The Memory Book – Lara Avery – Poppy – Published 5 July 2016
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.
The Memory Book is an incredibly sad and touching story of a girl’s determination to hold onto her future and her memories. Family, friendship, romance and self discovery in the midst of loosing yourself.
Sammie has been diagnosed with Niemann-Pick Type C, a long and complicated word that means Sammie will slowly lose her memories. In an attempt to hold onto herself she creates a memory book to record all the important things her future self will need to know to continue her life and move on to college.
This whole book is written as journal entries in Sammie’s memory book. But these are no ordinary teen girl diary entries, instead they are fun, touching and confronting retellings of various events, important things she thinks her future self should know. Some entries are simple reminders. Some are written by other characters. Some are letters to others, and some are clear retellings, as if we are right there as it happened.
This is a slow book. I needed both time and patience to slowly work my way into the story. At first, Sammie is determined to let nothing and no one stand in her way. As such, she comes across a little strong and callous. But as the story progressed and her condition deteriorated, Sammie is forced to slow down, change her dreams and pay closer attention to the people around her, and that’s when I really started to enjoy this book. And then there is the last quarter. Totally heartbreaking. Beautiful and terrible and so damn sad. I was laughing one minute and then, suddenly, I was crying, and I couldn’t stop.
This is a very introspective and emotional story. I think the format creates a beautiful insight into Sammie’s thoughts and emotions, and yet also allows for the reflections of the other characters, while being removed from Sammie’s physical condition, bringing the cognitive and emotional into focus.
This book is beautiful and worth every minute it takes to become totally immersed in this sad story of one brave young lady and her relations with her friends and family.
The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Themes: Death, dying, mental health, family, health, disease, friendship, romance, siblings, high school, journals, writing,
Reading age guide: Ages 14/15 and up.
Advisory: Mature themes, dying. Coarse language, s***, f***. Sexual references and implied sexual situations.
Published: 5 July 2016 by Poppy.
Format: Hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. 368 pages.