Sunday, 5 November 2017

Gayle Forman: I Was Here | Book Review

Last week, I found myself with a spare hour or two in the city and decided to have a look in Waterstones Book Store. I browsed and browsed and browsed, picking up endless books just to put them back down until I found 'I Was Here', a novel written by Gayle Forman who also wrote the best selling novel 'If I Stay' which I am yet to read. When looking for a new book to read, I usually gravitate towards ones that heavily involves Mental Illness and this novel sold me almost as soon as I picked it up. I can honestly say that it is such a powerful and moving story and I know that it'll be one that I won't forget.

This novel is based on a girl named Meg and her inseparable best friend Cody and is based on Megs Suicide, something that Cody can't quite get her head around because she thought that she knew everything about Meg, but how could she if she didn't realise that Meg was contemplating taking her own life? As soon as you begin to read this book, you learn to love Cody and empathise with what she must be going through. Not only does she have to get over losing her best friend, but she feels that she needs to learn what caused this tragedy and why it happened. 

Throughout the first few chapters, we quickly learn that Cody was close with Megs family, Megs mother Sue Garcia and her Father Joe Garcia were like parents to Cody and treated her as their own due to the fact that her own mother was far opposite and never intended to get pregnant with Cody in the first place. Early on, the Garcias ask Cody if she would be able to go to Megs University room to bring back her belongings; something that they felt they couldn't do themselves. Cody agrees to go and starts her puzzle of a journey through the last few months of Megs life, desperately trying to work out what really had happened. 

Cody met many new people on her journey, some she got on really well with and others she hated, she spent hours going through Megs laptop; especially her emails trying to figure out who, if anyone was involved in her death. She tries many different avenues which usually results in no direct links to Megs death but this doesn't stop her from continuing. She finds romance on her journey through mystery before putting all of the small clues together and feeding back to the Garcias, who unfortunately knew the majority of information Cody had collected and explained to Cody, Megs secret battle with depression. "She had her first clinical episode in tenth grade. She had another last year."

This title ends with Cody fixing her relationships with others, tracking down her birth father who appeared far from what she had imagined and remembering her best friend Meg in the best way possible like remembering them sitting in the Rocket Ship at the park and Meg pointing out her favourite quote, engraved into the metal that she later planned on getting tattooed; "I Was Here."

Overall, I adored this book and got myself so engrossed in it that I managed to read it all within an afternoon. I felt that I really was able to get to know the characters and shared their emotions with them. This is a book that I will certainly read again and would highly recommend. I feel that it is a unique book style of a heartbreaking tragedy and you're really able to get involved within the mystery and relate to the characters at certain points. I think that is also a really nice touch that it is inspired by a woman that Forman was told about whilst doing interviews surrounding losing loved ones to suicide. Suzy Gonzales had been dead for a few years but was loved and spoken about enough to heavily inspire the character Meg.

Thank-you for reading, Tay x

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