I’ve had this book on my TBR pile for a while, but I finally picked it up a few days ago as something light to read after the long-windedness that was The Kraken Wakes (review here). It may also have had something to do with The Hangover From Hell that wouldn’t let me concentrate on reading for more than 7-10 minutes, but never mind.
Here’s the thing about me: I can see the future in flashes, like memories. But my past is a blank. I remember what I’ll wear tomorrow, and an argument that won’t happen until this afternoon. But I don’t know what I ate for dinner last night. I get by with the help of notes, my mom and my best friend Jamie, and the system works …Until now. Everything’s falling apart. Jamie’s going of the rails. My mom is lying to me. And I can’t see the boy I adore in my future. But today, I love him. And I never want to forget how much …
The short version is that I really enjoyed this book. I read it in pretty much one sitting (with breaks for painkiller swallowing and self-pity) and felt much better for it afterwards. The long version is that it’s a light-hearted yet moving description of London Lane’s struggles with her backwards memory. There seems to be a lot of memory loss related books about recently (see my reviews of The Adoration of Jenna Fox and What Alice Forgot), but this is definitely one of the better ones.
Although there are some quite obvious flaws and unexplained bits (like why does London forget Luke one day and then suddenly remember him the next?), it’s easy to look past most of them. The one thing that really bothered me was the growing relationship between the two of them – if London forget every little detail of her life every night, there’s no way she’d cuddle and sleep with somebody she didn’t know the next. A person with such a memory problem just wouldn’t be able to get close to anyone.
But like I said, it’s written so well that it’s easy to ignore the holes. I mean, it’s been slated by some other blogs who said that London’s thoughts were too trivial, but she’s a teenage girl. Of course she’s going to be concerned with her appearance and boys. I particularly liked the details Ms Patrick threw in to make London’s problems more real – simple things like forgetting to lend her best friend a shirt or what she wore the day before. That’s what makes this novel so good – it’s not just about the plot, it’s about London’s daily life and what a struggle that is.
It surprised me how dark it was in parts. London’s condition obviously means that she knows exactly how the lives of her friends will pan out, and some contain shocking situations that she daren’t speak of. Her deliberation of whether or not to warn her closest friend, Jamie, of her future is extremely well written and very adult.
This is the perfect book for curling up in a ball and forgetting the outside world. The unique story, interesting characters and dark moments add up to an excellent novel deserving the highest praise. I’m disappointed that there won’t be a sequel as the ending seems to call for one, but Ms Patrick’s website states that the book was always intended to stand alone. Shame, I’d have been first in line!