‘The Memory Book’ – Lara Avery

The Memory Book

Sammie is a girl with a plan – valedictorian, on the class debate team, determined to go to NYU – but sometimes the best-laid plans just don’t work out. Often it’s through something we have done – but in Sammie’s case it is because she is diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder that she is told will slowly steal her memories.

Dementia/the loss of memories has to be one of the cruellest illnesses I can imagine as you lose your sense of identity and what makes you who you are. This is cruel at any time, but particularly for a young girl on the cusp of independence.

Sammie is determined to not give in without a fight…and so her memory book is born, where she writes notes to her future self about all the things that are happening to her. In turns funny, but often sad, this was an interesting technique to help us see the character develop.

Initially I found the book  little slow, but as we watch Sammie and her family trying to adjust to living with this condition it was quite heartbreaking. The obligatory first romance with her childhood crush, Stuart, was not all that appealing to me РI was far more invested in the developing relationship between Sammie and her childhood best friend, Cooper.

Like some of the other books that explore teen illness I guess there is no happy ending here. I’m quite relieved that Avery chose to leave us with Sammie in the best place she could be at that time, before it all got too miserable. I know there are people who like their books to be realistic, but in this case I was more than happy to be left wondering what might happen next.

Thanks to publishers Hachette and NetGalley for the chance to read an advance copy of this.