Recently I was sent a pre-release copy of Gayle Forman’s latest novel, “I was here” Some of you might remember her previous title, “If I stay” which was one of the best selling cinema releases of last summer. She’s a fantastic teen writer with a refreshing grasp on teenage issues.
At first I struggled to get into the story, getting confused by all the different characters and back stories, however once I’d gotten roughly a third of the way through I was in.
“I was here” is the story of Cody, who’s trying to piece together the remains after her best friend, Meg’s, suicide. The feeling that something wasn’t right looms over her as she steps back into Meg’s past. The journey is twisted and unexpected but the motivation for clarity spurs her on.
One of the main hooks for me was the connection between Cody and Meg and what we hear about their friendship it’s definitely something I can draw on within my own friendships. The air of mystery around Meg had me reading on, I was desperate to find out what had happened to her and to share in the relief.
The way Forman address’ the issues within the story is sensitive but still informative. For a teenage audience this is in no way an easy read the themes involved are present in current society and for some younger readers will be new and potentially overwhelming but approached in the right way as the writer does it’s factual but personal to the characters.
Whilst I slowly learnt to love Cody’s characters I did struggle with Meg, because she was only ever spoken about in past tense I felt like I didn’t know what she was like or much of her character. This definitely made an impact to how I embraced the story. I felt like there was so much more emotion to be felt than I actually found, I put this down to my lack of knowledge of Meg. This is perhaps my only piece of criticism about the book.
This is a great read for those in their mid to late teens, the inclusion of the intense themes such as suicide and depression are not often welcome subjects and I wouldn’t suggest this to those looking for a trashy book to flick through on a beach holiday. “I was here” is intense and gripping and although it’s a relatively short read it’s a story that stays with you long after the final page.
Overall a good read to sink your teeth into, a beautiful journey of friendship.
What have you been reading recently?