Tuesday 27 January 2015

Book Review - I Was Here

I Was Here
Author: Gayle Forman
Genres: Contemporary | Young Adult
Release Date: 29th January 2015
Publishers: Simon & Schuster
No. Pages: 270
Source: Review Copy - Simon & Schuster
Buy From: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Waterstones
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.

If you are like me and love Gayle Forman's writing than when you see that she is bringing out a new book you don't even need to know what it's about before adding it to your overgrowing to be read pile. That's exactly how it was for me, only after I read the summary I was even more sure that I NEEDED to get my hands on it. And then it was added to netgalley and it was like my prayers had been answered. I'll admit, I was a little naive when I started the book because I was expecting something along the lines of the If I Stay or Just One Day series, but I'm telling you know that if like me that's what you were expecting you can think again. Though the book has a lot of similarities to Gayle Forman's others, the big glaring differences is the amount of angst the main character has.

It took me a few days to really get into I Was Here, I'm not sure if it was because my head was else where or because of how.. woe is me I found Cody to be at the start. I know that sounds a bit harsh, given the fact that she was dealing with her best friends death but that's just how I felt to at the beginning, however that's not how I felt as the story went on. Even though at times I found it hard to connect with her, I loved how loyal Cody was to Meg even though she could never understand why she decided to end her life, why she never confided her. She was her best friend and she knew her insider out, did she?. That's what Cody thought until she delves deeper into the life that Meg worked so hard to hide from everyone.

As already stated, I Was Here is completely different to the other books that Gayle Forman has out. In If I Stay we have a story about a young girl who was in a terrible accident and is learning how to deal with goodbye, in Just One Day we have a brilliant story about love and adventure and in I Was Here we have a heart breaking story about justice and discovery. Cody believes, like Meg's little brother, that Meg's choice wasn't just her's and decides to find the person who was responsible. Upon being asked by Meg's family to retrieve her things from college, Cody uses it as an opportunity to get to know the people that have spent the moments with her that she couldn't, but she doesn't like what she finds. It turns out that Cody didn't really know Meg as much as she thought she did, and the person who helps her come to terms with that is Ben, Meg's maybe or maybe not one night stand. Cody's need to find out what happened takes her to self discovery and dangerous places and in the process she finds a few things out about herself that I wouldn't go as far as to say she didn't know about but rather tried to bury deep down.

As far as characters go we weren't short of interesting and forward people. Though I didn't like Cody to start off, I found her to be completely judgmental of Ben when she first met him, not really giving him a chance to explain his connection to Meg before just assuming that she was right and he was a sleazebag, and though I didn't like Ben at the point I found it to be a big big turn of from her character. However as the story went on and we saw her character develop and open up a bit I really warmed to her. When it comes to Ben.. well I didn't like him at first but then yet again I found myself to be completely smitten by him and on his side even if he didn't deserve it haha.

I really enjoyed this book, and I want to write so much about it but because it's not the longest of books I don't want to spoil it for anyone. Perhaps the only thing that I would say I didn't get about this book was the love aspect to it. At times it felt like Cody was getting to close to Ben and it was really unrealistic, but then other times I got the feeling that the reason things seemed to be moving at a million miles per hour was because they were both grieving for someone they lost, Meg didn't mean as much to Ben as she meant to Cody but he did care about her and he lost her too.

I don't know if Gayle Forman is planning on turning this into a duo series like her others, but in my opinion the story ended perfectly and I personally think that it might spoil what was a good story if it was done from say Ben's POV. The only way I could see it working is if it was from Meg's POV, which would be really interesting actually. (I am in no way saying there is a second book planned, I'm just speculating what it could be about if there was haha). Anyway like I said I really enjoyed it, I'm thankful that this book had all the things that made her other stories unputdownable, a great story, good characters and so much depth. I would recommend this to old fans and new.


  1. I haven't read anything from Gayle Forman which is kind of sad because she's a huge author! I heard pretty good things about this one. It actually sounds like one that's going to agree with me, so yay :) I'm glad you thought the characters were pretty complex because with a book like this, they ought to be, right?

    great review!

  2. I'm not a Forman fan AND YET FOR SOME ODD REASON I LIKED THIS ONE. I mean, I just never thought I would, you know? And it's not getting a lot of love but ha, I ate it up! Read it in one go. Planned to go to sleep, and that never happened. I don't want this as a duo. It's perfect as a standalone. It's perfect where it ended. I just hope she doesn't go further. Brilliant review, Stacie! x

  3. I wasn't the biggest fan of this book because I just couldn't understand the forced relationship or Cody's actions, but I agree they were both dealing with grief in their different ways. Glad to hear you enjoyed it Stacie!

  4. I agree about Cody, she was really judgmental of Ben. The whole romance was just weird, I didn't think it was really necessary. I kind of wish Forman had taken a slightly different road with Ben. Overall though, I did like Cody and the ending definitely got to me. Ooh, a book from Meg's point of view would be completely brilliant. Gah, one can dream. I believe I Was Here is strictly a stand alone novel.


  5. Suicide seems to be a hot topic, and I feel sorta horrible for admitting that it makes me want to pick it up, because I think we need to talk about it more and stop treating it like the victim was just selfish and stupid.


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