I Was Here by Gayle Forman

WOW.  What a necessary book.  I feel like there is decent representation of depressed and suicidal teens in YA books, but there are not very many novels that deal with the affects of suicide on others.  Cody’s grief over losing her best friend Meg is palpable–the anger at her friend for killing herself, the blame she places on herself for not seeing it coming, and the slow hope of moving forward by finding her own strength.  I thought I Was Here did a wonderful job of honoring the mental illness and pain of those who commit suicide without ever glorifying or justifying the action.

There’s really not much to say about this book other than Read It.  It handles a difficult topic with delicacy, is full of memorable characters (and kittens!), and creates a vivid picture of a part of the country I’ve never experienced (rural Washington).  Most of all, it is a hopeful story.  It is about a girl who loses what she loves the most…and continues to live.  It is about the brave task of living one day at a time.  I adored it. 

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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 Meg never told her.  About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end town in Washington.  About Ben McCallister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, and some secrets of his own.  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.

Release Date:  January 2015


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