In I Was Here, by Gayle Forman, Cody has always wanted to leave her small hicksville town, and when her best friend, Meg, gets a full scholarship to a college in Tacoma, she thought it would be the next best thing. Until Meg suddenly and without warning commits suicide, throwing Cody’s life into a tailspin. When she travels to Tacoma to clean out Meg’s room, she meets Meg’s roommates, her friends, her crush...and discovers that her suicide may have more to the story. While Cody struggles through her grief to make sense of her best friend’s death, and who else may have played a part, she discovers more about herself than she ever could have imagined.
In The Last Time We Say Goodbye, by Cynthia Hand, Lex is dealing with the aftermath of the suicide of her popular, vivacious brother, Ty. Her mother is a mess, her divorced father is predictably distant, she has pushed all of her friends and boyfriend away, her therapist is forcing her to write in a journal, and suggests taking anti-depressants. And to top it all off, both she and her mother think they are seeing Ty around the house--smelling his cologne, receiving cryptic messages, seeing his shadow. How can she possibly think about ever moving on?
I Was Here, by Gayle Forman (If I Stay), is an intriguing story about friendship, secrets, and dreams. It is an emotional coming-of-age story as Cody finds her place in a world that is rocked by her friend’s death. The Last Time We Say Goodbye, by Cynthia Hand (Unearthly), is also a story that will take you through the grieving process with Lex. Chapters go between Lex’s journal of memories of first and last times with her brother and the actual story. Of the two books, the characters of Lex and her mother seem more realistic and able to connect to the reader in the portrayals of a grief-stricken family members, but both are well-worth your time. Readers of tear-jerkers with suicide themes such as Thirteen Reasons Why (Jay Asher), Before I Fall (Lauren Oliver), and Looking for Alaska (John Green) will enjoy I Was Here and The Last Time We Say Goodbye.