American author Gayle Forman's seventh novel I Was Here is a beautiful but sad tale of a young woman trying to find closure after the suicide of her best friend. Cady never knew that Meg was unhappy, after all, Meg was the one who came from a loving family, had the opportunity to study at college and who had a loving, charismatic personality. However, when Cady travels to the college where Meg studied to collect her belongings, she begins to discover that there were many things that she did not know about her friend's life, things that eventually lead her to the bad boy musician who dumped Meg and an encrypted computer file that contains a shocking truth ...
Clever plotted I Was Here contains realistic characters (Stoner Richard, a drug addicted Christian deserves a special shout out,) and situations and, though emotional, it never goes over the top. The author also examines, quite intelligently, the nature of groupthink and how vulnerable people may be easily exploited online. Cady herself is an interesting, resourceful character who does well for herself even when the chips are down. I did, however, have a small problem with the secret that Meg's parents kept from her, though I can see how the narrative may not have worked so well if Cady had been aware of the full story. During her search for the truth about Meg, Cady also discovers some important truths about herself.
This one is short and I was able to read it in a relatively short space of time. Recommended for those looking for a realistic YA novel and are willing to be challenged with some darker themes.
Thank you to Simon and Schuster Australia and Netgalley for my review copy.