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April 2015

I Was Here (Gayle Forman)

In my little school library, we have a couple of Gayle Forman's novels, including the popular If I Stay, which I have to admit to not having read yet.  It's been on my list, but I always seem to pick up other books instead.  And it's still on my list, mainly because when I Was Here came across my processing desk I thought eh, I'll give it a go instead.  I'll get to If I Stay one of these days!

Let's say upfront that Gayle Forman tends to deal in weighty topics, and I Was Here is no different.  The novel's narrator, Cody, is left behind in the wake of the suicide of her best friend, Meg.  Cody had no idea that Meg was considering suicide, and is left grieving, baffled and alone, but also determined to find out the reasons why Meg would take her own life.  In her search, Cody discovers that her best friend hadn't shared many details of her new life at the University of the Cascades.  When Cody goes to collect Meg's possessions from her room she soon realises how little she knew.  And when Cody is given Meg's computer, she finds herself reading Meg's email to search for reasons...  only to discover two months of emails have been deleted, and why is there an encrypted file in the trash?  But more importantly to Cody, who is Ben McMillian, and why does he look so guilty whenever she mentions Meg?

I wouldn't call I Was Here a page-turner, but it is a novel that keeps you coming back.  Gayle Forman has an interesting style of writing that feels very adult, despite the (kind of) YA feel.  To be honest, the only thing YA-ish about this book is the cast of characters, beyond that I feel it bridges the YA-Adult fiction gap very well. It is a heavy read for younger teens though, I would definitely reserve this one for 16+, but well worth the effort.


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