Review - I Was Here by Gayle Forman and GIVEAWAY!

Sunday, February 8, 2015


I Was Here
By Gale Forman
Release Date: January 27th, 2015
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Purchased

I Was Here is Gayle Forman’s newest release, which continues her line of contemporary teen fiction.
Cody has always thought that her friend Meg was her better half. While she was Buffy, Cody was only the sidekick. While Meg was a go-getter, out to take the world by storm, Cody sat by on the sidelines and rode her coattails. Cody is from a broken home, where her own mother won’t allow her to call her mother and where she has to work every day to help pay rent, while Meg has lived the gifted life with a mother, father and little brother, with just about everything she could ever ask for. Even more, when Meg is accepted into a prestigious college, Cody is left behind in the middle-of-nowhere town to go to community college.
But one day, Cody receives a message she’d never thought she’d hear: Meg committed suicide. Meg had never lead Cody to believe that she was troubled or depressed, so why would she take her own life? While at Meg’s college to clean out her dorm room, Cody comes across Meg’s laptop and a mysterious encrypted folder that she can’t access. All of a sudden, Meg’s suicide seems a lot darker. What was Meg hiding from everyone? And why hasn’t she reached out for help? With the help of some unlikely friends, Cody tries her best to get to the bottom of things and discover what secrets Meg took with her to the grave.
I’m probably in the vast minority here, but Gayle Forman has never really been a hit with me. I didn’t like Mia in If I Stay – I felt that she was much too selfish and self-absorbed in the midst of her death of her family. And I didn’t like how whiny and dependent Allyson was in Just One Day. While the premise of those books were nice, I just couldn’t get invested because the main characters irritated me so much. And, to be completely honest, I only picked up this book because Gayle was coming to town and a good friend of mine wanted to go to her signing. I had both books so, what the heck, I went and bought I Was Here and went to the signing.
I’m happy to say that the third time is a charm! Cody was a relatable character and quite likable. I loved how she stayed true to Meg, even after feeling betrayed by her death. Her dedication to getting to the bottom of things concerning Meg’s suicide proves that she was a great friend and that she really loved her. She was just a strong heroine to root for. She had issues with her own life, but she didn’t whine or bemoan her lot in life – she made the best of things and, if she wanted something, she went after it. The fact that I had a main character that I could finally like was a great bonus for this book.
The second thing, and what I feel is most important about that book, is the message. Suicide is never an easy thing to talk about and in a culture that sees the very act as taboo or even deviant causes us all to look upon such things with a negative light. We see the people who struggle with these very real problems as sick, as weak. Several YA books have attempted to broach the subject, one of the most notable ones being Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why. I read the book a couple of years ago, expecting genius because of its high praise. I was sorely disappointed. I expected something with substance and insight, but what I got was a person who had committed suicide and decided to blame everyone for their decision. And it left a nasty taste in my mouth. While I understand that bullying and self-loathing are very real reasons for someone to feel compelled to commit suicide, I thought it was sickening that the main character in Thirteen Reasons Why decided to blame her decision to end her life on everyone but herself.
I don’t think suicide is deviant. And I don’t think it is taboo. Is it unhealthy? Yes, but it’s a safe bet that everyone out there, at one point in their life, has thought of ending their life. I do, however, think that suicide is unfortunate. While it may seem as an easy way out, it is a permanent solution to all-to-often temporary problems. That said, the decision to end your life is yours – and yours alone. While there might be people who help to compel someone to choose to end their life, it’s still the deceased’s fault. In I Was Here, Forman addresses this and acknowledges that Meg is, ultimately, at fault for what happened. And I like that Forman elaborated on how the repercussions of her actions affected those around her. Meg might have thought that her decision was hers to make – and it was – but that didn’t mean that it wasn’t without consequence to those she loved the most. Her family is left to deal with the gaping whole she left in her family and her best friend is left to deal with the anger and even resentment that comes from being left alone. The writing was so very emotional and spot on. And coming from someone who has dealt with both family and friends in similar situations, I can certainly appreciate this novel and the message that Forman got across.
While this novel was, for the most part, great – the one flaw I felt with the book was the romance. In the book, Cody meets Ben, who had had a fling with Meg before their relationship turned sour. Initially, she sees him as a foul person, but as they get to know each other and delve into Meg’s secrets together, a relationship starts to grow. Honestly, I felt that it was sort of forced and, to me at least, it took away from the novel instead of adding to it. I never felt any chemistry between them and it kind of seemed like it came out of left field to begin with. I think the book would have been even better had it just been avoided altogether.

For the most part, though, this book was definitely a hit for me. I’m glad I decided to pick it up in the end and that I can finally say that I’ve read a Gayle Forman book that was for me! I guess I can officially join her fan club!
~~~~~~~~~~~
And now for the fun stuff! I can't believe how quickly this blog has grown! I'm proud to say we've reaching over 100 followers and as a celebration, I'm giving away one signed edition of If I Stay by Gale Forman. PLEASE NOTE that this giveaway is US ONLY. I'm sorry my international readers, but I'm a poor college student! Without further ado, enter away!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
 


31 comments :

  1. I want to read this so badly! Well, I've heard some mixed reviews but I'm not ready to give up yet! I Was Here, Here I Come! XD

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. lol I don't know why but "I Was Here, Here I Come" made me laugh hard :P

      Delete
    2. That's what I've heard! I was a little surprised when I went back on GR to rate it and saw that it was at like, 3.75 stars. =/ I really enjoyed it, but I guess I could see why others didn't. Hopefully that's not the case with you!

      And, lol, it was kinda funny. XD

      Delete
  2. Great review. I haven't read her If I stay but for some reason this one is really getting to me. I want to just dive in :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much! Hopefully you'll like both when you give them the chance! ^-^

      Delete
  3. I've read If I Stay and yes, I absolutely adore it! But I still have trouble deciding whether I should read I Was Here. I've read lots of negative reviews about it and all of it touches the issues that I always have problems with. But it's too early to judge, I have to read this book to find out how it goes. :)
    Azee @ UnderCover Critique

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, that's so funny because I didn't much care for If I Stay, yet I really liked this one, despite everyone giving it back reviews. Go figure. Hopefully you'll enjoy it more than you think, though!

      Delete
  4. Congratulations on reaching 100 followers! Be ready for more posts like this, cause with your amazing blog you'll be reaching more followers in the near future :)
    I haven't read a single by Gayle Forman. They're not typically the stuff I pick up and read of my own will..I don't read contemporary that much, especially in YA.
    Got any good start for a newbie contemporary reader?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww, thanks! Your sweet words made my day. ^-^
      For a newbie contemporary reader, I definitely wouldn't start with Gayle Forman; it took me a while to find one that I actually enjoyed by her. Katie McGarry's books are fantastic, though. Very gripping and real. I've read all of her books and I've loved every one. =)

      Delete
    2. I was just telling the truth :)
      Okay, Thank You! I will definitely check her books out! I really need to explore more genres!

      Delete
    3. Aww *Hugs* You're so sweet.
      Be sure to let me know what you think of it if/when you ever get around to reading it. I'd love to read a review. ^-^

      Delete
  5. Congrats! Great review, I'm dying to get my hands on this book :)

    New follower via GFC

    ~Cari @<a href="myaddictionbooks.blogspot.com>My Addiction:Books </a>

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I hope you like it when you get the chance to read it! Thanks for the follow! ^-^

      Delete
  6. Suicide is definitely a very difficult topic to write about, and you have you write really thoughtfully as not to come across as negative.

    Amy;
    Little Moon Elephant

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed. There are so many books that have tried to tackle it and come up short, too. This one was pretty good, luckily!

      Delete
  7. Congratulations!

    I've got my fingers crossed!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I am glad you were able to enjoy this book so much! I have never read If I Stay or any book by this author for the matter, and I am really looking forward to when I can try one of theirs! Congrats for reaching 100 followers as well!

    Check out my discussion post: http://olivia-savannah.blogspot.nl/2015/02/olivias-catastrophe-romeo-juliet.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too! It was nice to say that I finally enjoyed one of her books, lol. Hopefully you'll like this one or even the other three she's written whenever you get around to reading her work!

      I'll be sure to check out your post! ^-^

      Delete
  9. Congrats for reaching 100 followers! I'm glad you enjoyed this! I want to read it so badly but I still haven't purchased it. I'm a bit afraid of it, to be honest, because I heard mixed things about it but unlike you I loved If I Stay so this might work out for me. I hope I'll be able to enjoy the romance more than you did because bad romance can completely ruin a novel for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Yeah, I'm a little backward, apparently. Everyone loved If I Stay, but I didn't. And then I ended up really liking this one, even though a lot of people are having issues with it. And while the romance in the novel might be a little... iffy, I hope you still enjoy it. I'd love to hear your thoughts when you finally read it!

      Delete
  10. I wasn't the biggest fan of this one, but I'm glad you enjoyed it more :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww, I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it more. =/
      Perhaps her next one you'll like better. Thanks for dropping by, though! ^-^

      Delete
  11. I love Gayle Forman. I can't wait to read this one! Thank you for the giveaway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you enjoy it once you get around to reading it! Best of luck! ^-^

      Delete
  12. This is a great giveaway Brittany! Too bad it's US only, but no worries, I understand :)
    Btw, your blog looks wonderful!

    Myra @ I'm Loving Books

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww! *Hugs* I'm sorry! If I wasn't so poor, it would be international! Thanks for stopping by though and the sweet comment. It made my day. :3

      Delete
  13. I'm glad you enjoyed this, I've been dying to read it myself, haha. Thanks for the giveaway! ~ Danielle D.

    ReplyDelete