March 31, 2016

Review: You Were Here by Cori McCarthy

Book and ARC reviews are posted under this feature!

You Were HereYou Were Here by Cori McCarthy

*Digital ARC was received from Sourcebooks Fire through Netgalley*

Genre: YA (Contemporary)
Pub. Date: March 1, 2016

Get a copy here!

Having a quite long break from reading in the past two months, I didn’t really have any particular expectation from the book that I picked up as my comeback. All I wanted was just picking up a book and taking my mind away to an exciting mental journey I hadn’t had lately. Thus I dove into You Were Here without reading any reviews about it, nor its blurb.

Starting out, the story was presented for the first time through Jaycee’s perspective. I was instantly drawn to her character fast because of the way Cori described Jaycee’s wrecked emotion so painfully beautiful. I felt like I was ‘forced’ to feel along with her and strangely I didn’t even mind it. Even before knowing the complete story of the tragedy, I could feel that it would be something unusually tragic looking from the way Jaycee’s grief seemed so intense. I liked that Cori didn’t withhold the truth for too long and how casually the source of grief was thrown into the first chapter. It broke my heart yet I sensed that Cori didn’t want her readers to drowning in sorrow that fast in the first chapter with the way she played the supposedly depressing character into such person who’s half sarcastic-half peculiar yet oddly amusing that I really enjoyed Jaycee’s voice here.

When the whole pack finally came out, the story just got even better. Not only because of the fact that the book was told from everyone’s (which means all five main characters) perspectives, but also because all of them got their own eccentricities that made me fall in love with all of them in different ways.

Like Jaycee whose sarcasm was over the top when really it was just a mask to cover the broken soul within. How she seemed like a reckless wild teen when she’s really just a lonely girl with no direction to go. Her anger, grief, disappointment, loss feeling all mixed up leading her to the only way she knows how to cope it with: retracing her brother’s steps. Then there’s Natalie, an ex-best friend who complemented Jaycee in such a way no one could. They apparently shared a rough past that seemingly would forever damage their relationship and they couldn’t even stand each other’s present in the same room but their circumstance told us just how reality really is. No relationship in this world, be it between best-friends or lovers, that never hit the bumps. It could be just a little misunderstood but it could also be so bad that people would even grow apart for years before coming back as one. I liked that Jaycee and Natalie could go on and on bantering for hours yet they couldn’t stop caring for each other. I liked that they could call each other an ‘ex-best friend’ yet they still remembered every little details from the good ol’ days and reminisced it together when the memories came rushing out in the middle of them exchanging insults. I loved that Jaycee was so ignorant and Natalie was so uptight and they didn’t need to change themselves in order to befriend each other. And I could go on and on with all these fascinating things about them but I couldn’t ignore the fact that there were also these other three characters that as interesting as the girls.

Zach, Bishop, and Mik were the boys who completed this misfit group of five. Following Jaycee’s morbid adventure was Natalie who was accompanied (half-heartedly) by her boyfriend, Zach, and (fully) by their friend, Bishop. Zach, a teenager with a drinking problem and too much baggage on his plate, was actually a lovely person if you just give him a chance. I didn’t know why but just like how Jaycee’s character pulled something in my heart, his also made me feel want to hug him tight and get mad at him for hurting himself. And there’s Bishop whose words of graffiti were so deeply moving. I liked how he could be so introvert around people sometimes yet he seemed to always be there when his friends needed him.
And Mik…

I loved loved loved Mik! Mikivikious was a character that’s so unique and absolutely mesmerizing. I could count just how many times he talked in the entire book but I swear every time he did, he took my breath away that I fell head over heels again and again for him. I don’t want to reveal much about him except for this saying Jaycee said about him that, well, summed up a little part of him…

“He was still the boy who’d rather bite himself than reveal too much.”
Also I found the dynamic of the relationship between these five teens were so naturally amazing. I loved that nobody’s perfect in this group, I even loved it more that everyone was flawed in the past, and together they embarked on this estrange journey and came out learning the best lesson of how to live a real life.

“What do I know about anything―other than how fast the world can break and how very long it takes to put all the pieces back together.”
Reading this book really played with emotions, while the story is actually about a grief of losing someone you love Cori tried to tell us that sad things were not always depressing if you just tilt your angle toward it a bit. I loved how real the scenes were, the characters, all those places they’ve been in…

I really really enjoyed reading this book. With an insanely good writing, great details, unique characterizations, and oh, those amazing graphic illustrations I almost forgot to mention, You Were Here made an awesome comeback read for me. I recommend those who love John Green’s Looking for Alaska to pick this book up and find yourself addicted with these awesome characters.


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