Review: Unremembered by Jessica Brody

unremembered

Publication Date: March 2013

Genre: Young Adult; Science Fiction

Source: Bought from my Library Book Store

Rating: 2/5 (though all of my reviews are honest, this is my first brutally-honest review, because of this it was hard to write this review without any spoilers, so beware…)

Synopsis:  “When Freedom Airlines flight 121 went down over the Pacific Ocean, no one ever expected to find survivors. Which is why the sixteen-year-old girl discovered floating among the wreckage—alive—is making headlines across the globe.
Even more strange is that her body is miraculously unharmed and she has no memories of boarding the plane. She has no memories of her life before the crash. She has no memories period. No one knows how she survived. No one knows why she wasn’t on the passenger manifest. And no one can explain why her DNA and fingerprints can’t be found in a single database in the world.
Crippled by a world she doesn’t know, plagued by abilities she doesn’t understand, and haunted by a looming threat she can’t remember, Seraphina struggles to piece together her forgotten past and discover who she really is. But with every clue only comes more questions. And she’s running out of time to answer them.
Her only hope is a strangely alluring boy who claims to know her from before the crash. Who claims they were in love. But can she really trust him? And will he be able to protect her from the people who have been making her forget?
From popular young adult author Jessica Brody comes a compelling and suspenseful new sci-fi series, set in a world where science knows no boundaries, memories are manipulated, and true love can never be forgotten.” (from Goodreads)

The Breakdown:*Sorry, spoilers below*

The Good:  Certain aspects of the future that Brody creates seem very possible a couple hundred years from now, in which scientists can remove certain memories and replace them with others that have been completely fabricated.  There have been medicines available for years now that target different areas of the brain, as well as surgeries that can be done on the brain as well for various issues that someone may have.  If all of these are accessible now, just imagine the possibilities for the future… it’s scary!

There were some awesome concepts thrown into this one.  I would love to be able to save my memories on a USB drive(then I could replay them to my boyfriend when we get into arguments, so I can say “look, you did say/do *whatever thing I want to use against him* lol).  This would be the best recording invention since Dave Chappelle’s Home Stenographer: http://www.comedycentral.com/video-clips/go8cre/chappelle-s-show-home-stenographer :P.

The Bad:  I didn’t find myself caring about the characters much at all.  Throughout the book we really don’t see much of Sera’s(the MC) personality besides the fact that she is persistent and can get very snippy sometimes.  Many of the characters were one dimensional.  Half way through this could have been a DNFer for me, because I didn’t care about what would happen to the characters, but I really, really wanted to like this book, so I trudged through it, hoping that I would like them more the farther along I went, but that didn’t work out too well for me.

The romance between Zen and Sera weren’t believable for me either.  How can you possibly fall in love with someone when you have no idea who they are the next day, seriously Sera? & Zen, he practically had to teach her about things that were so basic in his life.  Maybe this is just me, but I cannot imagine falling for someone when I have to explain mundane things to them every 5 minutes whenever I’m trying to have a conversation with them.  I really could go on and on about how this just doesn’t seem like a plausible relationship, but I just assumed Zen to be a horney teenage boy and Sera the clueless/beautiful/model-esque type girl.  It was an instalove for them, and that just didn’t work for me.  I really wanted a story that was more than just: I LOVE YOU! We MUST find a way to be together at any cost… (yeah, I did a lot of eye-rolling)

While I do like science fiction, I am extremely iffy when it comes to time travel, and I NEED to know when I am getting into it, so I can mentally prepare myself for the inevitable confusion!!! And the synopsis FAILED to inform me of this bit.  But I may be the only one with this issue, cause looking on Goodreads it does seem like a lot of people are liking this surprise, so I could just be biased.

Although the time travel was a surprise for me, a lot of the other story plots were not.  3/4 of the way through I could already predict what was going to happen, just like those Hallmark movies :/…

Final Thoughts: Unremembered was really not what I was expecting, and not in the good sense of the expression…  The concept of the story and the future that Sera lives in are a great idea, but I think they could have been carried out with more depth and vividness.  With all that being said, I won’t be picking up the rest of the series.

Muse with me: What was your very first memory?  If you could only hold on to one memory for the rest of your life what would it be?  If you’ve read this one, do you agree/disagree with my review?

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Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Publication Date: 2009

Genre: Young Adult

Source: Bought at Target

Synopsis:  “In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck…

A sophisticated, layered, and heart-achingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make, and the ultimate choice Mia commands.” (from Goodreads)

 

Ohhhh…  I absolutely adored this book! I actually read If I Stay before I started this blog, but its presence has been taking up residence in the back of my head ever since, so I figured I should talk my heart out on ze bloog.

