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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Cody and Meg were inseparable... Until they weren’t. 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, and some secrets of his own. 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.…

I Was Here

by Gayle Forman

Overall Book Review:

Books focusing on teens and suicide have always been ones I am almost certain to enjoy. The fact that this book is by Gayle Forman (of If I Stay fame) and is mostly about a teen girl dealing with the loss of her best friend from suicide clinched the deal for me. Of course the eye-catching cover is just a bonus.

I hate to be persnickety about books that I liked a lot, but had a little bit of a problem believing them. Sometimes even though a book is fiction, I feel as though the author was trying really hard to make it seem real, and just didn’t make the cut. I Was Here is one of those books. For the most part the storyline was spot on, but the emotions that the main character, Cody, shows after her friend Meg is gone from her life just didn’t feel right to me. She may have been in shock, sure, but I didn’t feel like she reacted the way a human in real life would at all.

Despite some of the logistics being slightly off, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I thought it was an interesting look at the life of a young girl who has just lost her friend, and how she copes after such a tragedy. If you have read other books by Gayle Forman, you will want to make sure to read this newest book of hers.

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language: 1 religious exclamation; 5 mild obscenities; 8 derogatory names; 18 scatological words; 11 anatomical terms; 19 F-Word derivatives.

Violence/Gore:  A minor girl is reported to have committed suicide; a suicide forum is referred to multiple times; a man encourages minors to commit suicide.

Sex/Nudity:  A woman accuses a girl of sleeping around; a woman “sleeps with a guy”; teen pregnancy is referred to; a man is mentioned to be sleeping with multiple women; minors have sex in one brief scene with no explicit detail; names referred to as “gay”.

Mature Subject Matter:

Suicide, personal crises, divorce, gambling, teenage sex.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

A room smells like bong water; a boy “smokes a bowl”; minors drink; a minor smokes weed; a minor smokes cigarettes.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

Books and reading have always been an important part of my life. When I was very young, my grandma was the library director at our local public library. Years later, after she had retired, I became a librarian at the same library and worked there for several years before taking a part-time job at a local coffee shop, which gives me more time to do what I love, to read and to review books! A few of my favorite authors are Aimee Bender, Diane Chamberlain, and Curtis Sittenfeld however, I will read almost any book I come across! In my spare time you can find me reading (of course), volunteering at a wildlife animal rehab, or hanging out with my two house rabbits.