Clover Book Club: I Was Here by Gayle Forman
You could say author Gayle Forman, who started her career writing for Seventeen magazine, ~gets~ teens. And though she no longer is one—at least not according to her birth certificate—she’s spent the last five years of her life penning brilliant and incredibly relatable YA novels. In fact, her YA debut, If I Stay, went on to be a big-screen blockbuster starring Chloë Moretz. Not a bad start. Forman’s latest, I Was Here, is equally heartbreaking and every bit as big screen-worthy. See what our readers have to say (and love!) about it below.
I Was Here tells the story of a small-town girl named Cody and how she deals with the unexpected loss of her best friend, Meg, who has committed suicide. Cody not only journeys back to Meg’s college to collect her things, but becomes determined to find who and what contributed to her decision to end her life. Trying to reconcile the loss of her best friend, she suddenly learns that the one person she thought had it all, was someone who was so complicated and troubled with herself.
Books that pull on my heart strings when approaching topics of loss and heartbreak always make me hesitant to read at first. But that said, I instantly felt drawn to this one because of its relevance to my age. Each character felt realistic and multi-dimensional, and they took me on an emotional journey as I flipped through each page. Anyone who has dealt with a loss of any kind will understand the grief, solace, reflection and forgiveness Cody enables in herself. I Was Herereminds me that we do not know everything; we also don’t know everyone, no matter how much we think we do. Cody’s story is one of strength—not to mention, the courage to seek the truth, no matter how grueling it might be.
I Was Here allows us to face our own truths of loss and heartbreak. In facing those truths, we begin to learn more about ourselves. We live in an age where technology impacts our thoughts and actions; I Was Here is an excellent example of how young adults are affected by this. I guess you could say that, in reading this, I faced my own fear of death and heartbreak, and I thank Cody and Gayle Forman for that.
I have been an admirer of Gayle Forman ever since I read If I Stay in high school. Reading I Was Here reminded me exactly why I loved Forman's writing so much, and why her novels spoke to me so deeply. Her diction, the expression, her word choice--everything together makes her work impossible to put down. It reels you in. That was definitely the case with I Was Here.
I Was Here is heart wrenching, and it is eye opening. It makes you question a lot of things. Cody tries to cope after her best friend kills herself without any explanation. Cody and Meg had been best friends for years, and Cody thought she knew everything about Meg. She was her best friend, there were no secrets. Right?
It took Meg dying for Cody to realize that you never truly know someone. There was so much that Cody did not see, and did not know. In life, many things are left unspoken. There were plenty of things that Meg didn't say, and there were many things that Cody discovered from what was left in Megan's all-packed-up and perfectly cleaned dorm room. Everyone is fighting their own private battles, and this book truly emphasizes that.
My friends and I really liked Cody's character and how determined she was to uncover the truth. It was a roller coaster from the beginning to end. We would definitely reco!
This letter was brought to you by our pals at Penguin Teen. Now that you’ve heard what our readers have to say, pick up Gayle Forman’s amazing novel I Was Here, well, here. Get a double-dose of Gayle by pre-ordering her upcoming novel, I Have Lost My Way.