Warning: This book includes mature content such as: sexual content, and/or drug and/or alcohol use, and/or violence.
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: