Simon and Schuster Australia
Published: January 2015
Reviewed by Monique
From Gayle Forman, the author of If I Stay and Where She Went, comes her latest novel, I Was Here. I Was Here tells a beautiful heart-wrenching story of friendship, grief, love, mystery and letting go. When her long-time best friend, Meg, commits suicide while away at college, 18 year old Cody is left heartbroken and struggling to understand why such a thing could happen to someone so bright and bubbly without warning. But it is not until she travels to Meg’s college to collect her belongings that Cody realises just how much Meg didn’t tell her about her new life; about her eccentric roommates, about Ben McAllister, the boy who broke her heart, and most of all, the mysterious group that pushed Meg to do what she did. This discovery sends Cody on a journey that is just as much about justifying her best friend’s death but learning to let go as well.
I not only loved the way that Forman managed to perfectly balance themes of mystery, romance and mourning, but also just how perfectly imperfect and real the characters and events seemed. The setting of a dead-end town and a university student as the protagonist aren’t necessarily unique, but the way they have been portrayed in an original, authentic and genuine light offers an intriguing reading experience. I Was Here raises confronting issues such as suicide and depression, but does it in a way that doesn’t subtract from the story line or overall reading experience.
A word of warning, this book not only contains confronting topics which include sexual references/themes and suicide, but also uses coarse language, so I would definitely not recommend to younger readers under the age of 14.
I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who loves a contemporary, reality based story with a twist of romance. 4 stars.