Review | You Were Here by Cori McCarthy

Title |
 You Were Here
Author | Cori McCarthy
Pages | 400 pages
Publisher | Sourcebooks FIRE
Series | None
Release Date | March 2016
Find it on Goodreads and Amazon

Grief turned Jaycee into a daredevil, but can she dare to deal with her past?

On the anniversary of her brother’s death, Jaycee attempts to break into Jake’s favourite hideout – the petrifying ruins of an insane asylum. Joined by four classmates, each with their own brand of dysfunctional, 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 in us her eccentric band of friends who challenge her to do the unthinkable: reveal the parts of herself that she buried with her brother.

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You Were Here was probably one of the most intriguing, well-planned novels I have ever come across. The fluid and capturing writing from Cori McCarthy has proved her worth and gained her a new fan.

I was losing Jake, memory by memory.

The story of You Were Here follows the entwined lives of five teens: Natalie, Zach, Bishop, Mik, and the lead protagonist, Jaycee. Emerging. Moving. The reader is forced into the grief and adrenaline Jaycee feels as she recovers from watching her own brother’s death. With each character following a heart-breaking problem of their own, McCarthy is sure to have you gripping the end of your seat.

Killing time. What an expression. How does one kill time? Anaesthesia? Time travel? Lobotomy?

The characters, individually and in their own right, help highlight the significance of the issues modern day teens experience on a daily business. It always bugs me when the elder generation use the cliché phrase of ‘I was a child once, too’. Yes, you were. But the struggles you guys faced were a lot different to the ones modern children endure. The pain that Jaycee had endured created a sarcastic, cold shell – but her sarcasm is something you grow to love throughout the novel. Like many other things, her sarcasm is a defence mechanism. Take the above quote. Despite the fact she is still recovering from watching death in his prime, she still makes jokes about him. That’s why Jaycee is my favourite character. Mik was another character I adored. His idea of being ‘selective mute’ was refreshing from all over teen/ young adult fiction in which the girl swoons over the guys voice or words. Words have a million meanings, but so does silence. I feel McCarthy took the right approach in making him different and stand on out. And to be honest, Mik is bae enough without words.

Anything to escape being the infamous girl who’d had a front-row seat in watching her big brother snap his neck.

Laying out of each part was great too. While usually I despise books that have multiple POV’s (point of views), Cori McCarthy took a spin in this classic form of writing. Each character matched their own personality through how their perspective was told. Kaycee, Natalie and Zach all had regular narrative, varying from first to third person. However, the most intriguing parts of the novels were the perspectives of Bishop and Mik. Bishop chooses to show his thoughts and feelings through art – typically graffiti. This is reflected in the layout of the novel as Bishop’s perspective is only a picture of his artwork. Similarly with Mik, as he chooses not to use words, his perspective is in graphic novel form. Although unique and confusing to grasp at first, it is another feature that helps the layout stand out.

Which Jaycee would open her eyes? The Jaycee who glared at all the boys as if they were muskrats wearing pants? Or the Jaycee who’d whimpered on the bathroom counter top while Mik scrubbed The Ridges’ filth out of her scraped palms, and who’d then buried her face in his neck and wrapped her legs around his waist like she’d been waiting her whole life to do it?

When given this book, I pushed it aside for a while. However upon reading it, I found I couldn’t put it down. Every young adult should read this, as it allows people to grasp the importance of moving on with life, and never letting go. An amazing 5 out of 5 snowflakes was given for this amazing story.

5 stars

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Still unsure on whether this book is the one for you? Have a look at what other bloggers have to say.

Scarlett @ San Antonio Public Library says “Mccarthy does a stellar job of condemning and redeeming each character throughout the story.”

Kat @ Tree Stand Books says “I gave it only 3 because I personally thought it was too dark for my taste, but it is a great book to explore.”

Mandy @ Book Princess Reviews says “I need this book in my life.”

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Contact Details

Twitter: @passionchildUK
Instagram: @childishlypassionate



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