From the bestselling author of If I Stay – this summer’s YA blockbuster film.
This characteristically powerful novel follows eighteen-year-old Cody Reynolds in the months following her best friend’s shocking suicide.
As Cody numbly searches for answers as to why Meg took her own life, she begins a journey of self-discovery which takes her to a terrifying precipice, and forces her to question not only her relationship with the Meg she thought she knew, but her own understanding of life, love, death and forgiveness.
A phenomenally moving story, I Was Here explores the sadly all-too-familiar issue of suicide and self-harm, addressing it in an authentic way with sensitivity and honesty.
Gayle Forman on her writing
A few months ago after an event, a reader came up to me and said: “Usually, you can guess what authors are like from their books. But you, not at all.”
I took this to mean that because some of my books have stories that circle around tragedy – If I Stay, Where She Went and now I Was Here, which follows a young woman in the aftermath of her best friend’s suicide – she assumed I would be kind of a solemn, grief-stricken person. In other words, a downer. In fact, put me in a room with people and you might be mistaken for thinking I’m trying to be a comedian. (This isn’t to say I’m funny; it’s to say I try to be funny.)
I’m a Gemini, so perhaps this explains my split personality. Though to me, it doesn’t seem like much of a dichotomy. I don’t think writing about grief, or exploring what happens to people in their darkest hours, is a dark endeavour. When people are facing their worst, that is often when they uncover their best. Some friends of mine who are dealing with a very intense health crisis recently said something about how sometimes the best and worst things that ever happen to you are the same thing.
If you’ve been through grief, if you’ve touched the white-hot centre of it and pushed through to the other side, this will make sense. If you haven’t, chances are, if you live long enough, you will face loss at some point, you will touch the white-hot centre of grief and face a choice: shrivel from it, or come through it. You might be surprised what you find on the other side.
To me, writing characters (or reading about them) who have pushed through to that other side is a profoundly hopeful endeavour. This is why I don’t think I Was Here is about suicide. It’s about resilience, forgiveness, and love. This is why though it might seem like I write about death, really I write about life.
In that context, maybe my personality is more understandable. Otherwise, blame it on my June birthday.