Review: The Memory Book

Posted February 13, 2017

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Memory Book The Memory Book by Lara Avery
on 26th January 2017
Genres: YA
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher

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 Sammie discovers that a rare disease is going to take away her memory, the future she'd planned so perfectly is derailed before it’s started. What she needs is a new plan.

So the Memory Book is born: Sammie’s notes to her future self, a document of moments great and small. Realising that her life won't wait to be lived, she sets out on a summer of firsts: The first party; The first rebellion; The first friendship; The last love.

Through a mix of heartfelt journal entries, mementos, and guest posts from friends and family, readers will fall in love with Sammie, a brave and remarkable girl who learns to live and love life fully, even though it's not the life she planned.

Sammie is an intelligent teenage girl who lives with her family in a small town, excels in debating and has secured herself a spot at NYU. Sadly, she has also recently been diagnosed with Niemenn-Pick Type C. It’s like dementia, so she will lose memories and her body will shut down. NPC is always fatal.

In a bid to keep a hold of herself for as long as possible, Sammie starts writing a memory book, and this is exactly what we are reading.

Oh, this book! I’m not ashamed to say I had tears rolling down my cheeks as I closed the back cover. While, yes, the subject matter is serious and at times my heart just ached, this is (perhaps somewhat surprisingly) not a depressing read. Avery has struck an excellent balance in this novel. It’s not just about NPC, it’s about teenage life, facing the future and how to cope when that future isn’t what you’d hoped it would be.

I really liked Sammie. Reading her ‘memory book’ means we see inside her mind – on good days and bad. We are taken along with Sammie on her journey. I loved Sammie’s book-loving nature, her references to Middle Earth and generally her love of knowledge.

I truly felt that I learned a lot from this novel, not only in terms of NPC (which I had never heard of before) but also in Sammie’s handling of her disease.

Then, of course, there are boys, parties, national debates, exams, and all of those other things that happen during life at High School. Oh and a love of chocolate milkshakes!

This is a very well-written, thought-provoking read. Its structure makes it hard to put down – just one more chapter!