Contains some spoilers
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.
Synopsis from Goodreads
I Was Here by Gayle Foreman: a story about friendship, love, loss- both from suicide and parental abandonment-and a young girl just learning about life… and mental illness. It illustrates the importance for society to increase their knowledge about mental illness, as well as the significance of NOT letting your mental illness be this secret that remains festered up inside you.
First off, let me just say I adore Gayle Forman and her writing. She has such a unique, modern, engaging voice and it always has the power to draw me into any book she writes- especially If I Stay and Where She went, which are two of my favorite books.
Second off, this book is so important because it depicts the terribly awful emotions that one experiences after a person they love commits suicide. We experience these emotions from Cody herself, Cody’s mom, and of course Meg’s family. We even learn that the whole town Cody and Meg grew up in was seriously affected by this tragedy- which is important to keep in mind.
Throughout the book, Cody is hell bent on finding that ONE thing that pushed Meg over the edge- what seemingly “forced” her to drink the industrial strength cleaner. Was it stress from school? A boy just being a jerk? No- it was a mental illness that affected Meg since she was younger.
The sad thing is, this book is not very “unique” in its story line, considering it is very often mental illness goes unnoticed in an individual. Gayle Forman actually based this book off a real life story from a young girl; so, it’s important to keep in mind this (main) plot line is unfortunately pretty realistic.
It also tells the story of Cody growing up without the best home life. Her mom worked crazy hours and was pretty “hands-off,” and she had an absentee dad. This book portrayed the feelings Cody had regarding this aspect very well.
Overall, I gave this book a 5/5. I really enjoyed it and found it very difficult to put down! This book has the capability of broadening a person’s mind about mental illness, which is important in society now a days. How can we become more knowledgeable, understanding, and accepting of mental illness if we aren’t willing to broaden our perspectives?
I recommend this book to anyone willing to get a deeper perspective about mental illness, as well as anyone just looking for a good YA contemporary read!
If you have read this book, feel free to leave a comment or find me on twitter (@xobrandilarissa) to share with me your thoughts!