REVIEW: I Was Here by Gayle Forman

14 November, 2014

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.

REVIEW: I Was Here by Gayle FormanI Was Here by Gayle Forman
Published by Simon and Schuster UK on 29th January 2015
Genres: contemporary, young adult
Pages: 270
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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four-half-stars

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!

four-half-stars

20 Comments

  • Laura

    14 November, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Ooo sounds interesting! Might have to put on my TBR pile!! Love your reviews.

    1. Lucy Powrie

      17 November, 2014 at 7:19 pm

      It definitely is interesting! Thank you!! x
      Lucy Powrie recently posted…REVIEW: I Was Here by Gayle Forman My Profile

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  • Charlotte @ Books and Baby etc.

    14 November, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    I really like the sound of this one. I’ve not read anything else by this author so I have no expectations either.
    Charlotte @ Books and Baby etc. recently posted…7 reasons Autumn is our favourite seasonMy Profile

    1. Lucy Powrie

      17 November, 2014 at 7:19 pm

      It’s a very good book! Sometimes it’s best to go into a book with no expectations! x

  • Eden

    14 November, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    This looks like such a good book – I always find that character voice can make or break a book, I really like to be able to sympathise with the character!
    Eden recently posted…BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Endgame: The Calling by James FreyMy Profile

    1. Lucy Powrie

      17 November, 2014 at 7:20 pm

      And Cody was very easy to sympathise with. Hope you enjoy it! x
      Lucy Powrie recently posted…REVIEW: I Was Here by Gayle Forman My Profile

  • Caroline

    14 November, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    I am reading this at the moment, only up to chapter 4 but its great to see such a fab review.

    1. Lucy Powrie

      17 November, 2014 at 7:25 pm

      Hope you’re enjoying it! x

  • Cambrie

    15 November, 2014 at 12:05 am

    Like you, I’ve only read one book by Gayle Forman, Just One Day! I enjoyed that book too, and I’ve heard so many negative reviews for, If I Stay, so I haven’t picked it up. I’m excited to hear that you enjoyed I Was Here, and I’ll definitely pick it up when I see it the book store.

    Love your review!!
    – Cambrie xoxo
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    1. Lucy Powrie

      17 November, 2014 at 7:27 pm

      So glad you’ll pick it up. Let me know once you’ve read it so we can discuss! x
      Lucy Powrie recently posted…REVIEW: I Was Here by Gayle Forman My Profile

  • Jess @My Reading Dress

    15 November, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    I’m super glad that you enjoyed this one, Lucy! I like a nice, sweet romance and it’s good to see that this one wasn’t conventional. I have an ARC but won’t have time to dig in until closer to the release date. But now I’m super excited for it 😀 Fantastic review! x
    Jess @My Reading Dress recently posted…Seeking Saturday’s Read #12: Detoxing, Time Management and Finding a New DarklingMy Profile

  • Jaina

    15 November, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    Looks interesting! I’ll add it to my TBR pile.

  • Georgia (The Bibliomaniac)

    15 November, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    So glad you enjoyed this Lucy, loved the review! I can’t wait to read this, as I loved If I Stay & Just One Day earlier this year. Also, everyone has been saying how unique and moving this book is.
    Georgia (The Bibliomaniac) recently posted…Book Review: The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman, Illustrated by Chris RiddellMy Profile

  • Sophie

    16 November, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    I’m really looking forward to this so I’m glad you enjoyed it. I don’t know if I’ll manage the wait until release month to dig into it!
    Sophie recently posted…Letterbox Love #66My Profile

    1. Lucy Powrie

      16 November, 2014 at 2:14 pm

      It’s really worth reading! It was very hard to resist!

  • Rosie

    18 November, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    This sounds really interesting, I’ll have to add it to my ever-growing tbr pile.

    I have If I Stay on my shelf at the moment and I can’t wait to read it but I feel like it’s going to be one of those books you really need to treasure, take your time over and appreciate. So I’m waiting for a day I’m home alone to read it.

  • Hazel @ Stay Bookish

    19 November, 2014 at 6:33 am

    Oh my gosh! I’m so excited that you loved it, Lucy! I’m the biggest Forman fan and I loved her other books so very much and I’m so looking forward to I Was Here. I’m glad the feelings felt genuine and that you found this brilliant. 😀
    Hazel @ Stay Bookish recently posted…SQUEEEEE OMG: The DUFF Movie Full Teaser TrailerMy Profile

  • Joy @ The Bookshelf Intruder

    19 November, 2014 at 8:46 am

    I love Gayle Forman and I will read anything that she writes. I’ve only read If I Stay and Where She Went but I loved both so I’m definitely checking this out. Great review, Lucy! 🙂
    Joy @ The Bookshelf Intruder recently posted…I completed my Goodreads Reading Challenge!My Profile

  • REVIEW // I Was Here // Gayle Forman – Educating Elsa

    13 February, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    […] was Lucy @ Queen of Contemporary’s review that really drew my attention to this book. I haven’t read anything by Gayle Forman before so […]

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