Gayle Forman knows how to make people cry. If you are familiar with her other books, If I stay and Where She Went then you know that. She took a little bit of a break from the waterworks with Just One Day, Just One Year and the novella, Just One Night. There were tears in those too but it wasn’t the weepers as her previous novels. I Was Here, is back to making you cry.
I Was Here is about two best friends, Cody and Meg. They were inseparable. Did everything together until Meg went off to college and Cody didn’t. When Meg commits suicide no one is more surprised and baffled by it then Cody. How could Meg be so unhappy that she wanted to kill herself and Cody had no idea. Cody tries to figure out what happened to Meg after she left for college and what does the mysterious Ben McAllister have to do with it.
Really, this isn’t a story about suicide but a story about self-discovery. For Cody, it was always Cody and Meg. They made plans together and when those plans fell apart when Meg got a scholarship and went to college and Cody didn’t and stayed in town. Now that Meg is gone, who is Cody? Before Meg’s death, Cody still had plans of joining her in College next year. So what now? Who is Cody without Meg? Cody must overcome her own insecurities and fears to face a future on her own. Meg may be gone but Cody is still here.
Forman knows how to make dynamic and sympathetic characters. I really felt bad for Cody. She comes from a broken home with little support. Her mother is really just a roommate and not a mother. Meg’s family really helped take care of her. So it was a real blow when Meg went off to college and Cody couldn’t afford it and stayed home. She cleans people houses to make money and goes to the library but little else. Her life is on pause. With Meg’s death, what little hope she had went with her. By the end of the book, she is in much better place but I won’t say more. My only problem is the resolution seemed to quick and sudden. After all the discoveries and mysteries, the reason seemed too simple and really obvious that how could Cody not have figured it out long before Meg left. Other than that it was a satisfying read but have your kleenex near by.