Published - 29th January 2015
Publisher - Simon & Schuster
Format - Kindle
Synopsis - 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
After the recent blockbuster If I Stay, originally a novel by Forman, I think I can safely say this book will do wonderfully and i'm so glad of that. I will be honest and say that I was a little hesitant about reading it as I loved the book I mentioned above. From what i'd heard and read about I Was Here, it sounded too similar and I felt like maybe this book was trying to cash in on what Gayle was already becoming popular with, but I was so wrong.
I learned a few valuable lessons from this book. The main one was to stop pigeon-holing authors; whether that's expecting them to be good from previous books or otherwise! One book does not make an author. Secondly, is that all of my preconceived ideas about books dealing with mental health issues are absolute rubbish. During my hiatus on here, I popped back to review an incredible book I read by Ned Vizzini (which can be found here if you're interested). I guess I didn't learn my mistake then, but i'm definitely thinking differently now.
I Was Here, takes us on a journey with Cody as she tries to discover why her best friend took her own life. From the outside, Meg was bright and full of the joys of life but obviously, not all was as it seemed. I thought that this book would brush aside the minute details of such an illness and focus on Cody's ability to move forward in the face of tragedy. Although that's true to an extent, that's not actually what happened at all. I Was Here is actually quite graphic and in your face and I loved that. The small details of Meg's decision were the focal point of the book for me and nothing was shied away from.
I'm in agreement with most reviews about this book though in one aspect. The romance factor just didn't seem real and nor did it really serve a purpose. It broke up the story in a way that wasn't called for. I understand that perhaps it was to show that Cody's life without Meg isn't empty and could be fulfilled but I think that message came across regardless.
I Was Here is powerful and beautifully written. It probably sounds strange to hear (read?) but i'm actually inspired. I would love to read more books that focus on mental health issues and also body disorders. It's a pretty unexplored genre for me and i'd love to learn more. If anybody has any suggestions then please let me know in the comments.
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