Book Review: I Was Here by Gayle Forman

18879761Genre: 

Young Adult, Contemporary

Pages: 

288

Part of a Series?:

Standalone Novel

Release Date: 

January 27th, 2015

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author’s Website

GoodReads Summary: 

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.

My Review:

I am blown away at how absolutely amazing Gayle Forman truly is. I find that the struggle to prove that young adult literature provides thought provoking, incredible, well written novels is all consuming. Its part of why this blog exists in the first place. But when I read books like “I Was Here”, I feel as if all I need to do is take a copy of this book and put it into the hands of those who doubt the entire spectrum of YA. Gayle Forman is an incredible writer, an unbelievable storyteller and a person capable of capturing the most human of emotions in a matter of a few thousand words.

Gayle Forman has managed to tug at my emotions in every single book that she writes and she doesn’t fail to accomplish the same thing with this book. As soon as it starts, I know I’m in trouble. This is a story of friendship, and friends have always meant the absolute world to me, but even more so in the past six months or so. Friends are those people that are even better than family at times, in that even when you’re at the very worst you can be, they still somehow find a way to love. Its incredible. The friendship we see between Cody and Meg takes place in the past, as we follow Cody through her grief and her attempt to understand, but it feels real, and raw, and genuine, and so the grief that Cody feels over losing her best friend, over not knowing that this could happen…its incredibly real.

Meg has committed suicide. I’ve been fortunate in my life to have never experienced something like that. I can’t even begin to imagine what I would feel learning that had happened to someone I loved as much as Cody loved Meg. The thought would be…devastating. Should I have known? Should I have seen? Could I have changed what ultimately had happened to someone I was supposed to know better than anyone? And these are core questions that Cody struggles with, as she fights to wrap up the hidden pieces of her best friend’s life.

Without getting too into spoilers, because I keep my reviews as spoiler free as possible, this is where the core of the story is. Cody struggles so hard with trying to figure out why her friend did this and her personal responsibility for it, that she sort of looks for another avenue. Its not her fault. Its not even Meg’s fault. Its someone else’s fault and she actively looks for someone to blame for it, and it only drives her to further heartbreak. Watching as she breaks apart Meg’s life and the things she struggled with, and the things she didn’t know about her best friend, its incredibly humbling and heartbreaking and just…so real. Gayle Forman manages to write the most real characters I’ve read in a book and that is what makes her stories so great.

I can’t wait for more from Gayle. I can’t imagine that she can get any better but every single time I say that, she manages to produce a book even better than the next. If there is ever a doubt that young adult literature is not good enough, or not producing books of literary value, I know without fail that I can hand this book (amongst so many others) and feel strongly in its excellence. Another total winner, Gayle. I’m mighty impressed :)

Rating: 

5 out of 5 Stars

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