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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

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Audiobook Review: I Was Here by Gayle Forman

I Was Here by Gayle Forman

I Was Here
Gayle Forman
Narrator: Jorjeana Marie
Length: 7 hours, 42 minutes
Publication Date: January 27, 2015
Publisher: Listening Library
Reviewer: Sophia

Cody and Meg were inseparable.
Two peas in a pod.
Until . . . they weren’t anymore.

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 Here is Gayle Forman at her finest, a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss.

Well, here's to my first contemporary audiobook.

Gayle Forman's latest novel didn't exactly give me the feels as much as If I Stay did. I Was Here mainly focuses on Cody, a girl who finds her best friend Meg's suicide a bit fishy and decides to look deeper into her death.

From all of the flashbacks, Cody is obviously a follower – a shadow to Meg. After Meg's death, Cody is a little lost – she's grieving, she wants to find out if Meg actually did commit suicide (or if someone coerced her into it), and all of that leads her to dig deeper into Meg's past year at college. With Cody trying to find her own footsteps after Meg's death, I Was Here felt like a coming of age story.

It's also a story where all of those online safety rules that I learned in elementary school are flipped upside down. I don't know if I should say Cody is just a really stupid character, or a really brave character. Perhaps both. In her digging, Cody is led to an online suicide support group that Meg frequented on, which eventually leads her to a user Meg communicated off the boards as well. In an attempt to weed out the user, Cody decides to pose as a suicidal person as well, which eventually leads her to finding out the person's address (with help) and Cody actually decides to go to that person's home.

I still don't know whether to call Cody an idiot or not. Obviously she has balls to try and find out what really caused Meg's death, and she's obviously not an idiot if she brings someone with her.

Jorjeana Marie seemed quite platonic throughout most of the narration – either for the possible effect of Cody being platonic as she finds her path, or another reason entirely. It was also difficult at times to tell if Marie was making an attempt to have a different voice for male and female characters. If the character was angry or snapping at another character, you can tell there's a bit of rage or snap if you listen closely, but when you're walking to work when there are cars driving by, it's actually hard to tell if Marie did snap.

Marie does, however, do a fantastic job in the very emotional parts of the book, especially when Cody or Ben or any of the other characters are crying. I almost believed the narrator was actually crying, or an actual kid came in and narrated a kid part. I doubt there are books that mainly consists of crying, but if there are, I'm half expecting to see Jorjeana Marie's name on the back. :p

The entire novel is really just about a girl who lived under a shadow of another girl, and when that girl died, the shadow has to try and find her own path without that person. I Was Here isn't exactly emotional unless you can really connect with the story and the main character.

3.5 Owls

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Sophia is the owner and founder of Bookwyrming Thoughts, but also found on various parts of the internet. She's a 19-year-old communications major who has weird humor and doesn't fit the Asian stereotype (maybe a little). Books, chocolate, technology, and music are among some of her favorite things. For more of her work, visit her personal website.