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Review for I Was Here by Gayle Forman!


Quick View Review:

Characters: *** (3.5/5)

Plot: *** (3/5)

Writing Quality: ***** (5/5)

Amazon Rating: **** (4/5)

Full Review:

When Meg, Cody’s best friend, commits suicide by drinking a bottle of industrial cleaner in a hotel room, Cody is completely surprised and overcome with grief. She and Meg never kept any secrets… So how could she have missed all the signs? But when Cody decides to do Meg’s parents a favor by packing Meg’s belongings in her college town, she discovers there’s so much that she didn’t know about Meg. About the people Meg hung out with, people who Cody could never hope to meet in her small Washington town, and about Ben McAllister, the boy who Meg had confided in, the boy with secrets of his own. As she is going through Meg’s computer, Cody discovers an encrypted file that she can’t open… Until she does. All of a sudden, Cody’s views of Meg are turned upside down, and she is left with even more questions about her friend’s death.

First, I expected this to be a John Green-esque novel, so I had pretty high expectations of it. Despite my predictions, I didn’t love this book. When I finished reading it, I was satisfied because of the ending, but I was a little angry at Forman because the book had so much potential and could’ve been so much better. She could’ve gone so much deeper into Cody and Meg’s friendship, but instead, I felt like the book was more focused on Cody’s journey and the mystery behind her friend’s death. I’m not saying that the book didn’t explore Cody’s (and the rest of the characters’) feelings after the death, because Forman did this beautifully. My problem is that I feel like this book maybe had a little too much suspense for the kind of novel it was supposed to be and should have concentrated on the friendship between these two teens.

There are a few reasons I gave the characters a 3.5 out of 5 stars. First, I felt like Meg was mostly an outline, a presence that we didn’t know a lot about. Sure, we got a few anecdotes here and there from Cody, but other than that, we didn’t know anything about Meg and why her and Cody were such good friends. Also, I feel like Meg’s younger brother could have been made a more important character. I almost wish it had been him who had accompanied Cody on her journey instead of Ben because he was so much more attached to Meg and had feelings other than guilt (so he could have been able to relate to Cody more). Despite some flaws in the character department, though, I thought Cody was amazing. She was realistic, developed to her full potential, and totally relatable. I could definitely understand the majority of her feelings and found myself agreeing with some of the decisions she made.

I thought that the plot could have been greatly improved. First, I really didn’t like the romance. I just thought that it was completely unnecessary, took away from what should have been the focal point of the book, and made me like Cody a little less. Ben should have been a friend to Cody, someone who could help her through the grief, but instead he became something more, and I just think the story would have been better without it. This book will definitely surprise you at every turn, though, and will keep you turning the page

One thing this book definitely had going for it was Forman’s writing. It was honest and amazingly descriptive. Forman did an incredible job of representing the devastation of a suicide, the grief over having lost a loved one, the anger of being left behind by a friend, and finally the acceptance that it was their decision and theirs alone. I loved it, and I can definitely picture her writing an absolutely incredible book (I haven’t read any others so maybe it’s already out there?).

Overall, this novel was definitely flawed but also had positive aspects. The overall focus of the book was a little off, some of the characters could have been greatly improved, and the plot had some fixable issues. Despite these weaknesses, Forman’s outstanding writing and the page-turning suspense made this book one that I enjoyed and made me want to read more of her books. I recommend this book for fans of Paper Towns by John Green and if you’re looking for a more mysterious suspenseful book that doesn’t necessarily include a lot of action.

Make sure to come back next Wednesday for a new review! :)

Happy reading!

XOXO,

Jordan

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