Sunday, November 6, 2016

THE FORGETTING by Sharon Cameron

Rating: A-
What isn't written, isn't remembered. Even your crimes.

Nadia lives in the city of Canaan, where life is safe and structured, hemmed in by white stone walls and no memory of what came before. But every twelve years the city descends into the bloody chaos of the Forgetting, a day of no remorse, when each person's memories – of parents, children, love, life, and self – are lost. Unless they have been written.

In Canaan, your book is your truth and your identity, and Nadia knows exactly who hasn't written the truth. Because Nadia is the only person in Canaan who has never forgotten.

But when Nadia begins to use her memories to solve the mysteries of Canaan, she discovers truths about herself and Gray, the handsome glassblower, that will change her world forever. As the anarchy of the Forgetting approaches, Nadia and Gray must stop an unseen enemy that threatens both their city and their own existence – before the people can forget the truth. And before Gray can forget her.

My thoughts on the book
In some ways, I felt this novel was misleading. It's kind of billed as a fantasy book, and it isn't. Also, a lot of the big reveals seemed to come out of nowhere to me. Sure, thinking back, there were tiny hints, but not enough to put stuff together. That being said, the writing itself was phenomenal. The world-building was spot-on. The characters were intriguing, and the plot kept me completely engaged until the very last page. Sharon Cameron is quickly becoming one of the stars of YA literature. 

Nadia was a great leading character. She's damaged and has experienced trauma, and unlike the rest of the village, she remembered it. She's still strong, though, and she used her pain to do something about terrible situations. That's not her intent at first, I don't think, but she grew throughout the novel, and by the end, she was definitely one of the strongest heroines in YA lit. Gray was also a fantastic leading man. He was just good-hearted. He treated Nadia, and everyone else with respect. He wasn't a jerk, and he cared about people's well-being. He's what leading males should be, in my opinion. Each of the supporting characters was also unique, and I enjoyed Genivee the most. I wish we had gotten to see a bit more of her. 

This novel is completely different from any other book written by Cameron. I loved all of her other work, but this one is unique and I think she found her niche with it. I felt like some of the big reveals could have been a little more obvious, but maybe I'm just bitter because I didn't figure it out before it was revealed. Even the bad guy took me a tiny bit by surprise. The writing was simply beautiful, and the idea of memories making up the person is a poignant topic. I would love to do a psychoanalytic reading and discussion of this book here, but I don't want to give anything away. The pacing was perfect, and I couldn't put the book down. The first page grabbed me, and I was hooked. The ending was wonderful and tied things together nicely. I was actually satisfied with this ending. Very few endings are satisfying anymore, so that was a nice change within itself. This was just a very well-written novel, all the way around. 

Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone who is looking for something different. There are a lot of twists, turns, and surprises. The characters are very real, and the concept is thought-provoking. You can't go wrong with this one.