Published by Hachette Australia on July 4th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson
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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.
The Memory Book reduced me to a puddle of tears and I spent an entire night crying about it. Which is what makes this book perfect for me because I cannot resist a cryworthy contemporary story.
Sammie has an incurable neurological disease that is slowly causing her to lose her memory and will eventually claim her life. As a result, she’s keeping a journal for her future self so that even when she forgets, her Memory Book acts as a reminder. The Memory Book itself is this journal. It’s like an encyclopedia that Sammie has written to herself. It’s not your traditional novel with clear chapters. The format of the book is irregular and there are chapters with just facts. As Sammie writes to Future Sam, we get to see her story and how she’s progressing through life with her disability. It’s sad and heartbreaking, but also full of warm and happy moments too. In fact, the majority of the book is quite hopeful and full of wonderful family, friendship and romantic moments. It was really only the last 50 or so pages that really got to me and made me start bawling.
Optimism yields responsibility. I’m not delusional: I know I’m sick. But I’m not going to set myself up for failure.
My favourite aspect of this book was definitely Sammie’s character. I loved her and could relate to her so much. She’s ambitious and driven and refuses to let her condition get in the way of her dreams. She’s a fierce competitor and debater and has dreamt of winning the National Debate Tournament and going on to becoming a human rights lawyer for years and years. But her memory loss makes it hard for her to cope with her daily life, let alone memorise all the facts that she needs to win the tournament. As she struggles through ways of coping with her disability, we see different sides of Sammie and I loved each and every single side of her. Her humour and her social awkwardness was fantastic and I definitely connected with it. She’s a total nerd and reads books at parties (when she actually goes to parties). I loved her so, so much and couldn’t have asked for a better main character.
The side characters were also great but I wasn’t as enamoured by them as I was by Sammie. I absolutely loved Sammie’s family and how supportive they were of her, but I didn’t really understand the appeal of some of Sammie’s friends. Maddie is Sammie’s best friend and debate partner but I found her to be a little bit selfish and I didn’t really understand her reactions. I also wasn’t the biggest fan of the love interest, Stuart. I liked him and I also liked that he was there to support Sammie instead of running away at the first sign of trouble. But I never really warmed to him or enjoyed their romance. And knowing what I know after finishing the book, I guess I can understand why I felt this way. My favourite of all the side characters was probably Cooper, Sammie’s neighbour. He used to be Sammie’s best friend when they were younger but have mostly been casual acquaintances since then. He makes a sudden reappearance in Sammie’s life after finding out about her illness and helps her through her daily struggles by offering her advice (or underhanded methods) on how she can overcome her barriers and looking after her when she needs greater help later on. I loved their friendship and the part that Cooper played in her life and in the story.
Despite not connecting some of the side characters, I thought the writing, plot and main character of The Memory Book was brilliant and deserves full marks. It’s emotional and heartbreaking but also adorable and hopeful. It’s a story that will stick with me for a long time to come.
Rating: 5 out of 5
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[…] The Memory Book – Lara Avery […]
IDK IF I CAN DEAL WITH BOOKS THAT MAKE ME CRY JENNA. Honestly this sounds horribly sad and I could never imagine going through such an ideal. I like that it had a lasting impression on you though, even if you couldn't really connect well with the rest of the characters. 🙁 Also the best friend seems a bit extra. I don't think I'd want a friend like that in my life.
Ahhh yeah… I can't really see you reading this one. But if you do, be assured that the story is great! The romance was a bit weird in my opinion but I loved how the book ended, even though it KILLED me! If you've ever watched 1 Litre of Tears, this has a similar vibe!
Such a beautiful review, this book is very high on my wish list <3
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Yay! I hope you get the chance to pick it up. I've only seen positive reviews for it and I can definitely vouch for those positive reviews.
Ahh, this book was so incredibly powerful and emotional. I ended up sobbing with this one so hard. I didn't care much for the love triangle, mainly because I thought her health should be a reason for her to be with the person she really wants to be with . But other than that, it was so good. Great review.
Yeah I totally agree with you about the romance and love triangle. But just like you, the rest of the book made up for it. I loved it so much and it made me cry for hours and hours. I had the biggest book hangover afterwards!
