You Were Here
by Cori McCarthy
Summary: 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.
Source: I received a digital copy from Netgalley
You Were Here was great! I could NOT put it down. I started reading it just to see if the tone grabbed me before officially deciding I was reading it, which was late at night. Next thing I knew, it was past midnight and I was 30% through it. I could have kept going if I didn’t have to get some sleep. When I got home from work, I devoured the rest. It was so captivating.
The book was told from multiple perspectives: Jaycee, a rebellious girl who would take any dare after her brother died in a freak accident years before; Natalie, Jaycee’s ex best friend; Zach, Natalie’s constantly drunk boyfriend; Bishop, Zach’s heartbroken artsy best friend; and Mik, the tall, dark, and handsome friend of Jaycee’s brother. Jaycee’s brother was a daredevil and urban explorer. To get closer to him, Jaycee attempted to try to get to the places he’d go and try to connect. In a strange twist of fate, Natalie, Zach, and Bishop ended up on the same path and got involved. Natalie attempted to fix their broken friendship before heading off to college. And Mik, well, he was there every year for Jaycee, but he was a selective mute and never talked to her.
It was a mess of interpersonal relationships, but I loved every second. It was complicated and messy, as the feelings everyone was dealing with were messy. Zach and Natalie were doomed, Bishop was a little upset that Zach didn’t understand his heartbreak despite having an on and off again relationship that was doomed with Natalie. Jaycee was the firecracker who was as fragile as glass on the inside.
Mik’s point of view was told in graphic novel format, which was awesome. Bishop’s point of view was always a picture or graffiti art he happened to be working on while everyone was adventuring or bickering. I felt like each character was different, with their own sets of issues and motivations, but somehow, the unlikely group of “friends” stole my heart and I think they all stole each other’s hearts as well.
I absolutely loved You Were Here. It was a unique story told in a unique way with compelling characters I immediately fell for and wanted to know better. I highly recommend the book to anyone who loves a good contemporary that nails complex characters and doesn’t just exist to tell a light, fluffy feel good story. You Were Here was awesome.