Thursday, 15 March 2012

Book Review 12 - Forgotten, Cat Patrick

Yet another stunning YA cover!

It was the idea behind Forgotten that made me pick it up. Sure, I had vaguely heard of it in book blogger circles' and around the internet, but I was really just intrigued by the premise and the research that must have gone into a story like this.

London Lane remembers her future the same way we remember our past. And while the average person doesn't 'remember' their future, London doesn't remember her past. Her memories are of the future, but the moment they become the past, they're forgotten. At precisely 4:33am every morning she forgets the day she's just lived and awakens with only what she sees of the future and her daily notes on what's happened in her life. She has to remind herself of the clothes she wore yesterday, the conversations she had, what she needs to do for school, why she's angry at certain people and to remind herself to stay angry at certain people. She's is used to relying on these notes and a trusted friend to get through the day, but things get complicated when a new boy at school enters the picture. Luke Henry is not someone you'd easily forget, yet try as she might, London can't find him in her memories of things to come. When London starts experiencing disturbing flashbacks, or flash-forwards, as the case may be, she realizes it's time to learn about the past she keeps forgetting - before it destroys her future.

The writing in Forgotten is classically American YA. It's nothing truly remarkable, but Cat Patrick does weave intelligence and intrigue into her style and fills every word with the promise of mystery and excitement.

An interesting thing about the book is the presence of a love story that not only affects the characters, but the plot. A novel about a girl like London could have taken places anytime in her life, but Luke is the cataclysmic reason for the book to be written. There's an instant attraction between them; he's gorgeous and seems like such a genuinely sweet boy. I loved the way Cat Patrick described meeting Luke, the first time and every other. It was like a new experience each time, not just for London, but for me as well! As she described him a bit differently every time focusing on his unwavering gaze, to his obvious ease or his effortless smile. I had to smile to myself when I came across this short, yet sweet paragraph in the book:

I thought I was prepared. This morning, I read months of notes. I flipped through dozens of photos. But Luke in real life is something else. Luke in real life is something no amount of notes could prepare me for. My living, breathing boyfriend is amazing. 

You want to like him straight away, but there is something too oddly familiar about Luke for London, though she doesn't see him in any of her future memories. So as much as she'd love the idea of seeing and talking to him again, she doesn't torture herself by dwelling on what she knows will never come. Until it does. She talks to him again the next day. And the next. And the next. Luke Henry is very much a part of her future, he becomes an incredibly important part but she still can't remember him. Which means every day she must read her notes growing notes on this wonderful boy and meet him all over again. All the while keeping up the facade that she 'does' remember him - since only two people in her life know of her condition.

To me, London's condition is heartbreaking. To have these 'future memories' of days, months, years to come and know they're only temporary in your mind - the moment you actually live in them, the dreaded 4:33am curse comes around and nothing. Just words; ink and paper reminders of what once was.

There are two things about this book that you should know; first, it is pretty much character-led. London is the central part of the story, with Luke as the catalyst for her emotions, and the other characters simply serving as facilitators for the plot and what London needs. Second, it's not for people who like good old a fast-paced action story. It's short and succinct, but it is, essentially, a modern-day mystery that attempts to become a YA thriller and doesn't completely reach its target.

Don't get me wrong, the story was a mesmerizing page-turning psychological mystery; full of drama and young love that I greedily consumed in one evening, but there was just a certain...nothingness about it that made me not instantly fall in love with it. I wanted more - so much more. There honestly could be no other reason for my blah reaction except personal preference, but I think the pacing, characterization, lack of subplot(s) and other features need to be taken into account. There were just too many things that I couldn't believe about it, and though I did enjoy reading it somewhat, I felt sort of let down.

However, I'm sure many readers out there will love it and will probably hate me for the rest of my life for saying that I dislike how all the elements of the story seemed to reach a certain level, and then just stopped, when I wished they could have gone so much further.

Writing: 4/5
Plot: 3.5/5
Characters: 4/5
Impact: 2/5
Re-readability: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5
In five words: mysterious, romantic, intriguing, well-written


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