Book lover. Stephen King Fanatic. Will try anything once. General Lover of Fiction. Reviewer Everywhere. All views my own. Mostly.
Ok, so I've read a couple of books lately that deal with some emotive issues - the absolutely mind blowing "All the Bright Places" and the pretty darn good "Unspeakable". So I thought "I Was Here" might further explore some important themes and give me another tug on the old heart strings. And it kind of did, yet kind of didnt. I should say this is the first novel from Gayle Forman that I have read - I have seen the film of her novel "If I Stay" and I loved it, so I think I'm possibly just vaguely disappointed.
To be clear, Ms Forman writes beautifully. There is a good flow to the tale, I was definitely interested enough to find out how Cody got on, learning to live without her best friend and struggling with survivor guilt. But I never really felt terribly emotionally involved with the characters. If anything I found it to be more teen romance than anything else, and subjectively I found that it all seemed to be leading to a "happily ever after" scenario with the leading man, with the suicide issue kind of just a plot device, rather than the romance being secondary to the other. Which for me would have been better. Not sure if that makes sense!
The parts of the plot that did deal with the emotional fallout were very well done - in fact for me the ending was the best part, when Meg's parents finally told Cody some things they should have told her in the first place (although to be fair then nothing much else would have needed to happen and Cody would never have met Ben!) when they finally said a proper goodbye to Meg, that last few paragraphs resonated with me more than the entire rest of the book. The best character in it for me was Meg's brother actually, who seemed, even as a peripheral character and a young one at that, to be much more tuned into the issues.
I also found the relationship between Cody and her mother to be very well drawn and authentic - that was an absolute plus point and I loved how it developed over the course of the book. But realistically it left me slightly underwhelmed. I'm a huge fan of Young Adult Literature - in the case of "I Was Here" I would say that the target audience will lap it up and it is a good story for sure, but for me personally as an adult fan of YA it didnt quite live up to the promise, nor to the plethora of brilliant novels out there in the genre.
Well written as I said just simply not one that particularly made me go "ooh".
Happy Reading Folks!