[REVIEW] I Was Here by Gayle Forman

This Young Adult novel follows Cody as she deals with the suicide of her best friend Meg.  When  Cody finds something off about the suicide of her best friend, it takes her on a journey to discover the parts of Meg’s life kept hidden that led up to her death.  It is an emotional experience of forgiveness and relationships – platonic and romantic.

I found Cody to be very relatable in dealing with her grief and the unknown life of her best friend.   Her relationships with other characters were interesting and complex, especially because the romance of the story took a backseat.  And the way she dealt with these new and old relationships after the death of her best friend was very authentic and felt true to Cody’s character. 

Although it was nice to see the romance in the story taking a backseat in the beginning, I felt that in the end it was too rushed.  Maybe it could have been actually more developed and worked with the story or left more open-ended to fit better.  In general, too, things of import were rushed or skipped over.  You could easily miss information that we were meant to be looking for or that maybe should have been fleshed out in detail. 

The mystery of the novel was compelling and really made me want to keep reading.  The mystery and the story of the suicide was a very unique one, unlike any other one I’ve read before.  The messages of mental health and forgiveness of oneself and others are also ones I appreciated most about this story, and why I read stories like it.  Though I wish the story and some relationships could have been developed more, it was an overall enjoyable read.



[REVIEW] Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Vicious by V.E. Schwab is the at times gruesome tale of how two friends, Victor Vale and Eli Ever, become enemies and the villains. It starts with a thesis about ExtraOrdinaries, people with super powers. It jumps back and forth from 10 years in the past at university to present day when they are enemies.

It almost seems that Victoria Schwab’s writing was made for this kind of otherworldly or supernatural story. I think I would truly read her grocery lists. It is smooth and concise but still extremely interesting. It just flows.

The third person perspective and multiple points of view give insight into many complex and compelling characters, which works well when working with a cast of especially flawed characters. This is a story that cannot take time to learn about more minor characters, so the way perspective jumps from different characters is a perfect way to develop them while also moving the story along.

In the vein of flawed characters, this novel is all about anti-heroes. Stories of anti-heroes are so rare where romantic literature is the standard. I found it so interesting how my opinion of Victor and Eli changed so drastically when reading from the perspectives with a 10 year gap. I was so conflicted and had no idea who to root for, which is why I love stories of anti-heroes so much. They’re so unpredictable, and this one did not fall short.

The only reason I cannot give this book 5 stars is because I enjoyed the first half of the book considerably more than the second half. I think the novelty of finding out how the two anti-heroes got the way they was much more interesting than finding out how their story actually ends. The second half of the novel was interesting and I wanted to keep reading, just not as much as the first half. The ending, though, makes up for this and did shock me just one last time.