Friday, 23 January 2015

Review: I Was Here

I Was Here
Publication Date: January 29th 2015         
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~

From the bestselling author of If I Stay - this summer's YA blockbuster film.

This characteristically powerful novel follows eighteen-year-old Cody Reynolds in the months following her best friend's shocking suicide.

As Cody numbly searches for answers as to why Meg took her own life, she begins a journey of self-discovery which takes her to a terrifying precipice, and forces her to question not only her relationship with the Meg she thought she knew, but her own understanding of life, love, death and forgiveness.

A phenomenally moving story, I Was Here explores the sadly all-too-familiar issue of suicide and self-harm, addressing it in an authentic way with sensitivity and honesty

I hate comparing books, especially these type of books because they are on the same level. Theme wise. Storyline wise. Writing wise. Character wise, but I think the only way to talk about this one properly is to compare it, and the difference between the two is that I cared more for one than the other. The former being All the Bright Places and the latter, I was Here. Maybe that's because  I Was Here was dealing with the after of suicide and not the mental illness,  whereas All the Bright Places is now and you see the mental illness and the decisions and experiences and stages it goes through. Maybe it's because we only saw one side, in here, Cody's, and in All the Bright Places we have Finch and Violets. The effecter and the affect-ee. That is the major difference to why All the Bright Places affected me more, because we're in the middle of it, and I Was Here deals more with the after effects with who that person touched, it dealt more with moving on and getting through and ultimately understanding, and hope.

The issue with suicide was handled well, it doesn't sugar-coat anything, it's not trying to shove it's opinion on the matter it down your throat, it shows all the parts to make an impression, but not just one impression. All the sides, the ugly, the devastating, the struggle, the solace and peace after you decide, there's no right, there's no wrong, and although it does dig into a suicide 'support' group, which I'll go into in a minute, it shows that suicide is a choice a choice that is that person's alone, no matter what the circumstances. It delves into what you expect, you get the stages of grief you get with losing someone like that, and the what if's, the hate, the anger, the bitterness and Cody's character portrays that perfectly. But she's also in denial, which is what spurs her on and keeps her going and she thinks she could've done something, changed it somehow, but at the end of the say, maybe you could've changed something then and at that time, but what about the next time, and the time after that? That's the lesson.

The suicide 'support' group, although sounds a little far-fetched in a sense, but sadly, does actually exist, but at the end of the day, no matter what the encouragement, or even if it is an actual support group should be, that choice, suicide, is still your choice.  Suicide isn't a choice about living or dying, it's a choice about ending, and if you're to the point of not being able to carry on living, you're going to end it no matter what anyone says or does or think.
Cody's journey in all of this is exactly that, a journey. Of acceptance of Meg's choice, and I'm not saying that half the stuff she does and does to the extreme is right, because it is so not right in so many unhealthy ways, but it's the way she chose to deal with it, and refusal to believe that Meg, the Meg she knows, would do that. The romance I'm still indecisive about when I think about how it started, but my feelings changed the way Cody's did, and by the end it felt right for the two of them.

I Was Here was my first Gayle Forman book and I had high expectations from reactions to If I Stay, Where She Went, Just One Day and Just One Year, and I don't know about them yet, but I Was Here met that and I wasn't disappointed in the slightest.

Rating: 4.5/5