I received this book for free from NOVL in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
TITLE: The Memory Book
AUTHOR: Lara Avery
PUBLICATION DATE: July 5th 2016
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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.
I really loved reading The Memory Book. I loved the story it told and the way it was crafted. The journaling and “Dear Diary” aspect of the book and the way the story was illustrated made what could have been a terribly generic story unique and memorable. It grabbed my attention and was able to do what no other book has been able to do in the last two months – pull me out of my massive reading slump. For that alone, The Memory Book earns a gold star.
Because of the way The Memory Book was written, I could almost pretend I was Sammie. And it wasn’t only the way the book was crafted that made me feel that way. I might not have her disease, but I still went through a lot of the same experiences she went through in high school, had similar types of teachers, family, “friends”, and classmates, and have similar character traits and aspirations.
My ability to relate to Sammie made the book seem more real and increased the emotional impact it had on me. That being said, I didn’t get quite as emotional as I expected. There were times where my brain registered something along the lines of “you’re supposed to start crying now” but I couldn’t really get any tears to flow. Sure, my eyes were leaky, but I wasn’t crying a river. So that was a bit of a letdown. Despite that, Sammie’s story still deeply resonated with me. It showcased a lot of themes that are important to me as someone who just graduated from high school and reinforced a lot of life lessons everyone should know.
Besides the little emotional problem, I also had an issue with the romance. To be honest, the romance was a bit cliche and it felt like it was taken out of a rom-com. It felt like I spent a good amount of time (and effort) climbing a mountain, but when I got there, there wasn’t that much to see. It was really disappointing for me and just a bit poorly timed.
While I didn’t really like the romance, I loved the characters. The Memory Book has a few really diverse characters. I love that one of the love interests is Asian, and that he defies stereotypes people usually would associate with him. For example, he’s a writer and not a doctor. Can diversity get better than this? Yes, yes it can. The Memory Book also has an LGBT character that is far from your average stereotypical lesbian.
What makes this all even better? Not only are these characters diverse, occupy roles not given to them by society and mainstream media, and break stereotypes, they are not the common “token” diverse characters. They are well written and well developed. They have a purpose and that purpose is not to be there just to be there and make the novel “diverse”. Their purpose is to add color to the story and show readers that diverse characters are like any other characters you can find in a book. Besides their backgrounds and the labels they are given, they are no different from the rest.
Although I was a bit disappointed with the romance and its ability to bring me to tears, I still thoroughly enjoyed reading The Memory Book. Full of relatable, well-written, and non-token characters, and crafted in a way that makes a generic story more unique, The Memory Book is worth a read if you love contemporaries.