I Was Here
by Gayle Forman
Viking, 2015. 270 pages. Young adult fiction.
Meg Garcia had been Cody Reynolds' best friend for as long as she could remember. So it came as a complete shock to receive an email from Meg only months after she left for college, announcing that she had killed herself. In shock and grief, Cody sets out to discover what happened to Meg in the last few months of her life in an attempt to understand how the unthinkable could have happened.
Since I read this book so close to Jennifer Levin's All the Bright Places, which deals with a similar subject matter, it is natural in my mind to compare the two books. While Levin talked explored the state of mind of teens who were contemplating suicide, Forman looks more at how suicide effects those who are left behind. She also explores a growing and disturbing trend for those who are contemplating suicide to look for online support groups - groups that support the victim's decision to end their own lives, instead of encouraging them to live. But, in the end, the focus of the book is less on Meg and what causes her to commit suicide and more on Cody and her emotional journey to learn that Meg's death was not her fault. This is a heartbreaking and emotional book that explores some very important topics: suicide, grief, depression, guilt, and forgiveness. The book does have some strong language and sexual themes.