Ahhh I loved this book! I agree with you on Maddie, I wasn't exactly sure why she had that kind of reaction, it really was selfish. And I'm sure she'll regret it later on. And Stuart was…well I didn't really like him much either hahah. The romance here was weird to be honest. But I loved Sammie, and just her personality and her determination. I ended up sobbing through most of this.
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That was my exact experience too. I was expecting to fall in love with Stuart but I really didn't think he had any chemistry with Sammie. Cooper was great though <3 Sammie made the book for me and I'm so glad that I got to read about her story here.
Aww this seems so sad and lovely and I want to read it, but I also don't want to be destroyed, and GAH!
Haha I totally understand. This book absolutely destroyed me but in the best way possible. I loved everything about it!
I'm glad you loved it so much!
As I see, it will take time until this book comes out, but now I have one more book to look forward to in 2017! 😀
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Oh the book is out already! I don't know why the book info said 2017. I've changed it now. The great thing is that you can totally pick it up at the book store today 😀
ohmy, This really sounds like my type of contemporary read — heartbreaking, illness (that incurable neurological disease), strong lead, unique formatting (??). I NEED to read this book. Great review! 🙂
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Yes! If heartbreaking sicklit books are your type of thing, you will LOVE this. It was right up my alley as well and I absolutely loved it.
I don't know why I'm so SCARED of books that give me FEELS… I guess because it is too close to real life? I need to suck it up and quit being such a big baby, I guess? Don't worry, you can totally tell me. 😉
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HAHA I absolutely love books that make me feel all the feels! I don't understand why either 😀 I think sometimes I just need a release and books that make me ugly cry are just the best!
This sounds really good. I can't wait to get a free night to sit down and read this and just ugly cry
YES! This is perfect for an ugly cry. I love books that can make me feel so much and cause me to just let go of my tears 😀
TOTALLY agree with you, Jenna, on all counts! I was so scared when I didn't like Stuart that much too (but in hindsight, it was so well done!) and I also did NOT like Maddie. At all. Connor was great though, and I loved the family dynamic so much. I am tearing up just thinking about this book, and revisiting it while reading your review- it was so good, but GAH, the tears! Fabulous review, I am so glad you enjoyed it too!
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I get teary everytime I think about this book too!! The writing style captured the emotion of the book so well and gahhh I LOVE IT SO MUCH! I'll definitely be thinking about this one for a long time to come! I'm so, so happy that you really liked it too!
Wow, and you still gave it 5 stars. I guess the flaws were truly minor compared to the overall appeal of the book. That's awesome!
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Yeah, I thought the few issues I had with the book were really minor and I didn't really mind them that much. I just loved everything about the book and it made me feel so much!
I’ve heard nothing but great things about this one Jenna, and your review has just solidified my need to read it. It sounds absolutely fantastic and really emotional. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! ❤
Thanks Zoe <3 This one is as good as everyone says it is. I expected to like it but I had no idea I'd love it as much as I did! Definitely one that will stay with me for a really long time.
This book sounds heartbreaking! I have an ARC of this on my shelf and haven't read it yet, but it sounds like a real tearjerker. So glad that you enjoyed it!
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Omg I cried over this for soooo long. I absolutely loved it and I recommend picking it up and checking it out if you already own it! It was really beautifully written and I loved the main character, Sammie!
I've had my eye on this one, but I want to wait before shelving it. I can't resist a cry worthy contemporary either. Great review!
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This one caught my eye so many times in the bookstore that I just had to take it home one day. If you want something to cry over, this one will definitely keep you bawling for a few days 😀
I'm glad you loved this one, Jenna. Not gonna lie, it hasn't been receiving too many positive reviews so I've generally stayed away. It's worth a look-see at least. Sammie sounds like a great character despite her disease. I love characters who overcomes great struggles to find themselves.
I hadn't actually seen any reviews for this before I read it but it has a pretty high rating on Goodreads? I thought it was a really emotional and beautiful read so I highly recommend it. Sammie is a really sassy character who's kind of quirky and driven and I really, really liked her.