Review: I Was Here – Gayle Forman

Posted 17 February, 2015 by Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookworms in Reviews / 11 Comments


Warning: This book includes mature content such as: sexual content, and/or drug and/or alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review: I Was Here – Gayle FormanI Was Here by Gayle Forman
Published by Viking Juvenile on 27 January 2015
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 288
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Purchase
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5 Stars

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.

Gayle Forman knows exactly how to wring my heart until it is almost empty and dry, before helping it to beat once more and let me have a good cry so that I can carry on reading. I Was Here is a raw, tough story dealing with a very difficult subject in a strong and strangely beautiful way.

My I Was Here review:

Cody had a lot of trouble dealing with her best friend’s suicide, which is something I found very realistic. Having to deal with all the questions about why, how, the guilt and if she could have done anything differently that might have helped Meg not take that final, fatal step is definitely not easy. I Was Here shows the readers parts of Cody’s journey to accept Meg’s death, to get back to her own life and stop living in limbo.

I think I Was Here is an important story to tell, because even if it is fiction, there are so many teens who suffer without really showing it, and the people closest to them may not realize how hard things were for them until it is too late to help. Most of the story here is about the aftermath, though, and I felt so bad for Cody, both because she had lost her best friend very suddenly, and because it was hard for her to continue to see Meg’s parents – even while at the same time it was good for her to see them. And it also points out how important it is to accept treatment when diagnosed with depression or being bi-polar.

Cody’s journey is both literal and metaphorical, in that she first goes to Seattle to pack up Meg’s room, and there she finds out quite a few things about her friend she hadn’t known about before. The guilt Cody feels felt very real to me as well, because she had cut off some contact with Meg when they couldn’t go to the same college as they had planned. Cody was jealous and afraid of being left behind, which is understandable, and in many cases a very natural reaction, too. As little by little Cody managed to unravel some of the hidden aspects of the last few months of Meg’s life, I was both engrossed in I Was Here, and so sad I almost wanted to put the book down. Thankfully, there is hope as well in this story. Cody found several new friends, more self confidence and a precise goal to work towards.

Written in past tense first person point of view from Cody’s perspective,  I felt like I was right beside her, feeling all her turmoil and sadness, as well as the anger and the hope. If you are ready for a tough read, run pick up I Was Here, it really was worth all the tears.

Some of my favorite I Was Here quotes:

It was bad enough she had to die. On purpose. But for subjecting me to all of this, I could kill her.

They’re Meg’s parents. Or they were. I keep stumbling over the verb tenses. Do you cease being someone’s parents because they died? Because they died on purpose?

I’m not sure what to do about her bed sheets because they still smell like her, and I have no idea if her scent will do to Sue what it’s doing to me, which is making me remember Meg in such a real visceral way – sleepovers and dance parties and those talks we would have until three in the morning that would make us feel lousy the next day because we’d slept like hell but also feel good because the talks were like blood transfusions, moments of realness and hope that were pinpricks of light in the dark fabric of small-town life. 

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookworms

About Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookworms

Lexxie is an English as foreign language teacher and has a Master's degree in English Language and Literature. She's an avid reader, blogger, compulsive one-clicker and a genre omnivore. Ever since she learnt how to read she has been seen with a book or two in her hands everywhere she goes.

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11 responses to “Review: I Was Here – Gayle Forman

    • I didn’t agree with all of her actions either, Jeann, but it’s really difficult to imagine how I would have acted if I was in the same position as her.

  1. I Was Here sounds very powerful and moving, Lexxie. I’m kinda sitting here in a stupor just thinking about your review. You know I love Forman so I will read this one – after I catch up on all her others. 🙂 I’m glad that even though she broke your heart, she gave you hope, too.

    Happy Tuesday! I hope things are going well. I can’t believe that your paper is going to have to count towards the next term, but at least it’s done, right? And you are going to be so busy with school and teaching and family and reading and blogging. You’re exhausting me! LOL But I admire you for doing it all! We have a foot of snow and are forecast for more Friday through Sunday. I’m not complaining. Nope. I just wish I could teleport the kids to school. 🙂 Happy Tuesday, my dear!! **BIG HUGS**

    Bookworm Brandee recently posted: Teaser Tuesday ~ #56
    • Forman is nothing short of amazing in my opinion, but you know that already, Brandee 🙂

      Yeah, well, as you said at least that paper is already done! For one of my other classes (the one for which I am reading The Fellowship of the Ring and Game of Thrones) my attestation paper will be to make a website or a blog about a novel within the romance genre (rather the medieval romance – not contemporary) which has also been made into a movie / TV show / video game / graphic novel… and compare and contrast the different medias 🙂 I’m doing mine on Outlander 😀 YAY Jamie!

      WOW that’s a lot of snow, and I totally understand why you’d rather teleport the kids to school!

      Happy Tuesday to you, too, my dear! *BIG HUGS*

    • That’s true, Iza, many people are very good and hiding their pain and troubles… I think it’s a good idea to wait for some sun to compensate, I found this story to be very good, but also a tough one to read 🙂

  2. I’ve been seeing some mixed reviews for this and have been hesitating to pick up a copy even though I love Gayle Forman. From your review, though, it sounds like she handled another really tough topic with her usual genius. I will definitely be pushing this up on my TBR!

    Lee @ Rally the Readers recently posted: I Mustache You Some Questions

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