I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.I Was Here by Gayle Forman
Published by Simon and Schuster UK on 29th January 2015
Genres: contemporary, young adult
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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’ve only ever read one other novel by Forman before – Just One Day – and I really enjoyed that. I didn’t have any expectations going into I Was Here because it sounded a lot grittier than your typical contemporary, so I was very pleasantly surprised.
Following the suicide of her best friend, Meg, Cody realises that something is a little bit suspicious. Meg never showed any outward signs that she was unhappy, but Cody feels guilty for not being there for her friend. Starting to investigate, she realises there was a side to Meg that she knew nothing about.
Forman has written an interesting and gripping start, with a distinct character voice. It felt as if I was Cody and experiencing the events through her eyes but with enough detachment to make it an intimate but comfortable reading experience.
Cody was such a whole character. By that I mean that we got to see every side of her. Her doubt at times was brilliant to see because it’s not often that we get to see such a mentality in characters.
I Was Here isn’t your conventional suicide contemporary novel and that was so, so refreshing. It also didn’t feel as if it was a book just there to fulfil a trend – it was completely genuine.
The romance was everything I look for in a brilliant contemporary book. It was slow burning and realistic. I can tell a good romance when I feel like I’m rooting for the characters and that is exactly what happened.
I really enjoyed I Was Here and will be seeking out more of Forman’s books that I haven’t yet read very soon. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good, mysterious contemporary novel that can be read very quickly. It kept me on the edge of my seat and was unputdownable!