You Were Here
Author: Cori McCarthy
“Do you guys know what a Gordian knot is?” Bishop asked. “Some people think it represents time. A tangle of sorts, but basically, it implies that anything that happened is still happening. That the past is never gone. The future already exists. Spirals upon spirals.” He cleared his throat. “So really, everyone who was ever here is still here. In a sense.”
Five years ago Jake Strangelove died in the blink of an eye while he was doing something he had done a hundred times before. Grief carries on and his younger sister Jaycee, her ex-bestfriend Natalie and Jake’s friend Mik are still unable to put the past behind them. Jaycee still wears his clothes and one summer she’s determined to follow the path of dares and footprints that he left behind, with the help of her group. All while dealing with the usual issues that come with graduation, moving on, and the painful reality of living past the people that you love (in more ways than one.)
This was one of the books I picked up recently that I hadn’t heard a thing about before hand. It’s a very personal thing but it appealed to me on so many levels. Time, grief, memory, living ghosts, not being able to remember while at the same time not being able to forget.
I also liked (which may be the wrong word) Jake’s death. A lot of times you get these big or typical things in books that do often happen all the time but this one was brutal because it was so… realistic. But that’s basically what it boils down to when someone dies suddenly. One minute they are here and the next second they are not and everyone left behind has to make their ways.
So personally, for a lot of reasons I was feeling this book. I also think it helps that in terms of the grief and loss they don’t really present any easy answers or any long-term answers except maybe have good friends and people around you.
Now the book does drag in places and I thought the end could have been less stretched out. (Did we really need the trip to the hospital? I don’t know.) Bishop is a character whose mostly told through single-page artwork. I liked him but we don’t ever really get the insight into him like the others. Zach and Natalie’s relationship was an interesting one. I was almost rooting for them even as the other part of my brain was thinking, “No, you two should definitely not be together…”
All in all this is a solid one that packed a lot of emotions in for me. I would definitely read something from this author again.
Recommend: Yes. I’m going to try in the future to just go to the bookstore and pick up some random books that look good without knowing anything about them because it worked out well for me this time!
One thought on “You Were Here”
Great review! I was equally surprised when I read this one. This book really just felt like so much more than the typical YA book for me.