Review: I Was Here by Gayle Forman

The Blurb

From the bestselling author of If I Stay – this summer’s YA blockbuster film.

This characteristically powerful novel follows eighteen-year-old Cody Reynolds in the months following her best friend’s shocking suicide.

As Cody numbly searches for answers as to why Meg took her own life, she begins a journey of self-discovery which takes her to a terrifying precipice, and forces her to question not only her own relationship with the Meg she thought she knew, but her own understanding of life, love, death and forgiveness.

A Phenomenally moving story, I Was Here explores the sadly all-too-familiar issue of suicide and self-harm, addressing it with sensitivity, gentility and honesty.

The Review

In the past month I have read three young adult books which centre on the topic of teen suicide. This contentious issue seems to be (somewhat worryingly) en vogue. As worrying as it is that books for young adults are focussing on such dark subject we have to also be thankful for them. With any book, a reader will feel a sense of escapism and whether or not the subject of the book is happy or sad the reader will learn about the consequences of a person’s actions. Therefore, we have to be thankful to the likes of Gayle Forman who, in this instance, writes about the impact that suicide can have to those you leave behind.

In I Was Here, Forman explores the dangers that the internet can provide for those who are contemplating killing themselves. How a person can learn tips on how to end your life and support from others who encourage you to take the next step or “catch the bus.”

However, what is more powerful is the sheer devastation that the character Meg leaves behind, in particular with her best friend Cody. She feels anger, rage, grief, guilt and sadness – a thesaurus of emotions that she cannot begin to fathom. In the end she tries to search for an answer, for someone to blame.

Out of the three ‘suicide stories’ that I have read recently, I believe that I Was Here is the most powerful. The sense of loss and all the emotions that come after losing someone really make this story resonate. I would implore anyone to read it.

Gayle Forman brings a unique and inspiring voice to YA fiction.

I Was Here by Gayle Forman is available now.

You can follow Gayle Forman (@gayleforman) on Twitter.

I was here

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