The Memory Book mainly revolves around Samantha McCoy (a.k.a. Sammie), who recently found out that she has a rare genetic disorder labeled Niemann-Pick Type C. Sammie always had a plan: becoming valedictorian, graduating high school, getting out of her small town, and going to NYU. She never planned having her memories and her health being stolen from her by a rare disease.
That is when the Memory Book is born: full of Sammie's notes to her future self - documenting both the bad and good moments in her life. It's where she writes about her perfect date with her longtime crush, Stuart, and where she openly admits that she misses her childhood friend, Cooper. Through a mixture of journal entries, guest posts, and fond memories, readers will be able to fall into this novel and experience the full story of a strong and passionate girl who learns to live fully and love it passionately even if it's not planned.
The Memory Book is something I both enjoyed and disliked. The main character, Sammie, is portrayed as a girl who has controlled the majority of the aspects of her life; she plans her future and things have to be done/achieved in order for her future to be labelled as a "success" and in order to leave her small town. Throughout the novel, she kept pushing herself to fulfill her dreams, wishes, and plans but being left unable to achieve the majority of what she wanted to do. However, as the novel progresses she begins to open up and notice that sometimes the things that are unplanned are the most exciting and joy filled moments.
The writing really captured the essence of what was going on and how people react differently to a situation that is both life altering and heartbreaking. I felt that Lara Avery was able to portray such emotions, especially the last 15 pages, that definitely leaves readers falling apart and wanting to read and know more.
A few things I didn't necessarily enjoy reading had to be the love triangle and the focus being mostly on the love interests. I wished it didn't focus on Stuart and Cooper but more on the struggles Sammie was going through in her life and her overall family dynamic (i.e. how is it changing, wanting to spend as much time with her family as possible, ext.). It all seemed trivial compared to what is ultimately going to happen in the end. I just hoped for more with this aspect of the novel.
I would recommend picking up and checking out The Memory Book, it is definitely a novel that will move you and leave you feeling raw from the emotions portrayed within the novel.
July 5 2016
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
ARC was kindly provided by publisher, Hachette Book Group, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.
About The Author:
Lara Avery is the author of Anything But Ordinary (Hyperion 2012), A Million Miles Away (Little, Brown 2015), and The Memory Book (Little, Brown 2016) as well as the Director of Community Events at Revolver. Her work has also appeared in Bennington College’s anthology plain china: Best Undergraduate Writing of 2009, The Onion AV Club, ARTNews, and Women In Clothes (Blue Rider Press 2014).
Born in Topeka, Kansas, Lara studied film, cultural studies, and creative writing at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. She now lives in Minneapolis where she is at work on a fourth novel.
Lara likes painting the town gray with her Revolver crew, shooting hoops, and making playlists.