Review: I Was Here by Gayle Forman


Title: I Was Here
Author: Gayle Forman
Rating: 2/5 Stars
Hardcover, 288 Pages
Published January 2015
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Summary: 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, who broke Meg’s heart. 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 so excited for this book, for two reasons: One being that the summary sounded like it was going to be an interesting and heart-wrenching read. The other being that I loved all of Gayle Forman's previous books and I expected this one to be just as wonderful as the rest.

I was let down, and that kind of sucks.

I did finish this book, because I'm not a fan of DNFing and I also was curious to see if maybe the beginning was what sucked for me and things would start getting better towards the end. Throughout the entire book, however, I just wasn't that into it. Cody, the main character, felt kind of "blah" or "meh" to me. She was really bland. Whatever you knew about her you learned from her recalling past events with her best friend Meg. But even at the end of the book, if I was asked to describe Cody, I wouldn't know how to. She was very, very bland. Nothing special - but I can't really explain it. She was even less than average, if that's such a thing.

I don't know. All I know is that I couldn't attach myself to her at all because I felt that there was nothing to attach myself to. That's what the entire book felt like to me. Nothing special happens and nothing gets accomplished. (Spoilers ahead so skip to the next paragraph if you haven't read this book yet!) Cody mourns Meg's loss, travels to go see her father and that ends up being a failed plan, she confronts Meg's supposed killer and then just walks out and gets nothing done about him either. Pretty much, you're left with the same problems at the end of the book that you had in the beginning. Meg is dead. Cody misses her. Nobody is held responsible. And Cody still never meets her father.

I also had a hard time grasping the relationship between Cody and her mother, Tricia. Were they close or not close? Was Tricia a good mother or a bad mother? Who the heck makes her daughter call her by her first name because she felt that she was too young to be a mom? That's seriously screwed up. But the most baffling part was that sometimes Cody would talk about her like she was a horrible, neglectful parent, and other times she would talk about how close they were. I felt like she couldn't make up her mind. Which was another thing Cody was - indecisive. 

And - brace yourself for the rant - there's a stifling amount of insta-love in this book. And if you've been a reader here at The Book Bratz for awhile, you'll know that insta-love is the one thing that can make me go from wanting to rate a book five stars to giving it two. I can't stand it. (More spoilers, so skip the rest of this paragraph if you haven't read it yet!) Cody goes from hating Ben McAllister's guts, thinking he was the reason Meg committed suicide, to giving up her virginity to him on a road trip in a motel (how cliche). Then he admits he's in love with her...there was just so much insta-love that it was stifling.

All in all, I Was Here was okay. Not as spectacular as I was expecting, and way too much insta-love. It was really bland, but there was good potential for the plot, although nothing ended up even getting accomplished. I'm disappointed because I love all of Gayle Forman's books and I just wasn't that crazy about this one. Hopefully Gayle's future books don't follow the mold of I Was Here - I know she's an awesome writer and I guess we're all just entitled to a bad book or two. *shrugs* I was expecting more, and got way less, which is disappointing, but this doesn't in any way affect my view of Gayle Forman and her past/future books. I'd definitely still pick up work of hers in the future.



  1. I still haven't read anything by Gayle Forman, but clearly I won't be reading this one first for sure!

  2. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought that besides Cody being "richer" with a new boyfriend, nothing interesting nor important happened throughout the whole novel. By the end she was pretty much where she was in the beginning. So disappointing after the amazingness If I Stay and Where She Went was and the potential this book had.
    Lovely review. :)


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