I Was Here by Gayle Forman
I have a small confession to make. I bought this book from Hatchards in London at the online price because it was cheaper than the price that Foyles were charging and I went to see Gayle Forman after buying it at Foyles. Does that make me a cheapskate? Desperate book-searching times call for desperate measures! Sadly, after the amount of other books I had to read, I managed to finish this nearly a whole month after seeing Gayle Forman, but I did read it and this is what I thought.
Cody and Meg are inseparable friends. Or were. Because one day Cody gets a suicide note from Meg, telling her that's she's dead. She committed suicide, and Cody's left to wonder why she did it, and what happened to make her do it. So she makes it her mission to find out why Meg committed suicide, and to cope with what she's left behind.
I loved Gayle Forman from the second I finished reading If I Stay, but this book is different. It's not to do with the fact that one's about life or death and one's about suicide, but to do with the fact that If I Stay questioned the situation and I Was Here was more a personal struggle with the issue. Did that make the book worse? Possibly.
Suicide is a really hot topic but in no way was this a sick-lit book because the relationship here was a friendship, unlike The Fault In Our Stars or Amy And Matthew where it was romantic. In fact, I thought that the issue was dealt with sensitively and with a great deal of care.
You were also given an insight into Cody and Meg's pre-suicide era, and you were given a great deal of information about the plot. The characters, not so much. I know their names, but not much else. Not even the fact the boys are tall, which is something that regularly comes up.
Gayle Forman writes Marmite novels: some of them you like, others you hate. Some of them are so-so. I loved If I Stay, but I'm not too sure about I Was Here. The plot was brilliantly developed, and the research had been done. But in similar fashion to My Heart And Other Black Holes, I don't know much about the characters still and I feel like this is something I want to know about.
This book is not for the faint of heart and can get really emotional at points. And as always, if you're experiencing the effects of suicide or you yourself are contemplating it, please don't read this book. It won't make your situation any better.
I like you Gayle Forman, but I'm mixed about this book.
(If you do need help with suicide, please reach out to someone for help. The Samaritans operate a 24hr hotline in the UK, and you can call them anytime on 08457 909090. If you're anywhere else in the world, visit www.befrienders.org for more information and help)