|You Were Here, by Cori McCarthy
Release date March 1st, 2016
This book was given to me by the publisher
through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review
In order to deal with the psychological grief of her brother dying, Jaycee is on a quest to rediscover him by reliving his dangerous stunts. When a group of erstwhile friends gets sucked into her antics, Jaycee learns love and forgiveness.
Let me start out by saying this is the best fiction work on grief that I have ever experienced. McCarthy is clearly someone who understands the power of grief. It seems like everyone in the story is experiencing grief, yet they are all coping in different ways. What’s more most of the characters are incredibly wise (perhaps a little too wise to be real). At one point, Jaycee demands of her new old friend whether she should change her grieving process to not weird people out – how many adults understand that their grief is a personal process, and that it is not wrong to cope the way they do, even if it emotionally or physically healthy for them at that moment (i.e. it is not wrong to experience grief, though sometimes they must be protected from themselves).
This book is gritty, and at times brutally honest. I would recommend this book to any teenager who wants to understand others’ pain, though I would suggest caution to people who are depressed or going through grief at the moment. There were times while reading this book that I reexperienced difficult moments for myself; however, that is what made the book so powerful to me. This book deserves 6 stars, but my rating system doesn’t go that far up.