A touching journey
Cody is shocked by her best friend Meg's death. To her, Meg was happy and she has no idea what could have happened to cause her to take her own life. But Cody's determined to find out. She goes to Meg's college apartment to pack up her belongings and while there she finds an encrypted file on Meg's computer - and a boy, Ben, she was never told about, a boy who broke Meg's heart. The more Cody learns, the more she realizes how little she knew of her best friend.
This was a book that, just by the synopsis, I knew was going to be a devastating and a hard read. It was pretty short, under 300 pages, but the subject matter it tackled was intense and emotional, as it should be, and I thought there was a lot of development even with the small amount of pages.
I found it impossible not to feel for Cody. I couldn't imagine dealing with what she had to deal with. So much of her character was explored throughout the book as she tried to deal with Meg's death. For so long they were MegandCody and even with Meg away at school and them haven drifted a little apart, Cody still had to learn who she was without Meg. I also really liked the contrast between Cody and Meg. Best friends who couldn't be more different. Meg seemed to have it all, loving family, getting her education, getting out of their town, while Cody was stuck in town, unable to afford college, and with a mom who never seemed to want to be a mother.
I wasn't completely sold on the romance, or at least the romance being a deep one. I could buy into the flirtation between them but I did find the whole innocent girl reforming a bad boy player angle to be cliche. If it had been kept lighter I might have bought into it more. But the banter between them was cute and fun and provided some lightness to a pretty dark story.
There were a lot of side characters I really liked. Meg's roommates all had their own distinct personalities, Meg's parents were still caring toward Cody even as they dealt with their daughter's death, Meg's little brother Scottie was adorable.
I do wish we'd somehow gotten to see more of Meg, a little more than the few stories we did get. She didn't feel like a complete character, though that actually worked for me. But I felt like I was constantly being told of the connection between Cody and Meg instead of feeling it for myself.
I really liked Gayle Forman's writing style in If I Stay and she did it again in this book. It just flowed so well and there were so many beautiful passages. Again, like If I Stay, I Was Here left me with some hard questions to think about after I was finished. And again, it was this touching journey the main character of her book had to go through until she could find acceptance.