Friday, January 30, 2015

Novel Review: I Was Here by Gayle Forman

Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Genre: YA/NA Contemporary Romance/Grief
Publisher: Viking (Penguin)
Release Date: January 27, 2015
Spoilers?: No.

Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

The Cover:

I really like the cover. It's not a girls face, I like the pose and meaning. I think the feeling of the girl and the background and the colors work really well together. I like the font. I think this was a good job done.


  •  "'She could do anything. Solve anything for anyone.’
    Alice pauses, digesting that. ‘Except for herself.’”
    (ARC, pg. 52)
  • "Is this how it is with lies? The first one comes hard, the second one easier, until they slip off your tongue easier than truths—maybe because they are easier than truths.” (Pg. 94)
  • "Life seems to be about endurance, not enjoyment, not fulfillment.” (Pg. 147)
  • "...reading some story about a bunny that keeps telling its mother all the ways it’s going to run away, even though, obviously, if the rabbit meant business, it would not be telling its mother. When you’re serious, you keep quiet.” (Pg. 162)


I wasn’t too sure what to think when I started this—I barely even read the synopsis. I mean, it was Gayle Forman, so I knew I was going to get it. And now I’m really glad that I requested it.
Cody and Meg are best friends, and then Meg commits suicide, and Cody doesn’t understand. Now she’s dealing with her loss, trying to see what she missed, and finding out a lot more than she expected along the way.
The writing here was fantastic, as well as Cody’s voice. I was glued to the pages, anticipating getting back to it when occupied elsewhere.
The talk of suicide went in surprising places here, much more than I expected it to. And I really liked that. As well as the hit the family takes, the dynamic changes, how everyone is hit in some way. I liked the way that Cody was close to Meg’s family, especially her younger brother, because of her own mother.
Cody ends up going to Meg’s college house, meeting her roommates, and a lot of other people who knew Meg, who Cody never would have otherwise met. Alice was really nice, and a great help to Cody. Harry was a surprisingly nice, helpful guy, as well as Richard, none of whom Cody thought much of at the beginning.
And then there was Ben. At the beginning I wasn’t sure I was going to like him, but I did by the end. His relationship with Cody worked. I did like the way Cody kept convincing herself she was different, and thus was very difficult for Ben.
I didn’t know what to expect with this book, and was pleasantly surprised by all of it. I could not put it down. And I can’t wait for Forman’s next book, whatever it is. Also, she seems to be writing more new adult then young adult at this point, which is totally fine with me. I like that age range more.

A review copy was provided by the publisher, Penguin. Thank you!

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