Review: You Were Here by Cori McCarthy

You Were Here by Cori McCarthy (03/01/16)

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.

Title: You Were Here
Author: Cori McCarthy
Publication date: March 1, 2016

I received You Were Here from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

There are two problems with You Were Here. The first is that most of the book is just not that interesting. It starts out well, with a graduation night trip to an abandoned insane asylum, but after they leave the asylum, it moves very slowly. At times I felt like it was slogging through mud just to get to the next chapter. Eventually, near the end, the pace picks up again. I really liked the beginning of the book and the end. The urban exploration scenes are definitely the best parts. It’s the middle, and everything that’s not urbex or written as a graphic novel (those are Mik’s chapters and they’re short), where it falls apart.

The second problem is the characters. I was indifferent to most of them, especially Jaycee. I felt for her, seeing her brother die when she was only twelve, but aside from rooting for her to let down her damn walls and be with Mik, I didn’t care what happened to her in the present day. She’s had it tough, her family fell apart after Jake died, but she doesn’t even try to be likeable. The only character I really liked was Mik and, a selective mute, he barely spoke. Mik’s crush on Jaycee is probably the only reason I like her even a little bit. I admit it, I don’t care about her, but I ship them anyway.

The other characters are Bishop, Zach and Natalie. Bishop is a more minor character than the rest of them. He has his own things going on, a broken heart a few months ago being the main thing, and I just didn’t care about that. He’s not well-developed enough to bother with.

Natalie I don’t like at all. She has reasons for being the way she is, but basically by the time we found out what was up with her, I was so sick of all of these characters being so damaged that they could barely function.

Zach is incredibly needy and clingy. Again, reasons. Natalie and Bishop (his best friend) are both planning to leave for college and Zach isn’t. He’s afraid of being left behind, and since Natalie’s planning to dump him before she goes, I guess he has reason to worry. I feel bad for him, but again, don’t really care. The other side of Zach is the stereotypical frat boy, and with a university in town, that’s probably exactly who he’s going to become. He won’t find it hard to replace Natalie and hopefully he’ll find someone who actually likes and deserves him.

I love the idea of urban exploration and the entire concept of this book sounds so good! It just doesn’t live up to what it could have been and, while the good parts of the book are pretty good, the parts I didn’t like stand out in my mind. Overall I was disappointed.

3 stars



  1. Sorry you didn’t enjoy it that much! I’ve heard some people really loved it so I’m still quite tempted to read it… Guess it’ll be interesting to see whether I like it or not 😉
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