Friday, February 20, 2015

Librarian Review: I Was Here by Gayle Forman

I Was HereSummary:

Meg planned it all carefully. She sent out timed emails, ordered the poison, tied up the loose ends, and finally she did it. What she didn’t realize was that her best friend Cody wouldn’t be able to let her go. Cody and Meg did everything together, they grew up together and were never without each other until Meg goes off to college and then commits suicide. After finding some encrypted files on Meg’s computer, Cody finds herself on a journey to understand, fill in the gaps, and discover that you never really know someone.

Review:

Gayle Forman’s touch is like gold. Every book she writes is a work of art. I remember crying my eyes out while reading If I Stay, something I don’t normally do. I still can’t bring myself to watch the movie. Still, I was thrilled to see this new offering from this remarkable author.

I Was Here is the story of a journey. Anyone who has been touched by a suicide knows that there are so many questions and recriminations that arise in the lives of the survivors. Cody both blames herself and strives to understand why her best friend would make that choice. She strives to understand why Meg would make that choice and leave her behind.

Cody’s emotions and her journey are incredibly believable. Cody follows Meg’s footsteps to find out what led her to her final choice. This journey is painful for Cody, and incredibly difficult. In this journey she will discover herself, her friend, and that knowing can be more painful that she ever imagined.

Audiobook Review:
The audio version of this book is produced by Listening Library and read by Jorjeana Marie. Marie does a fabulous job narrating this heart wrenching novel. Her narration makes Cody’s voice authentic and believable. The audiobook is 7 hours and 42 minutes in length and the production is well done. If you like audiobooks, this is a good way to experience this novel.

Overall:

This is a difficult novel to both review and like. Forman’s writing is remarkable and her ability to dredge forth those tormented emotions is amazing. This novel is a mystery and a journey. Cody wants to understand and find the answers to why Meg did what she did. She finds herself walking and crossing some dangerous boundaries to find the reasons behind Meg’s actions. This book is very emotional, but readers will understand Cody’s frustration and need to know. Forman knows her audience and knows how to draw them in with an emotional and challenging story. Overall this book is incredibly well written and believable, just be prepared for the scars it may leave behind.

Cautions for Sensitive Readers:

Ultimately, this is a book about suicide and understanding the motivations behind a suicide. As such it is painful, and at times graphic. Cody’s journey is not easy and would not be realistic if it were easy.   These are college age teens and you will find references to sex, drugs, alcohol, and some foul language. Recommend this book to older teens who like the works of Forman, Ellen Hopkins, and authors who like to push the reader to the emotional edge. 


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