THE MEMORY BOOK
by Lara Avery
Publication Date: January 26th 2017 (Originally July 5th 2016)
Received From: Hachette (via NetGalley)
Received From: Hachette (via NetGalley)
“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.”
Samantha McCoy has it all mapped out. First she's going to win the national debating championship, then she's going to move to New York and become a human rights lawyer. But when Sammie discovers that a rare disease is going to take away her memory, the future she'd planned so perfectly is derailed before it’s started. 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. Realising that her life won't wait to be lived, she sets out on a summer of firsts: The first party; The first rebellion; The first friendship; The last love.
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.
Right here we go! This book got me right in the feels and had me ugly crying for hours! I was not in anyway, shape or form emotionally prepared for The Memory Book and it still has me reeling. I have not read a book that has made me full on cry in a long time and the last entry in The Memory Book broke me! So I will try and keep it together as I write this review.
The Memory Book is written as a journal to help Sammie remember everything she knows she might one day forget when she is diagnosed with a condition that affects her memory. To Sammie her brain is everything, it is what makes her special and the idea of this being damaged overtime is impossible to come to terms with. The journal shows how it affects her friendships, family life and future but I think most importantly it shows the way this illness changes the way she sees the world around her.
Sammie as a character is easy to connect with as she is a strong and determined young women who knows what she wants from life. It's her determination to achieve her goals that makes her special and even when faced with the unfair truths of her condition she refuses to give up on her dreams. It's a story of strength and finding motivation and comfort in the most unlikely of places. Reading as Sammie's outlook on life is questioned is so moving and had me holding back the tears and beaming with pride.
The story itself is quintessentially YA and I loved the fact Lara Avery played on the high school experience and make it clear throughout the book that Sammie IS a teenage girl and even when forced to grow up fast she remains true to the way I imagine an 18 year old would deal with this situation. There is a strong emphasis on friendship and not taking the people around you for granted with a big focus on the way Sammie interacts with the people around her. She is a head strong protagonist and its the challenges she faces throughout the book that shapes her into a character than you can't help but rout for.
It wasn't all doom and gloom though! In fact throughout the book there were moments that made me laugh out loud. There were wacky friends, rather hot boyfriend and an unexpected alliance with a friend she thought she has lost. Said friend is Cooper! Cooper had me smiling on more occasions than I could count! He's everything you don't want for a girl like Sammie as he doesn't focus in school, he spends his time partying and is a Grade A stoner but there is something charming about the boy that had me from the first moment he was mentioned.
Overall I adored this book. Even when I was struggling to read through the tears I couldn't put this book down and it had me reading into the early hours of the morning. It is heartbreakingly perfect and I couldn't think of a thing I would have wanted done differently. The characters are funny, stubborn and easy to love. The story is devastating and flows effortlessly. But above all else Lara managed to get me where it hurt, she wrote a book that connected with me on an emotional level and THAT is the sign of a great writer.
I received this book as an ARC from Hachette to read & review. This is a 100% honest review.