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March 9, 2015

Shelley Loved It: I Was Here by Gayle Forman

Publisher: Viking Juvenille
Released: January 27, 2015
Format: Hardcover, 288 pages
Source: Library
Genre: Young Adult | Contemporary
When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.


“I failed her in life. But I won’t fail her in death.”
I Was Here, by Gayle Forman, is yet another emotional ride that makes you sit up and take notice. The subject matter, suicide/depression, is one that goes mostly ignored by the general public, but hits the mark with those of us have experienced or continue to feel the same helpless feeling day after day. The story is told in the first person narrative by Cody Reynolds, who at 18, loses her best friend Megan "Meg" Garcia after she drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room.

Cody is understandably left confused, angry, devastated, and filled with regret over Meg's actions. For most of I Was Here, the story hinged on Cody understanding why her best friend killed herself, and suddenly finding out that the girl she has known since kindergarten, has kept a whole lot of secrets from her. There are those she shared a home with (Richard, Harry, and Alice), those she befriended along the way (too many to mention), the man who broke her heart (Ben McAllister), and a secretive encrypted file that may hold all the answers.
“She didn’t tell me that she found life to be so unbearably painful. I mean, I didn’t even have a clue.”
Cody finds herself peeking into a dark world where people seek out others to guide their decisions whether to live or die. One needs to ask themselves whether or not Meg thought about her family, her brother, or Cody before she decided to catch the last bus. I know that's selfish, but those left behind suffer from an unimaginable loss that doesn't go away overnight. I think in today's society, we need to provide people with more information on what is available to them. We have to stop treating those with depression as not worthy of our time. I haven't had any friends, or family who have taken this route, nor will I judge anyone that has.

"Be tolerant of one another and forgive each other if anyone has a complaint against another."
I'm going to do something a bit different with this review, so please have some patience with me. I do recommend that you do find time to pick up this book and read it. I recommend that you read the authors notes at the end of the book, and the resources that she provides to families and those contemplating suicide. Suicide and Depression is not a joking matter. It is a silent killer that haunts millions of people each year. Those thinking about Suicide may not reach out to their family, friends, or support groups.

They truly believe that they are alone in the world, and nobody will miss them when they are gone. I have suffered from depression since I was honorably discharged from the Navy. My family, former employers, and employees will tell you that I wasn't a pleasant person to be around. I was angry, sad, and turned within myself shutting out all my friends. I still do that today even after numerous attempts to control my issues. But, because of the strength of my family, I have survived longer than I expected.

Forman's writing style hasn't changed much since I read If I Stay. It's still raw, emotional, and reel. I could compare Cody and Ben to Chloe and Adam. Cody isn't Chloe, but Ben could be Adam's brother since they are both musicians. Cody is a girl who is nothing like Chloe, but nonetheless, she does have her strengths, and determination. Forman is another author who has felt the pain of losing someone close to her. Her pain is definitely felt in how she puts together the story. Despite the solemn tone, I didn't find myself shedding any tears until the final chapters of the book.



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24 comments:

  1. I've seen a could great reviews for this one. Not quite my go to genre but it does have me curious :)

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  2. Great review, Shelley. And thanks for sharing that personal bit as it relates to how this story impacted you. I have family members that suffer from depression and one who has attempted suicide. It breaks my heart. I'm happy you have such a strong family around you.

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  3. I so want to read this. I've seen a lot of positive reviews from people and think it would be right up my alley! Apparently I'm into emotional roller coasters these days... lol Great review!

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  4. Your review gave me goosebumps. I can't even imagine what the book will do to me... I understand depression, so let me just say this: you are stronger than you know and more special than you can imagine. And if I may, a little piece of advice: happiness is in the little things. A sunrise. Fresh coffee. Working with your hands in freshly turned soil. Each day is the sum of wonderful and horrible, in tiny doses. Thank you for this review, it spoke to me on a very personal level :)

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  5. I still want to read this but I am trying to work myself up to it. Suicide and Depression are never easy topics to deal with. I already read Cynthia Hand so I am not ready for another. I am so glad ot hear that you loved this one.

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    1. Hi, Heidi :) Yeah, the YA genre seems to be a testing ground for very emotional stories. I also read Hand's story. It me the same way as this one.

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  6. I'm glad you enjoyed this one. It's gotten mixed reviews which is uprising for a Forman novel. She never writes easy stories though.

    Karen @For What It's Worth

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    1. Hi, Karen. I would be more shocked if she didn't write emotion tearing stories. If I Stay nearly broke me into little pieces.

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  7. Ah, yes, I need to read this. I love her other books, so I'm looking forward to I Was Here.

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    1. I would definitely say that if you enjoyed If I Stay, then you will like this one as well.

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  8. Great review Shelley. It must be hard to read it when it can touch you so personally too. I haven't read any of Gayle's work as yet, but you are definitely pushing me to do so. Beautiful review.

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace

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  9. It sounds like the author has a real gift for sharing the feelings of the characters! It's always impressive I think to have that. I heard so many great things about the books of the author, I really should try! Great review!

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  10. I don't know, this seems too emotional for me. Happy you enjoyed it thought.

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  11. This sounds so good and so emotional. I have never read a book by this author. Thank you for sharing your personal thoughts. I've read a couple of YA that were very emotional lately and there does seem to be a lot in that genre.It's really too bad that the price is $9.99 for a ebook though! Lots of people that could benefit won't pay that.

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    1. Hi, Lorna. Thanks for stopping by! I agree with you that $10 for an Ebook is a bit steep. That's why I love my local library so much!

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  12. Thanks for sharing something personal with us.I'm here for you, Momma.

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    1. Thanks B! I'm pretty open about my struggles, as you know.

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