Saturday, July 9, 2016
THE MEMORY BOOK by Lara Avery
They tell me that my memory will never be the same, that I'll start forgetting things. At first just a little, and then a lot. So I'm writing to remember.
Sammie was always a girl with a plan: graduate at the top of her class and get out of her small town as soon as humanly possible. Nothing will stand in her way--not even a rare genetic disorder the doctors say will slowly start to steal her memories and then her health. What she needs is a new plan.
So the Memory Book is born: Sammie's notes to her future self, a document of moments great and small. It's where she'll record every perfect detail of her first date with longtime crush, Stuart--a brilliant young writer who is home for the summer. And where she'll admit how much she's missed her childhood best friend, Cooper, and even take some of the blame for the fight that ended their friendship.
Through a mix of heartfelt journal entries, mementos, and guest posts from friends and family, readers will fall in love with Sammie, a brave and remarkable girl who learns to live and love life fully, even though it's not the life she planned.
My thoughts on the book:
The Memory Book was touching, depressing, and inspiring, all at the same time. Sammie was such a brave character and fantastic narrator. If you want a strong female lead in YA lit, then Sammie is your girl. I can't get over how brave she was. I know I already used that word, but the dictionary should be rewritten to say "Brave (adj): Sammie." If I had been in her position, I'm not sure that I would have been able to keep my sense of humor, go after the guy I had a crush on, or rekindle old friendships. She really made the most of her life, even though it wasn't the life she wanted or had planned to have. She was valedictorian, an amazing debater, and planned to go to NYU and become an attorney. Those dreams were shattered when she found out she had what basically amounted to be super-early-onset Alzheimer's, but did she just lay down and feel sorry for herself in a fit of depression? No, she didn't. It would have been justified had she done that, and I would have completely understood that, but she didn't. She carried on, trying to get as much out of her life as she could before she couldn't remember it any longer. And writing herself a journal to let her future self remember the good and bad times was a beautiful and inspiring way to deal with what had to be a terrifying diagnosis.
Avery's voice is strong, and I was hooked from the first page. The writing was wonderfully done, and the descriptions were vivid and beautiful. The relationships formed were realistic and touching, and everything that happened fit perfectly and felt natural. The pacing was spot on, and I wasn't bored for one second of this text. I'm not a huge contemporary fan, but I got this ARC at BEA and decided to give this one a try, and it did not disappoint. Avery is a fantastic author. This book broke my heart and gave me hope. I'd recommend it to anyone.