The Breakdown:

Mrs. Forman does not hesitate to start off with a BANG, or in this case a CRASH!  This novel tore me apart, filled me with all kinds of “FEEEEELINGS”, then put me back together again.

The way the story is laid out is perfect, like a beautifully played song, it has a gripping melody and flow to it.  Forman is able to weave us back and forth from Mia’s present and past flawlessly, which only made me love it even more.  I am used to stories being told in chronological order and slowly learning about characters and having time to understand and get to know them, that initially I was worried that I wouldn’t care about them at all because of the funky backwards storytelling, but it is truly pulled off perfectly here (this is the best way I can explain it without spoiling its awesomeness!).  Even though the story is sad(I teared-up a few times), it is balanced with memories of great love and hope.

The characters are all so vibrant, their stories had me wishing I knew them in the real world, especially Mia’s witty parents. Though I may be biased here, I loved how she even included quirks of the different nurses, and how things ran in the hospital, it was realistic to me (this is coming from someone that graduated nursing school last year) and I think my nursing friends would agree.

Of my readings so far this year, If I Stay is definitely at the top of my favorites list, and I don’t think it’s going to be bumped down anytime soon.  Although I was disappointed in it’s sequel, Where She Went (review soon to come), this story is still a wonderful piece of art!

Muse with me: Hopefully you get the chance to check it out and let me know what you think =).  If you have read it already, who would make YOU stay?

Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

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Synopsis: “By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children. When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape–before her time runs out?Together with one of Linden’s servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom?”(from Goodreads)

The Breakdown:

Wow, did I pick a slightly difficult first book to review…

Wither is definitely one of the oddest/creepiest YA books I’ve ever read (and I know I don’t have much blogging cred to go by but trust me when I say that I have read my fair share of YA =))but I still had a great time going through Rhine’s journey, and I would definitely recommend this to others, but not without a few very small reservations.

Initially once I got into Wither I didn’t think that I would like it.  I mean it’s the 21st century and this story is supposed to be set in a dystopian future where girls are being scouted as brides, and none of them are physically fighting back, and everyone else is ok with it?  I was getting the feeling of a 1920’s China fused with the movie Taken, if you haven’t seen it it’s about a girl who get’s kidnapped by slave traders and is in the process of being sold to creeps that want virgins, and all the while this is happening her Dad is kicking major ass to try and find her, but I digress.  The plot took me some getting used to, but I was eventually sucked right into Rhine’s eerie little world.

I think what really brought me into the story were the complexities of the relationships and the descriptions of different aspects of the world that DeStefano builds.  The relationships between the characters are so far from any that we would find in everyday life: sister-wives, young husband-wife that were pretty much forced to marry, servants and masters, daughters-in-law and a father-in-law (who kidnapped them), and twins, but DeStefano finds a way for us (or me at least) to believe in each of them even at it’s most twisted (pg. 206 if you have the hardback copy, lol, I thought that scene was messed up in so many ways).  Each character has their distinct voice and drive. I especially love Rhine’s voice here: (Spoiler alert!: skip down to next paragraph to shield your see globes) “I smile charmingly, blush like his teasing makes me feel like a happy little daughter-in-law.  I want him to get blown away.  I want him to stand alone in the kitchen while knives and pans spin around in the hurricane winds and plates smash at his feet.  And then I want for the roof to be ripped away, and for him to be pulled up, getting smaller and smaller until he’s nothing.”(pg. 154) Her cool chick factor went up about 10 points after I read that!

The descriptions of certain parts of this world were so beautiful.  I think I love sweets way too much to not share this example of the detail and eloquence DeStefano has throughout Wither: “The dessert table is set up like a cityscape.  There’s a bio-dome cake that’s already been cut into.   There’s a wobbly gelatin swimming pool with chocolate chip concrete, a chocolate fountain.  Frosting flowers have been swiped, mutilated, and it’s like Dorothy’s Oz after someone has bitten into it.”(pg. 216)  I know it was probably not her intent, but after I read that, I really had the urge to go to a big party and raid the desserts! But there are very vivid virtual aspects to this world that I really enjoyed as well, and I love the dash of Gatsby she adds into the novel.

After my initial shock, I really did enjoy this book and maybe you will too! And  I look forward to picking up Fever and Sever soon.  And just throwing this out there, if this trilogy ever makes it to the big screen, one of the songs on the soundtrack HAS to be Now by Paramore (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G133kjKy91U) Every time I hear this I think of Rhine’s journey “…there’s a time and a place to die, but this ain’t it…”

Muse with me: What did you think of my very first review?!?! If you’ve read it, let me know what you thought! Agree? Disagree?