ARC Review: I Was Here by Gayle Forman

Title: I Was Here
Author: Gayle Forman
Publication: January 27th 2015 by Viking Juvenile
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Provided by the kind publisher...

Cody and Meg were inseparable.
Two peas in a pod.
Until . . . they weren’t anymore.

When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.

I Was Here is Gayle Forman at her finest, a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss.

-- My Rating --
3/5 Oscars: Liked It

-- My Thoughts --

      When I was accepted to review this book, I was thrilled! Come on, it's Gayle Forman. And I loved If I Stay. So I guess that's the reason why I put so many expectations into this book and it kinda left me disappointed.
     Cody and Meg were two peas in a pod. But that was before Meg took some poison and ended her own life. Now, Cody is not sure of anything anymore. Did she really know her best friend? Who is the infuriating guy -Ben- who Meg never mentioned to her? And what is that encrypted file on Meg's computer?
     Well, I loved the concept of this book. It's kinda dark and a bit sad, but it's about suicide and the impacts it has on the people who remain behind. And it's mostly about Cody and her obsession with finding out why her best friend killed herself. And yes, I do mean it. An obsession. Not a good thing.
      The one thing that I hated about this book is simply Cody. It's really hard to get into a book when you don't like the main character. I am not saying that there weren't any redeeming qualities in her, but overall, she was stupid and a rapid decision maker. Half of the things she did were either invasions of privacy or out of her curious twisted mind. She. Was. Weird.
     Aside from that, this book was actually good. I loved Ben and his complicated relationship with Cody. He was so caring and understanding. I think the romance was what saved this book. I actually liked it a lot and I loved their moments together.
     The ending was a bit abrupt. I think the author rushed through the ending too fast. But overall, it was a nice closure. So, basically, I would have loved this book if it wasn't for the main character. This book is quite thought-provoking and at times intense. So, if you're into these, then you might like this book more than I did.

ARC Review: The Oathbreaker's Shadow by Amy McCulloch

Title: The Oathbreaker's Shadow (The Knots Duology #1)
Author: Amy McCulloch
Publication: June 6th 2013 by Random House Children's Publishers (UK)
Genre: YA Fantasy
Source: Provided by the kind publisher...

Fifteen-year-old Raim lives in a world where you tie a knot for every promise that you make. Break that promise and you are scarred for life, and cast out into the desert.

Raim has worn a simple knot around his wrist for as long as he can remember. No one knows where it came from, and which promise of his it symbolises, but he barely thinks about it at all—not since becoming the most promising young fighter ever to train for the elite Yun guard. But on the most important day of his life, when he binds his life to his best friend (and future king) Khareh, the string bursts into flames and sears a dark mark into his skin.

Scarred now as an oath-breaker, Raim has two options: run, or be killed.

A gripping YA action-adventure fantasy, the first part of a planned duology.

-- My Rating --
3/5 Oscars: Liked It

-- My Thoughts --

   I didn't know what to expect while reading this book. I guess I dove into it blind. And it took me by surprise. A superior level of imagery.
     Raim is 15-years-old and going to be a Yun Guard. But all that changes when the knot that has mysteriously been on his wrist for as long as he can remember, suddenly burns away when he binds his life to his best friend and the future prince, Khareh.
     This book is high fantasy and it has been a long while since i have read one like it. It had high levels of imagery and a whole new world to discover. I applaud the author for taking such an approach and making sure that even though the world was three-dimensional and complex, it was never hard to understand.
     Then, there are the characters. I think the only thing that irked me a little bit was Raim himself. He made some very dump decisions and he had such a blind loyalty to his best friend. It bordered on the edge of being irrational. The other characters were not likable either. I couldn't find one that I actually liked.
     There is a bit of romance but it does not take the center stage and I was happy with that. I liked the moments when the two love interests were together but I liked the action-packed moments more. There is also the way Raim acted which was definitely NOT the way a 15 year old boy acts. And the feelings he had were not for a boy his age.
     The ending was definitely very interesting. I liked it a lot. The beginning of this book was too slow for me and it took me a LOT of time to get into it and get interested. But it got better towards the end and I am patiently waiting for the second book!