I Was Here by Gayle Forman

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Song I Played While Reading- Elastic Heart by Sia
Rating- 4 stars

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.

This was my first Gayle Forman novel. I've heard oodles and oodles of fabulous things about If I Stay and Just One Day, but I've just never really gotten around to getting them. I remember seeing one of my friends reading If I Stay when it first came out, which is something I always remark on when the novel becomes big and I see everyone reading it years later. 
I loved this book. Especially Cody. For the entire first half, I felt my jaw dropping lower and lower as I realized: holy shit. I'm Cody. Cody is me. We're twins. Her every reaction and thought and ideal was a mirror of mine. I kept thinking to myself, "If my best friend were to commit suicide, this is exactly how I would take it." Which is weird because how can I know how I would be in a situation I've never been in? I don't fuckin know, man. But I felt it in my bones. 
I liked Ben. To me, this story was more about Meg and Ben was a pretty add on that Cody emotionally needed. And they were both similar enough in their lifestyles that Cody opened up to him, which helped her along her journey. This was beautifully written. And I didn't think it was too sad. Cody had some of her shit together and almost was cruel in the she treated the whole situation with Meg, which made me like her even more. Plus the song I read played while reading added even more depth to this book, so I highly recommend listening to it. Sia rocks. 

I can't put my finger on why I loved Cody so much. And its pissing me off. Not just because I think this plays out exactly how I would feel if this happened to me, but she felt so real. Everything about this felt so damn real. I felt like I personally knew Cody and understood her life and knew exactly why she did the things she did. She was bitter and angry and mean. She felt things she didn't understand. Something that stood out to me the most was when she was describing her first visit to Meg at school:

"Meg and I have shared beds, cots, sleeping bags, without a problem since we were little. But the night of my visit, I'd lain in bed awake next to a soundly sleeping Meg. She was snoring slightly and I  kept kicking her, like it was her snoring that was keeping me awake. When we got up Sunday morning, something mean and hard had taken root in my belly, and I felt myself itching for a fight. But the last thing I'd wanted to do was fight with Meg. She hadn't done anything. She was my best friend. So I'd left early. And not because of any sore throat." (pg. 20)

This was something I've gone through before. So many things that Cody felt and did were things I myself have felt too, and it was just WEIRD. Can you tell I'm trying to work this out and its only weirding me out even more?! 
My all time favorite meeting of OTP's is Will and Tessa from The Infernal Devices. Cody and Ben come second. I, ONCE AGAIN, can't quite put my finger on why. Maybe because I felt her anger. I personally was pissed off at Ben McCallister, too. And I loved how she flirted with him, then proceeded to bite his head off. She didn't hold her feelings back, ever, and they were raw and beautiful. I'm seriously obsessed with this girl. I've found my new best friend. 
I wasn't sure what to expect from the encrypted file aspect of this book. The reason why I gave this 4 stars instead of 5 was because of the direction this book went in the last half. I can't imagine any other ending, but it was a little disappointing. I know Cody was angry, but what was she expecting from her visit with Bradford? It was a little immature to think she could put the blame on this guy. I lost that emotional connection I had, and it only got worse when she slept with Ben and then just up and left. I HATE when girls do that. I know it adds drama but its so unnecessary. And did anyone catch that Cody cried while having sex with him, just like Meg did? I wonder if Meg cried for the same reason that Cody did, because she felt so much in that one moment.
I dont understand the Garcia's reasonings behind keeping Megs depression a secret. Cody should have been told because she was her best friend. She wouldn't have told anyone. Who knows how different everything could have been? I always think of those tricky what-ifs. It's a bad habit of mine. 

"Harry works on the computer all night. And then the next morning. When I wake up, his light is on and I'm not entirely sure he's been to sleep.
"I've almost got it," he says, eyes gleaming with excitement. "This was such an unusual coding. Did Meg do it herself?
I shake my head, shrug.
"If she did, then I mourn her loss even more." Now he shakes his head. "We could've had so much fun geeking out together.
I smile politely.
"You never know people, do you?" he asks.
No. You don't." (pg. 89)

"I keep myself busy in a frenzy until I don't have a gig, and our house is as clean as its been since we moved in. I sit on my bed and organize my earnings by bill denominations: I've made two hundred and forty bucks this week alone. I have to give Tricia one hundred dollars for my share of bills, but that leaves me with quite a surplus, and nothing to spend it on. Theoretically, I am saving for the move to Seattle. Theoretically, I learned in physics that the universe is expanding at a rate of, like, forty-five miles a second, but it sure as shit doesn't feel that way when you're standing still." (pg. 100)

"I'm not one of those people who has spent a lot of time thinking about death, or imagining her own death, or dreaming about it, or wanting it. At least I didn't think I was. But so much shit has happened in the last year of my life that I am questioning whether I even have a life, or if what I thought was my life is actually an illusion, or maybe a delusion. Because it doesn't seem like living to me. It seems like persevering, like thats the most I can hope for. I'm not that old, but I'm already so tired. Even getting out of bed each morning seems like an enormous chore. Life seems to be about endurance, not enjoyment, not fulfillment. I don't see the point. If somebody told me I could go back and undo my birth, I think I might. I really do.

Is that the same as wanting to die? And if so, what does that mean?" (pg. 147)

"All_BS: Perhaps your better half, as you call it, was nothing more than a crutch. It can be terrifying, after so long using one, to go without. Maybe that adjustment is what you are going through now."

And thats it. Nothing about offing myself, or life being the affliction. Only the suggestion that Meg was my crutch.
The scary thing is, he's right. Meg held me up. And without her, I'm falling down." (pg. 153)

(Image and synopsis from Goodreads)

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