, is almost tired of having to go to memorials and wakes for her friend. She can’t bring herself to say anything about her friend at any of these events as much as she wants to. Meg’s parents as Cody to go to the college that Meg was studying at to collect Meg’s belongings. Cody agrees, and it is here that the story really begins.

Cody discusses her feeling about Meg, her best friend to the point where they were basically sisters, inseparable like many girlfriends are. Cody’s angry, confused, lost by what Meg did. She doesn’t get it. She doesn’t understand how this person that meant so much to her could leave her out of such a big decision. How could Meg leave and make Cody do this thing, this life thing, alone?

This book gets it. Gayle Forman writes about how Cody feels her guilt and anger so well. This book, although I was worried about how well I would be able to handle it, was exactly what I needed, to have my feeling validated.

Gayle Forman is known for her realism and profound writing, this example is no exception. It is very different from the books of hers I’ve read before If I Stay and  Where she Went as well as Just one Day and Just one Year. This story is about a very different kind of love. It’s beautiful and worth picking up.


Until next time Internet,


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