Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Reading on a Theme: Memories Erased, Stolen, and Stored

I've been excited about this post for a long time, ever since I realized there where five memory-related books coming out in almost as many months. Erased memories must be in the air right now. (I just saw Pixar's Inside Out, and it touches on lost memories as well.) I held off for a while on this post so that I could include Adam Silvera's More Happy Than Not, and I'm so glad I did. That book was worth the wait.

The Consequences of Spells:
When Ari's boyfriend Win dies, she goes to the local hekamist and purchases a memory spell. Just like that a year of memories with Win are gone. Like a fairy's blessing or a genie's granted wish, a hekamist's spell tends to twist into unforeseen and unpleasant consequences. The Cost of All Things, about six friends and one summer, almost feels like a case study on this slightly strange world. I loved how everyone's spells were twisted together with layers upon layers of complications--just as layered spells create amplified side-effects. Maggie Lehrman's debut deals with some serious issues--depression, untimely death, lies--in an original and beautifully crafted manner. The Cost of All Things is out May 12, 2015. Review copy from Edelweiss.

The Memory Thief:
Gena is a Mementi, one of a small segment of the population that stores its memories in beads. The Mementi have an uneasy coexistence with the rest of the members of their society. When someone starts stealing memories the whole town might could very well go up in flames. Gena may have the key to solving the mystery, if only she could remember it. Shallee McArthur's debut is kind of a science fiction thriller, with the main characters racing to uncover the criminal. Deeper themes of prejudice, scientific morality, remembering and forgetting, friendship, family, and loyalty, and what gives an individual his or her identity are all carefully balanced with the fast-paced plot. I love the title and how it fits in with the story. The Unhappening of Genesis Lee was out on November 18th, 2014. Review copy from Edelweiss. 

Memories Forgotten and Remembered:
Harper's father invented Memtex, a medical procedure that can "soften" distressing memories. Originally pioneered for sufferers of PTSD, Memtex is now available to the general public. When Harper's horse dies she plunges into a deep depression, and she goes against her father's wishes to cure herself with Memtex. After the procedure Harper does feel better, but she has some new and confusing memories that make her question everything she knows about her family. Remember reminded me a little of Cat Patrick's books, and that is definitely a compliment. I definitely wanted to know what was behind all the strange secrets in Eileen Cook's story. Remember was out February 24th, 2015. Review copy from Edelweiss.

Memory Storage Broken:
Lora's memory key is broken. She keeps seeing memories as if she were still there. In these memories, she discovers there is more to her mom's death than she realized. Lora wants to solve the mystery, but will she be able to before the memory key does permanent damage to her mind and her friendships? Liana Liu has created an interesting mystery in The Memory Key, and I enjoyed trying to work out who was responsible. I also found the memory key itself to be very interesting. It brought up great questions: would it be good to be able to store all of our memories? And what are the consequences of doing so? The Memory Key was out March 3rd, 2015. Review copy from Edelweiss.

In Search of Happiness:
Aaron Soto lives in the Bronx. Life has been even rougher than usual since his father's suicide, but it seems to be getting better thanks to Aaron's great girlfriend and new best friend. Thomas and Aaron's deepening friendship creates tension between Aaron and Genevieve and Aaron and his old friends. As things sour, Aaron starts to think that the Leteo Institute's memory-alteration procedure is the only way that he'll be able to get his happy ending. This book just got better and better with every page. I knew More Happy Than Not was about a gay teenager who would consider a memory procedure in order to alter his sexuality, but, in the end, it was so much richer than I expected. What an impressive and gutsy debut by Adam Silvera.

The Cost of All Things, The Unhappening of Genesis Lee, Remember, and More Happy Than Not reviewed by JoLee.
The Memory Key reviewed by Paige.

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