What I Was

What I Was

A Novel

Written by:

Additional Formats
  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780452290235
  • 224 Pages
  • Penguin Books
  • Adult


From the 2016 recipient of the Astrid Lindgren award and author of international bestseller  How I Live Now, National Book Award finalist Picture Me Gone, and most recently Jonathan Unleashed

Finn was a beautiful orphan. H was a prep school misfit. On a September afternoon many years ago they met on a beach on the coast of England, near the ancient fisherman’s hut Finn was squatting in with his woodstove, a case of books, a striped blanket and a cat. H insinuates his way into Finn’s life—his blazing wood fires and fishing expeditions. Their friendship deepens, offering H the freedom and human connection that has always eluded him. But all too soon the idyll of their relationship is shaken by a heart-wrenching scandal.

What I Was is the unforgettable story of H at the end of his life looking back on this friendship, which has shaped and obsessed him for nearly a century.
What I Was

What I Was

Written by: Meg Rosoff


School Library Journal Best Book of the Year – winner


“There is magic, power, and mystery in the novel, without anyone ever waving a wand.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
“A beautifully crafted tale that seems, like its protagonist, both enduringly old and fluently new.”
—Los Angeles Times
“This whole novel is built on a surprise. . . . Beyond the surprise lies the beauty of what it means to live without junk in your life, only essential beauty, together with the reminder that all of it—the junk and the beauty—will be gone in a twinkling. This is a lovely book.”
—The Washington Post
“A richly patterned work about secrets and how an innocent crush can utterly change everything.”
—People magazine (four stars)
“[Rosoff’s] portrayal of adolescent awakening is intimate and thoroughly persuasive.”
—The Boston Globe