BOOK REVIEW: “You Were Here” by Cori McCarthy

Title: You Were Here
Author: Cori McCarthy
Publication: March 1, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Sourcebooks
Pages: 400

You Were Here


SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)

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

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


**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.**

Anyone who can catch my eye with the simple cover of a book is already a step ahead of the rest. A lot of people say you shouldn’t always judge a book by it’s cover. This is true. But to be honest, it is the first thing you see and if it looks horrible I may not be inclined to pick it up… right away. I will eventually. But I may pick up the one with the really appealing cover first. And yes… I’m a hundred percent referring to books and not people. Don’t judge people. Period.

Cori McCarthy’s novel “You Were Here” instantly caught my attention. The mix of pitch black and bright colors drew me in. Then the description sounded intriguing. So I started reading.

I was not disappointed. So far one of my favorite books of 2016, “You Were Here” is this incredible story of growing up, facing grief in every way possible, heart ache, love, friendship, family, and everything in between. To put it simply… it is about life. The story follows Jaycee. I love Jaycee. She is witty and sarcastic. She pretends like the world doesn’t bother her when really everything bothers her. It bothers her that her brother died in such a ridiculous way that she literally cannot seem to cope. So instead she tries to relive his life. From wearing his clothes and living in his room to doing his insanely dangerous and destructive dares. Unfortunately for her (or not unfortuantely…) there is a group of people who squeeze their way in to her life and force her to slowly crack open the shell she has formed around herself. She begins to care. She begins to feel more than just angry at her brother for dying. Mik (Ryan), Natalie, Bishop, and Zach all become this extended family that help her do what her family has not able.

McCarthy writes friends in a way that people feel friends. They are family. They are the ones you turn to when things get hard. Even when you are really mad or hate them you wonder where they are or what they are doing. She wrote the different types of grief for each character in different ways. Those who simply knew of Jake and those who were so close to him. Those who saw the “incident” and those who heard about it. She was able to get across that you may not understand why someone feels or acts the way they do when grieving but that’s how they are choosing to grieve. It’s not wrong. Just different.

The love stories intertwined here were so different too. You got heartbreak. Breaking. And Building. All different stages of relationships. While it does jump from different perspectives it didn’t bother me like it does in a lot of books. The different viewpoints were very much needed and helped the story play out. The complexities in this story make you think it’s going to be so hard to understand and read, but it flowed so smoothly and fit so well. I can’t say it better than it felt just like life. It’s broken and bumpy and beautiful. A truly fantastic piece of art by Cori McCarthy. I can’t praise enough. I also want to praise the author directly… who managed to throw in references to two of my favorite entertainment series. Liam Neeson with the ‘Taken’ series and Harry Potter. I feel as if we are kindred spirits! Definitely adding her to my favorite authors list.

Absolutely well deserved five stars! Going to find her other books now. When is the next one coming? (And P.S. this would make a fantastic movie!)

As highly as I recommend this book, I obviously encourage everyone to pick up their own copy on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or find it in a bookstore near you! Also check out the author, Cori McCarthy, on her site! Also follow her on twitter @CoriMcCarthy. Always add your books to your To Reads list on Goodreads and leave feedback for the author when you are finished!

See you at the next review!

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