I received this book for free (hey, thanks!) in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this does NOT affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For real.The Memory Book by Lara Avery
on July 5th 2016
(368 pages) • Goodreads • Amazon • Barnes & Noble
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.
Wooooof. This book. I have a really weird mix of feelings about it, but I’m left with an overwhelming positive (in the sense that I definitely liked it more than disliked it) feeling about it. I’m so close to going for 4.5 stars but I keep reminding myself about the first half of the book. I’m going to break it down a little bit to explain what I mean.
Sammie was a… weird character. She was hard to get used to in a lot of ways. She was awkward and failed miserably at interacting in social situations. It felt kind of uncomfortable to be in her head, especially because she’s writing everything down from her perspective in the Memory Book. She finds out that she has a type of dementia, essentially, that will cause her to lose her memories and likely die at a young age. She creates this book to fill with memories and daily happenings so that she doesn’t forget anything as her health declines. Super sad premise, obviously. At the beginning, she seemed “normal” (just health-wise) and it was hard to figure out what was going to happen with her. As her health gets worse, the book gets sadder and sadder.
I really couldn’t relate to her at first, but this is truly a book where I liked it more with each page I read. She grew on me, the story grew on me, the other characters grew on me… just to the point where I was REALLY starting to care about what happened to her by the end of the book.
Unfortunately, I did have some bigger issues with the romance. Spoiler? alert: love triangle. I usually don’t mind them, but in a book where the person seems to have a limited amount of time to live… I want them to be with the right person! She had crushed on this guy, Stuart, for years. He was a writer and a little pretentious, but it seemed to be going well. She also had her childhood best friend, Coop, come back in her life towards the beginning of the book. I’m a sucker for childhood-friends-to-lovers tropes, so I was rooting SO HARD for them to get together. More in a spoiler tag: View Spoiler »So yeah, she spends most of the book with Stuart when clearly she should have been with Coop from the beginning. Stuart IS a nice guy and he cares for her, so it was weird to be rooting against him anyways. By the end of the book, there’s the classic love triangle blowup, Coop/Stuart/Sammie have a falling out, and you WISH that her and Coop can get their shit together before the end of the book. They do, so that’s nice. « Hide Spoiler Yeah. Just not a fan of the romance in general, even though I super shipped her with one of them.
Now for the ending. I sobbed, not gonna lie. I have an issue with sad books that make me cry because for some reason, I don’t expect it until it’s too late. View Spoiler »I knew she was probably going to die, but it didn’t hit me until the VERY end of the book that ..shit.. she was actually going to die. And of course she did. « Hide Spoiler This book was sad but powerful. I loved the format of the Memory Book but definitely wish it had more of a “scrapbook” vibe to it. I also really enjoyed the guest posts from family and friends. They made me cry quite a bit too.
Overall, this book may take some getting used to. Sammie as a character was hard for me to relate to, but maybe others will? You’ll end up rooting for her like crazy, I promise. I think the comp titles for this are SUPER accurate, too. If you’re a sucker for books that will pack a punch and make you cry, I would highly recommend this one.
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