I Was Here (Gayle Forman) Spoiler-Free Review!


Rating: A strong 5 stars

“Thought-provoking, heartbreaking, beautiful.” ~ My one-sentence review 🙂

I was sent an ARC of Gayle Forman’s upcoming book I Was Here. Before I say anything even remotely intelligent, guys…the feels. This book was an absolute roller coaster of emotions, and now I can see why everyone seems to love Gayle Forman’s books. When I read If I Stay, I was completely unimpressed (don’t hate me), but this book was an incredible whirlwind of a story, and I am so eager to try out her other books such as Just One Day. 

For a brief synopsis of the book…

The story follows an 18 year old girl named Cody Reynolds, who is having to deal with her best friend’s suicide. But as Cody tries to put her life back together and attempt to discover the motives behind her friend’s suicide, she is faced with her own personal difficulties. She not only begins to notice her co-dependent relationship that she had with her friend, but also family and romance issues lead to a thrilling expedition of self-discovery.

Okay I know what you’re thinking.

a) that sounds amazing

b) that sounds ridiculously depressing

I think this book is a combination of both of those statements. Compared to other YA novels that deal with teen suicide, this book was not as depressing as it could have been and I am thankful for that. Generally, I cannot read books concerning suicide because of that reason, but I Was Here balanced these difficult issues so well with the self-discovery part of the story. The characters were believable and relatable. The romance was breathtaking and heartbreaking, strong and fragile. It was one of the most powerful novels I have ever read, and I only have Gayle Forman to thank for creating such a beautiful story.

The main character, Cody, handles the situation in such a way that is both believable as well as admirable. She works through her issues, but also often takes time to mourn. The other side characters in this book were also such great additions to the story, and as heart wrenching as it all was, the story drew me in so much that I wanted to be apart of that world. My heart broke reading about Cody’s relationship with her family, and the discomfort between her mother and herself.

This novel was beautiful, tear-jerking, heartbreaking and wonderful. Definitely one of the best contemporaries I have ever read and I do not say that lightly. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is ready to tackle an in-depth contemporary, for something out of the ordinary and thought-provoking. This is a book that will be staying with me for a long time, and a book that my thoughts will constantly come back to. A short read, but a ridiculously good novel. I am looking forward to reading more of Gayle Forman’s work.


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