ARC Review + #Bookpics: I Was Here by Gayle Forman
I received this book for free from the mentioned source in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book nor the content of my review.
I Was Here by Gayle Forman
Published by: Viking Juvenile on January 27th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Death, Depression & Mental Illness, Realistic Fiction, Romance, Suicide, YA
Source: ARC From Publisher
View on: Goodreads
Grab it: Buy on Amazon
About the Book:
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, 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 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.
I Was Here by Gayle Forman was not what I expected. I had so much insta-love when I read her previous novel, Just One Day back in 2013; I thought I would fall madly in love with everything she writes. However, after reading the almost heavily emotional I Was Here (and I say almost because I felt very disconnected from the characters), I’m not so sure this book was my cup of tea.
Even though I read a lot, I’ve never read any novels that deal directly with suicide and the aftermath. With that being said, since that this is my fist adventure into the written world of death, loss, and grief on this scale, I guess I’m a little bit disappointed that I wasn’t more invested in the characters, their emotions, reactions, and how they came to terms with the sudden loss of Meg. Don’t get me wrong, I Was Here is a well-written novel. The words flowed, they kept you glued to the pages, but somewhere in between all of that I felt something was missing.
Cody was an okay character. For the most part. There were times when I wanted to strangle her for certain behaviors that I thought could possibly get her hurt or at least in some serious trouble. And I’m thinking this is where the book lost me and I started to enjoy it less. Cody seemed naïve in some parts and then the complete opposite in others. When Cody discovered the online forum Meg often visited and possible got encouragement to commit suicide, her reactions and then decisions turned me off. Most of it was dangerous. Slightly stalkerish. Obsessive. I know she wanted answers, however I think the way she decided to get them was neither healthy nor rational. It’s the internet. No one really knows who they are talking to on the other side of the computer. She could have been corresponding with a complete psycho and been none-the-wiser. This whole “mystery” left a very sour taste in my mouth.
As for the other characters, they were okay as well. What I liked most were Meg’s college roommates. I found myself wanting to know more about them than Cody and was often excited when she would visit them. Cody’s love interest, Ben, was also just okay. I found it very weird and almost too much for my liking. I get that Forman was trying to form a bond between the two, but a part of me thinks it was too much, especially considering the time frame and Ben’s previous involvement with Meg. In fact, I was saying “eww” instead of “aww”. Yeah. Kinda weird.
Overall, I Was Here is not a bad book. In fact, the writing is classic, thought-provoking, lovely Gayle Forman. I would recommend it if you enjoyed her previous works or novels that touch on very difficult subjects. However, if you are wanting something a little more fast-paced and less heavy, then this might not be the book for you.