Book Review – I Was Here

Author: Gayle Forman
Series: None
Genres: Young Adult, New Adult, Contemporary
Release Date: 29th January 2015
Publishers: Simon & Schuster UK
No. Pages: 228
Source: Netgalley
Buy at: BookDepository

This characteristically powerful novel follows eighteen-year-old Cody Reynolds in the months following her best friend’s shocking suicide.As Cody numbly searches for answers as to why Meg took her own life, she begins a journey of self-discovery which takes her to a terrifying precipice, and forces her to question not only her relationship with the Meg she thought she knew, but her own understanding of life, love, death and forgiveness.

Well, I’ve finally read a full-length novel by the highly praised Gayle Forman. I’m going to be honest and say I’m disappointed. Whilst this novel was well written and contained good characters I was expecting more after the recent hype surrounding Forman.

I Was Here follows Cody as she struggles to come to terms with the suicide of her best friend – Meg. At the request of Meg’s parents Cody travels to her friends dorm room to clean it out and bring her belongings home. It is there that Cody discovers some deleted emails and encrypted files on Meg’s computer. With the help of a tech-savvy friend, she sets out on a mission to discover the truth about Meg’s death.

Cody was a decent main character, who’s narration were very entertaining. Although, I did like Cody I sometimes found myself questioning if she was going too far, there were often times where it felt as though Cody was attempting to become Meg or to force herself into the life Meg hadn’t told her about. I can’t really elaborate without spoiling.

This book contained a long list of New Adult romance clichés: a tragic event brings a girl and guy together, the guy is a man-whore who sleeps around with hundreds of girls, girl loses virginity to guy who suddenly finds himself wanting to change himself for her. I could go on. The romance within this book was so overdone that it was incredibly predictable and boring. Luckily, the romance took a back seat to the rest of the story and so it was easy to ignore.

Although this book did not contain many scenes between Cody and her mother, Trisha, we really saw how their relationship evolved over the course of the book. Seeing this evolution was one of my favourite things about I Was Here and there is one scene within this book that really helped to show the character development for both Cody and Trisha.

My favourite scenes within this book would have to be the ones near the end when the Garcia’s finally told Cody everything they knew about Meg’s suicide and they could finally honour her memory properly. I think these final scenes really helped to bring everything full circle and gave the book an almost bittersweet ending.

This book contained many scenes that I believe were supposed to cause the reader to feel a turmoil of emotions, unfortunately, it just didn’t elicit these responses from me. After hearing how heart wrenching Forman’s books are supposedly, the lack of emotion I felt was the biggest disappointment.



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