I Was Here by Gayle Forman

Challenge 39 ~ “A book that made you cry.”


★ ★ ★ ★ ★

I don’t really cry at books – films and life, yes, but not with books. In fact, I’ve only ever cried at two books to date (Oblivion by Anthony Horowitz and Artichoke Hearts by Sita Brahmachari). There was a constant threat when reading I Was Here, however, that this was going to become the third. And I have to admit, it came pretty close.

The read was engaging from the very start, with believable characters in a realistic setting. The shining glory was not the plot of the novel (which appeared on the surface as your stereotypical love story) but rather the development of the characters. Forman managed to conceal any obvious changes on a page-to-page basis, but as a reflection on the novel as a whole, it was easy to see how far they had all come. Furthermore, in being willing to broach the uncomfortable, the novel gains a real haunting atmosphere – it’s almost painfully realistic and honest.

The ending on its own was a stellar example of Forman’s work. It is certainly not the predictable ending from the plotline, but in addition Forman ties together loose ends that you didn’t even realised needed tying, adding a further completeness to the book (in a similar fashion to Cody’s as she accepted Meg’s death). Her writing and themes blend harmoniously with the plot and the characters to make the glorious and chilling read that this is – an emotional rollercoaster if ever Forman wrote one!

Recommended for fans of:

  • Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
  • Undone by Cat Clarke
  • Paper Towns by John Green

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