Friday, July 3, 2015

I Was Here by Gayle Forman

Publication Date:   January 27, 2015
Publisher:  Viking Juvenile
Series:  Stand Alone
Pages:  270

Genre:  Contemporary
Synopsis:  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 dead-end small 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.

Review:  I had high hopes going into I Was Here.  I wouldn't necessarily say that they weren't met, but I would have preferred more depth to the story.  

Compared to the intensity of If I Stay, this one lacks some serious emotion.  Sure, Cody's reaction to Meg's suicide is perfect and realistic.  I'm not going to say nothing happened, because things did happen, it just never feels like they matter.  I Was Here is a sub-par comparison to Gayle Forman's other books.  It's just lacking something, some suspense and heartbreak.  

Plot-wise, it's a bit dry.  It is fairly slow paced and lags a bit in the middle section.  However, I do like how Gayle Forman weaves in the story line of the suicide support group online.  It's a new aspect I haven't before seen in a book.  In case your wondering, though, the support group supports the person's decision to kill themselves, even helps them do it, rather than helping them get through it and live.  It's such a horrible thing, and I think Gayle Forman portrays this very well. 

I like Cody and, as I mentioned before, her reaction to her best friend's death.  It is an extremely realistic reaction, full of anger and guilt, as well as sadness.  Cody is a Good Person, there's no doubt, but her personality is bland.  She has no apparent hobbies, likes or dislikes.  In fact, I think I got more of a feel for Meg than for Cody in this book, which is rather odd, since Meg is not actually in the book, in an Alive Active Character and not Just a Plot Tool sense.

Why, in every Gayle Forman book I have read (although, I have only read If I stay and Where She Went), does the main character fall in love with a rocker?  Why?  Ben, rock star extraordinaire himself, isn't a bad character.  He has more character than Cody and I don't dislike him.  But the romance between him and Cody simply doesn't fit.

I see no reason as to why Cody and Ben had to fall in love.  To me, I don't think they would work as a couple, in the long term.  Not to mention how Meg's relationship with Ben before her suicide should be a bigger turn off for them both than it is.  I think this book would be better off with Cody and Ben growing together as friends, bonded by the fact that a person they both cared for committed suicide. 

In the end, when I think of this book, I have no real reaction.  It is basically:  that is a book, I read such book, yes, it is a book.  I doesn't leave me with anything, and that is my big issue with this one.  It doesn't stay with you, and with such an emotional thing as the suicide of a best friend, it should.

3 Keys



  1. The support group thing gave me the chills. What's worse is that things like these exist. [Trigger Warning: self-harm!!!] I've seen actual instagram accounts that encourage people to self-harm and post triggering pictures with peaceful captions and people actually send them vidoes of themselves cutting. It's so sad and personally, i think it needs to be stopped. Sucks that this book isn't memorable but hopefully it handled the topic of suicide well. Nice review!

    1. Are you kidding me? That's horrible and Instagram really needs to shut those accounts down! This book has that aspect, and it really is just as creepy. I remember one part where people gave lists of ways to commit suicide and how long it would take to die. It does have its issues, but it DOES handle the delicate topic well! Thank you for commenting!

  2. I agree with Juwairiya, the support groups on suicide was really scary, it is surprising these things still exist. I liked the book I Was Here athough the heavy suicide dosage in a young adult was too much at times, I liked Cody as well, but the romance didn't work out too much for me either. Lovely review overall <3 Benish | Feminist Reflections

    1. It's just unbelievable that things like that would exist, huh? I did feel like this one handled the topic well, though, which is something I cannot say about many other suicide themed YA novels. The romance always seemed a bit odd to me. There never sees to be a point to it. Anyway, thanks for commenting!