Sunday, 14 August 2016

THE MEMORY BOOK by Lara Avery

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 Sam discovers that a rare disease is going to take away her memory, the future she'd planned so perfectly is derailed before its started.

Realising that her life won't wait to be lived, Sam sets out on a summer of firsts.

The first party.

The first rebellion.

The first friendship.

The last love.


This book caught my eye a few months ago, and thanks to Hachette Australia I was lucky enough to receive a review copy. BTW, isn't the cover totally awesome? I'm a fan of sticky notes, so I love what they did. Very creative.

Anyway, let's talk about this amazing book.

Samantha McCoy is a studious eighteen year old with a bright future. She's about to become valedictorian, has been accepted into NYU and kicks butt on the debate team. Sammie always does the right thing, has spent the last four years studying like a fiend, and is determined to become a human rights lawyer. She pretty much has everything figured out.

Until a disease gets in the way. Niemann-Pick is rare, but once diagnosed moves quickly.

Now Sammie's memory is threatened, which pretty much means all of her plans are at risk. She's determined to keep living her life with her family and looks forward to finishing what's left of high school. When she forgets what she's doing in the middle of the national debate championship, she not only realises that she's really not okay, but also ruins the one friendship she's really got.

Accepting that her brain and body could fail her at any moment makes life a scarier concept. It also forces her to step away from the books and actually live. Especially since she's finally caught the eye of her longtime crush. Spending time with Stuart is even better than she imagined, and if she doesn't tell him what's going on, Sammie might lose him too.

With so much to lose, Sammie decides to enjoy life to the fullest. And when she does, she reconnects with a childhood friend. She also learns a lot about herself along the way. Now only this cruel disease can stop her...

Wow. OMG. This book is a lot of things. Cute and clever. Wonderful and sad. Unique and intriguing. Amazing and devastating. Powerful and heartbreaking. Fun and interesting. Yeah, I could keep going but I'm sure you get the picture. For every positive, there's a negative waiting.

Told in the form of a .doc file on Sammie's laptop, she writes to Future Sam so she won't forget everything that's important. It's also an effective way of taking the reader along for the ride, to share her highs and lows as they happen. And to really understand how this awful disease is stealing her mind.

The Memory Book is a very emotional story, and Sammie's voice hooked me in right away. It's one girl's fight to remain herself while her body intends to strip everything away from her. It's a very well written book about strength, pain and never giving up. About overcoming life's obstacles and rolling with the punches even if they keep coming. But most of all, it's a beautiful story that worms its way into your heart and tears you apart.

And that ending... :(

I seriously loved this book. Even if it made me cry.

The Memory Book, July 2016, ISBN 9781784299248, Quercus Children's Books

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