As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive. No, we're not a bunch of literary
pushovers who love everything we pick up; we just see no point in telling you about a book if we didn't like it.

May 3, 2011

MEMENTO NORA by Angie Smibert, 2011

Memento NoraIn the future, it doesn't pay to remember. In Nora's world you don't have to put up with nightmares. Nora goes with her mother to TFC--a Therapeutic Forgetting Clinic. There, she can describe her horrible memory and take the pill that will erase it. But at TFC, a chance encounter with a mysterious guy changes Nora's life. She doesn't take the pill. And when Nora learns the memory her mother has chosen to forget, she realizes that someone needs to remember. With newfound friends Micah and Winter, Nora makes a comic book of their memories called Memento. It's an instant hit, but it sets off a dangerous chain of events. (Amazon)

Review by Emily Sonderegger, Book Addict

When I first heard about this book, I was intrigued. There have been so many dystopian books published lately, and I wondered if this one would take things in a similar direction as the recent additions.

Nope. I was wrong. Flat out wrong. I finished this book in a couple of hours, couldn't put it down, and ended up with a big old WHHHAAAAAATTTTTTT going through my brain.

Here's the story, in brief: in Nora's society, terrorism is commonplace. Bombings are at least a weekly occurrence and people are dying all over. A wack-job group called The Coalition claims responsibility for the bombings. The citizens are so freaked out that they take special pills to 'forget' certain memories. They live their lives in a 'glossy' state, knowing that they can always take a pill to forget what they don't want to remember. They'll just go on extra-special shopping trips to make up for it all. Sounds perfect, right? No unwanted memories and lots of shopping? Read on, my friend.

Nora witnesses a bombing one day, and a body falls to the ground right at her feet. Prime candidate for forgetting, right? Nora's mom takes her to the TFC to get her first forget pill. While there, Nora makes eye contact with a boy from school just leaving. He sticks his tongue out, and the pill is there. He trashes it and mouths 'remember' to her. Nora is intrigued. She goes through the forget doctor's rhetoric and makes the decision to trash her pill as well. What follows? Well, you'll have to read the book. And you should. You definitely should.

Here's the thing: I was terrified throughout this book. It's not that there were horribly graphic things going on like in The Hunger Games. It's not like Nora didn't have a choice. It's not like the big bad wolf was breathing down her neck. In fact, it was what Angie Smibert DIDN'T say that scared me the most. This is a book where you can read between the lines from the get go and it's terrifying. You'll find yourself asking questions, and you may not like the answers you come up with. I know I didn't.

I thought I had things figured out. I didn't. I thought I had people pegged. I didn't. I thought there was NO way that this one character was involved. He/she was. Whaaaaaaaaaatttttt!? Mess with my brain!

See, I could see our society degenerating into this very kind of behavior reeeeaaaaalllly easily. And it scares me to death. It would be SO easy to fall prey to the hyped beauty of not having to remember certain things. There are definitely things in my life that I'd rather forget about. The question is, what's the ultimate price you pay for forgetting? Do I really want to know the answer to that? And the ending?! WHHHHHAAAAAAAAATTTTTTT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

The characters were STRONG. I could never make myself remember that they were young teens. They were mature beyond their years, which would be totally expected from living in the society they live in. At the same time, they were SO vulnerable and so fragile at times. There wasn't a single unimportant character in there. Some that seemed to just flit across the page came back later and played a role. I love when that happens.

Memento Nora was perfectly set to have a sequel, which I understand is in the works. I can't wait. I'll be preordering the minute it's available. (And keep in mind, this is Angie Smibert's debut novel. If the debut is this good, just wait for things to come. And I kind of feel like a fortune teller.)

This really is one of the best dystopian novels I've ever read. I highly recommend it, and I give it my 'Pick Me' rating.

You should order before you forget. And remember, "When in doubt, spit it out."

Market: Young Adult
Language: Moderate
Sensuality: Mild
Violence: Moderate
Mature Themes: death, deception, dystopian society

Book formats:

To learn more about the author, visit: Angie Smibert


Alix said...

Great review, it sounds a wonderful book and definitely one I need to read. I love books that make you think and mess with your head.

Anonymous said...

Awesome review, Emily! I can tell you loved this book! It sounds amazing, and I'll definitely add it to my To Read list. I haven't read a whole lot of dystopian lit, but it fascinates me because I do love thinking, "Could this happen to us in the future?" It sounds like this book will really get me thinking. Thanks again!