I Was Here by Gayle Forman

i was here

Eighteen-year-old Cody Reynolds thought she knew her best friend Meg Garcia. After all, they grew up together. They had been inseparable, even earning the nickname “The Pod”, like two peas in a pod. They had loved each other like sisters. Cody could not recall all the times Meg’s parents, Sue and Joe, had filled in for her mom Tricia, who was not exactly the world’s best mother. Even Scottie, Meg’s ten-year-old brother, had treated Cody as his other older sister. All of Cody’s happiest memories had been with Meg and her family. Their plan had been to move to Seattle to attend college, share a small apartment together, hit all the happening night clubs, watch unknown bands, and fall in love. But due to financial problems, Cody had to stay behind while Meg moved on to a prestigious college on scholarship.

Their lives are shattered when they find out that Meg has committed suicide. The pains Meg went through to procure that bottle of industrial-strength cleaner that killed her, the email that she composed for Cody and her parents saying how it had been a long time coming and how the decision had been only hers to make, shocked Cody to her very core. How could someone so beautiful, so brilliant, and so loved, choose to just give up and end her life? And how could Cody not know that her best friend had been harboring suicidal thoughts at all?

Cody is tasked by Meg’s parents to collect her stuff from her dorm room. When she arrives at campus, Cody gets to know Meg’s friends: Alice, Stoner Richard, Harry Kang, Tree, and Ben McAllister. Cody starts to feel all kinds of emotions when she finds out so much more about the best friend she loved, things Meg had never shared with her, and just how troubled she had been during the last days of her life.

Cody tries to understand what drove her best friend to kill herself and starts digging around for clues in her computer, interviewing her friends, embarking on a road trip of sorts with the last guy Meg slept with. As Cody gets closer to finding the truth, she starts to have second thoughts whether she really is strong enough to handle it.

“I Was Here” is a sad, sad book that will make you want to crawl under the covers and not speak to anyone for an entire day just so you can process in peace everything you’ve read. It tries to explain the ripple effect caused by suicide, and the signs that you need to look out for when someone is seriously contemplating suicide. It’s tragic and it will move you to tears. It’s heartfelt and heartbreaking. It’s deep and sensitive. Truly one of the saddest books I’ve read. It also feels very personal in a way, and by the end of the book, you will also be grieving for Meg and with everybody who lost her. It’s one of those books that will stay with you long after you’re finished reading it.

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