I Was Here by Gayle Forman
Rating: 3/5 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.
It’s so difficult when an author that you really enjoy comes out with a new book. It’s always the question of will it be as good as their others? Unfortunately, I was Here was not as good as I was expecting. I lacked emotional connection with the characters. I’m not saying that the characters weren’t well developed, because they were. I’m saying that for some reason, I couldn’t find the thing that linked me to the characters’ emotions. It can’t be that it wasn’t relatable, because I’ve experienced similar situations with people I know.
Perhaps it was Cody’s actions themselves. I mean, Cody was obsessed with Meg’s death for a while. I can understand being upset, but man she got really really into it. She did some questionable things throughout the book, which I can’t disclose for fear of spoiling, but just know that many times I wanted to scream in frustration. While Cody makes some realistic decisions, others I felt would never happen in real life.
The plot was stimulating however. I did want to know what really happened. I wanted to find out who Meg really was. I wanted to discover what Meg tried really hard to hide. Some points I felt were redundant, like a continual return to clubs multiple times in the book.
Okay. What even was the romance. I felt SO violated by it. I felt like it was inappropriate of them, not just because of Meg’s death, which certainly had a factor. To me, they didn’t really have a connection besides both having been friends with Meg. I don’t know, I had a little niggling in my brain that was whispering that it felt like Cody was trying to be Meg. It just felt so wrong. The romance was a main reason for me giving I was Here 3 Stars.
The way Forman writes and forays into these types of topics is beautiful. She isn’t afraid to show the gritty side of life. She goes where other authors are scared of. I really appreciate Forman for doing this. However, I was Here was merely adequate in comparison to her other novels.