You Were Here by Cori McCarthy
To be completely honest, I was only into this book for the abandoned mental hospital. And then the theme park. But that was it, to be truthful.
Ever since I read Project 17 and then the subsequent wonder, Welcome to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz, I’ve always had a thing for the whole abandoned mental hospital and theme park setting. It’s just a really cool, haunting, and beautiful setting for me, and I mean…I am a Disney fanatic (surprise, surprise) so give me any theme park setting, and I will fangirl.
So when I saw that this book had both of my ideal settings in the summary, I didn’t care what this book was about – all I know is that I had to read and, like, now preferably.
What I got from this book was wayyyy more than what I expected and I ended up loving this odd, little book.
Jaycee is falling apart. She has never recovered from her daredevil brother, Jake’s death, a few years ago, and on the anniversary of his death, she’s visiting all the places that Jake completed his daredevil work. After accidentally stumbling upon what they thought was Jaycee’s suicide attempt, Jaycee’s ex best friend, Natalie; her boyfriend, Zach; and Bishop, their friend who is trying to get over a failed relationship. They are joined up later at the abandoned hospital by Mik, Jake’s best friend and a selective mute. All of these kids have their own demons and battle them as they go through each of the places Jake went and
figure out just what they all mean to each other.
McCarthy actually creates a very intriguing format. From the summary that I read on Goodreads, it seemed that this was just Jaycee’s story. It was just going to be about her struggles, and I was all like, okie dokie, that works. Then when I actually got the book, it tells the stories of perfectionist Natalie, underdog Zach, depressed Bishop, and mysterious Mik. Bishop’s and Mik’s narration isn’t actually narration at all – they are done through pictures. Mik’s is in a graphic novel format, while Bishop is usually done though a one page picture or graffiti.
And truthfully, I thought this wasn’t going to be a good format. Five different narrations, three different formats – there is no way that McCarthy can handle this. This is too much going on. However, I was greatly proven wrong, and it was a beautiful way to handle this very emotional story. I loved the graphic novel format of Mik’s thoughts, because I think narration would have taken away from his perspective. If it was just regular narration, it would have just been everyone else speaking and all of his thoughts, which would have taken away from this mysterious, trench-coat wearing cutie.
The story itself is beautiful and emotional. All of these characters are just so real. They have real problems, they have real demons, and they handled it the way that people do. They run, they hide, they push it so far down until they can’t feel it the way they are supposed to. They don’t handle every single situation right – you may be yelling at them to just get it together or really?? – but it’s realistic. These people have struggles and they are all imperfect. I loved each one of these characters, I loved the journey they went on, and I loved the emotion it brought.
I didn’t think that this book was going to be so emotional, but it brought out the feels so hard. I shipped Jaycee and Mik so hard, and I really was brought on that abandoned rollercoaster ride with these two. So, yes, there is a romance that will give you the feels while you are feeling the feels elsewhere. I also had a friendship ship? I don’t even know what to call that. Is there a word? There should be to ship two people that you just want to get together and be friends (again) and that was Jaycee and Natalie. I kept screaming to them to just HUG IT OUT.
There was no immediate hugging, but still. I was a big girl and I handled it like a pro – I totally didn’t stick my tongue out at the book.
Anyway, I seriously could rave about this book all day. When I picked up this book, the only rollercoaster I expected, was the one in the abandoned theme park. However, this book took me on its own ride, and my emotions were a mess after this. I loved all the characters, and this journey was one great adventure. All of these characters progressed in their own way, and I had such a book hangover after reading it. Please give this a book a chance – you definitely won’t regret it.
Ugh, writing up that little summary up there and now this full review has me wanting to read this book again. Why can’t it be Christmas yet?? I need this book in my life.
Check it out:
What books have totally surprised you going in? Or turned you into a big pile of goo after reading them?