Author: Gayle Forman
Publication: January 29th 2015, Simon and Schuster UK
Source: Dianne of Oops I Read A Book Again! (Thanks Dianne! Special thanks to Michelle of Michelle The Escapist)
Buy it on: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | The Book Depository | Kobo | National Book Store / Fully Booked (PH)
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.
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 initially scared to read this book. It was because it talks about suicide. And at that time, I was vulnerable and would find every sad book, tear worthy. With I Was Here, I cried, I wondered and I understood...somehow.
The story begins with Cody receiving an email from her best friend, Meg, who she hasn't seen in a very long time since she started college. It was a suicide note, sent to her days after her said suicide. Cody begins to question everything around her friend's death-dorm-mates, a guy she has been seeing. She has also started to wonder what has going on through Meg's head and why, out of all people, she wasn't aware of anything at all. Things start to take shape as Cody discovers secrets that Meg has been hiding from everyone. And she might need to risk her life to find out what those secrets are.
I Was Here is a mixture of drama and mystery but essentially, Cody's frustration about why it seemed like Meg didn't value her friendship with her. She wonders all throughout the book why her friend did what she did and why she had decided to not tell her what was going on with her. Cody is a likable character as I went through the pages. She's inquisitive and headstrong, however, she does end up clouding her thoughts with jealousy; of why she wasn't told and that people who only met her for such a short amount of time could know so much that she doesn't. Cody is complex but that doesn't hide the fact that she is vulnerable.
Another character who has showed vulnerability is Ben McCallister, who is a total hottie with a bit of a douchie personality at first, but we draw out a layer of him that we do not know and end up knowing how much of a sweetheart and loyal friend he is. He has a good role in how the story progresses too. Putting a bit of a scene of getting cozy with Ben though kinda through me a tad off. I don't know if it's the theme or it just worked itself on there out. But what I do know, is that Ben, is a great support net.
Meg's family showed courage throughout the whole process, but you can feel their pain. Reading parts with them in it, hurt me. It was as if I am seeing how my parents would react in a situation like this.
The other characters of the story serve purpose as well in Cody's search for the truth, especially Harry Kang. Oh Harry Kang, I wish there was more of you than the trusted, genius I.T. guy. Maybe in another dimension. Some of the other characters seem to have been put under a blanket after certain pieces that they could offer were extracted, like Tree, whose character I was interested in. Again, in another dimension.
What's so amazing about this new offering from Gayle Forman is the element of mystery that shrouds everyone in this veil that you need to turn over in order to unmask what's under. As a reader, you don't exactly know who to trust. A person comes in, and immediately you think they might know something more, or maybe may even be the reason for Meg's death. Right then and there, we are given the situation, we are given the conflict and we are pulled to go into this quest.
And that's where my problem goes, is when Cody (and myself) reach the part where we get the answer, and I don't know what to feel about it. Empty? Outraged? Confused? Maybe. But what I do know from reading psychology books and having to take courses is that that's how some people go through with the truth of someone they care deeply's demise. A black hole that sucks up all emotion and leaves someone numb. I've never experienced an extremely tragic loss of a friend or someone I care about through suicide, but I do believe, I felt all of these feelings as I read the book. It somehow gave me an idea of how it will be and how it will pan out if I lose them to it, if I don't get to help. It also made me think, "WHAT ABOUT ME?"
I don't know if I did not like how it ended or it's just the feeling I get in my gut that I feel I am left with regret, that I could never do anything about it, if I put myself in Cody's shoes.
I'm sorry if I'm all chatty now, but Gayle Forman just gives me a lot of feelings and revisiting the thoughts of reading the book, definitely opened up some holes. She's just an amazing, inspiring writer, who weaves such heartbreaking stories and fragile characters. However this, to me, is not Gayle's best. But it does send out a wonderful, superb message of holding on to people you love and never letting them go into that darkness. It also serves as a countermeasure for anything that may happen in the future, and I know, as someone who suffers from depression, this book has given me a lot to think about and I think not along Meg's route.
I Was Here is a book that leaves its readers vulnerable and aware of the pains of losing someone and to the challenges of moving on and I think this will be a hit to book lovers everywhere!
Follow the blog tour till February 4th, with reviews from other book bloggers of Pinoy Book Tours! Thank you so much Misfit booknerds!
About The Author:
Gayle Forman is an award-winning author and journalist whose articles have appeared in such publications as Jane, Seventeen, Glamour, Elle, and The New York Times Magazine, to name just a few. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.