Review: You Were Here by Cori McCarthy

Posted February 29, 2016 by Emily in Review / 3 Comments

Review: You Were Here by Cori McCarthyYou Were Here by Cori McCarthy
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on March 1st 2016
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 400
Format: ebook
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon

Grief turned Jaycee into a daredevil, but can she dare to deal with her past?
On the anniversary of her daredevil brother's death, Jaycee attempts to break into Jake's favorite hideout—the petrifying ruins of an insane asylum. Joined by four classmates, each with their own brand of dysfunction, Jaycee discovers a map detailing her brother's exploration and the unfinished dares he left behind.
As a tribute to Jake, Jaycee vows to complete the dares, no matter how terrifying or dangerous. What she doesn't bargain on is her eccentric band of friends who challenge her to do the unthinkable: reveal the parts of herself that she buried with her brother.

When I read the description of the book, my reaction was “Ugh, why did I request this.” I couldn’t remember why I had wanted to read it and nothing about the description spoke to me. If I’m being honest, the synopsis made me feel actively turned off. I avoided picking this book up until the last possible moment before my review was due because I just didn’t see myself liking it. This isn’t the kind of book I usually pick for myself and I thought that at best I could expect to tolerate this story.

With my low expectations, imagine my shock when this book completely consumed me. Every single thing about this book blew me away. It exceeded my expectations in every area. Then this book completely destroyed me.

At its core, You Were Here is about continuing on after someone you love has died. However, what happens if you were responsible for their death? Or if they weren’t actually that nice of a person? What if their death changed everything about your life? Or if their death makes you determined that nothing will ever change again? This book explores the different ways people grieve but also how people survive a major loss. It takes time, effort and help to pick up the pieces and continue on. Sometimes, it’s not survivable. Sometimes you will never be the same.

The characters in this book were real and deep. Each one is battling their own demons and keeping secrets. I loved each and every one of them. There wasn’t a single character that I didn’t connect with or care about deeply. Natalie and Zach, Bishop, Jaycee and Mik, excuse me, Ryan, each of them damaged and struggling in their own ways. Whether for good or for ill, they all made decisions that led them to grow and change over the course of the book. I loved that their paths weren’t straight. They made bad choices, had set backs and didn’t always know why they were acting out. Jaycee and Mik will always hold a special place in my heart.

I’ve read a lot of great books this year already. I’ve had many 4 and 5 star reviews. So it’s hard when I come across a book that’s somehow fundamentally better than others I’ve already rated 5 stars. Those books were great. However, this book emotionally affected me in a way that still has me staggered days later. This book is a 5 star book.




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