260 books. That’s an average of 5 books a week. I have a full-time job and two kids under the age of 5. I have no idea how I accomplished this…
A lot of YA (and I read a bit more this year than I normally do — maybe that’s how I got through so many books) speaks to adults just as well as it does to teenagers. Books like Golden Boy or Lies We Tell Ourselves feel like almost any audience could connect with them. Other YA — The Red Queen comes to mind — seems written directly to teenagers. I Was Here falls into this second category. It wasn’t bad — in fact, I found the story pretty compelling — but some of the writing and the actions of the characters had me rolling my eyes.
“How can you believe someone to be beautiful and amazing and just about the most magical person you’ve ever known, when it turns out she was in such pain that she had to drink poison that robbed her cells of oxygen until her heart had no choice but to stop beating?”
Cody and Meg had been two peas in a pod all through school, but they drift apart when Meg goes off to college and Cody stays in their shitty little town. Then Meg kills herself, after sending an email out to her loved ones explaining that she decided to do it all on her own. The email sets off something in Cody that makes her bound and determined to find out why — what happened to Meg that made her decide to do this? And did she act alone? This is not a murder mystery — Meg most certainly killed herself. But a lot of factors influence her, and Cody ferrets them all out — including a message board that Meg had been frequenting.
I can see how this book could really help a depressed teen, or maybe the friend of one who doesn’t know what to look for, or what to do. There’s a lot about the dangers of talking to strangers on the internet, too — not overblown ones, either. Like I said, I probably wasn’t the target audience for this one, but it was a decent read nonetheless.