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 Was Here is Gayle Forman at her finest, a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss.
I was considering on whether I should finish this book or not because at first I thought “nah, this is the kind of story I read and heard all the time”. A girl and a boy brought together by a death of a mutual friend, that’s Cody and Ben for you. The virgin girl and the bad-boy-player-who-wanted-to-change-for-her romance in the story was too clichéd! However, the fact that this was written by Gayle Forman made me hope that this will be a good read afterward and I’m glad I stick to it until the end because it definitely was. Even how cliché I thought the story was, as it moves along, Forman always manages to add depth to it and elements which later on made me realize that this was not solely focused on the love story at all.
The plot revolves around Cody coming to terms with her bestfriend’s (Meg) death circumstances. I can say hate is a very strong word but that’s kind of how I feel towards Cody in the first few pages. The reason behind being me seeing so much of myself in her. But I tell you, she’s way ruder that I am. I felt myself very much connected to her like I would know what the next thing she would do and how she’d react to this and that, that I certainly felt the need to detach myself from the story every now and then because I was so consumed with her emotion especially when she sets out to discover the reason behind her bestfriend’s death which led her to unexpected things, from deleted emails to online suicide forums and eventually to people whom she thought might have something to do with Meg’s death.
It turned out to be one crazy quest, like a wakeup call to readers who are unaware of these things, like me. The dynamic in the characters relationships changed as the story approached its ending and I’m not only talking about Cody and Ben’s but Cody and Meg’s, and most significantly Cody and her mom’s. These changes bring so much emotion, it tugged my heart. This book sort of scared me in way that it will make you think of the people who are suicidal, that for them it’s not a matter of “If I do it..” anymore but “When I do it, what, when, how?”, you know what I mean? That’s a morbid thought. It will also make you realize that sometimes life’s a b*tch and she doesn’t want you to take the same path with the person you almost consider as your better half and that loss would later on become a mystery that will haunt you forever, and that’s pretty much terrifying.
On the brighter side, this book has a lot of strengths and it’s a very insightful read. And hey, don’t let the melodrama fool you because let me tell you, the love story is there and for me it’s the part of the book which actually brought a smile to my face.
All of us have friends, so I would totally recommend this to anyone. 🙂
Rating: 4/5 ✯✯✯✯