Book Review: I Was Here by Gayle Forman [SPOILERS]

My Rating: ★★★★★

Genre(s): Young Adult; Contemporary

This review contains spoilers. If you have not read this book, please do not read beyond this point!

Plot: [From Goodreads] 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.

Pros:

  • As always, books about suicide and depression are so, so important to me.
  • Cody didn’t realize that Meg was depressed. And this is HUGE because a lot of the time, even your very best friend may not realize how your depression is affecting you, or vice versa.
  • I liked Ben. At first I didn’t, but he grew on me.
  • It shows that anything, anything, is available on the internet if you look hard enough, and raises awareness to the fact that younger teens should be watched more closely online (yes, Cody is older but it’s still important).
  • Everyone grieves in their own way, and that’s okay.
  • Sometimes when your life looks super easy and amazing on the outside, it’s actually the exact opposite on the inside. And sometimes there’s nothing you can do about it.

Cons:

  • The first few chapters were kind of “meh”.
  • Meg is so impulsive and I know that she’s in a very difficult situation but REALLY MEETING A GUY FROM THE INTERNET WHO ASSISTED YOUR FRIEND’S SUICIDE, ARE YOU INSANE??
  • I don’t really like how Cody’s mom explained her as “sick” when she was depressed before. I feel like if Meg had known more, she might have understood the situation better.

Favorite Quotes: 

  • “You had a pile of rocks, and you cleaned them up pretty and made a necklace. Meg got jewels, and she hung herself with them”
  • “I was here.”
  • “It’s funny how once you start pretending, you realize how much everyone else is too.”
  • “Remember, the opposite of bravery is not cowardice, but conformity.”
  • “The talks were like blood transfusions, moments of realness and hope that were pinpricks of light in the dark fabric of small-town life.”

My Thoughts: This book wrecked me. When I read that Cody’s mom had depression, I knew that Cody was depressed too. And my heart instantly broke from Meg because she had no idea what was going on, and she kept turning in all the wrong directions and I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and shake her and scream, “MEG, CAN’T YOU SEE IT? SHE WANTED THIS! SHE DID THIS TO HERSELF!” And the fact that Cody was the one with the “prefect life” and killed herself is so huge. It’s normally the friend with the charmed life trying to figure out why her friend with the crappy life killed herself, and that’s just not real life. Seriously this book was so great. Gayle Forman is easily one of my favorite YA authors, and she definitely did not disappoint with this one!.)

Links:
Goodreads
Amazon
Gayle Forman

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