The Memory Book by Lara Avery
Published July 26, 2016 by Hachette
Source: the publisher
Rating: 5 stars
From the blurb: 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 Sam discovers that a rare disease is going to take away her memory, the future she'd planned so perfectly is derailed before its started.Realising that her life won't wait to be lived, Sam sets out on a summer of firsts.The first party. The first rebellion. The first friendship. The last love.
The Memory Book is my first book by Lara Avery, and it won't be my last. This story sounded intriguing, but I wasn't expecting just how much I'd feel for main character, Sam. I'd also read Forgetting Foster earlier the same week, another heartbreaking book about memory loss.
Eighteen year old Sammie McCoy lives in South Strafford, Vermont. She knew she wanted to go to Hanover High in a neighbouring town, and she fought her way in. Since then she's been planning her future - debate team, win nationals, become valedictorian, go to NYU. What she didn't include in her plan was to get sidetracked by a diagnosis of Niemann Pick Type C, a hereditary disease that is fatal. Sammie is an optimist and she resolves not to let that diagnosis take over her life.
I adored Sam from the beginning. She's not a girl with many friends as she's a little introverted and she's not a fan of small talk. But she has a best friend in her debate partner, Maddie, and she spends time taking care of her younger siblings, Harrison, Bette, and Davy. She's a focused and driven girl, she reads and studies a lot, and her passion was admirable.
Not long after the diagnosis, two boys reenter her life. The first is her crush, Stuart Shah, he's returned from New York and they reconnect. The other is her neighbour and former best friend, Cooper Lind. She and Cooper drifted apart years ago and Sam's never been sure why. It was so sweet to watch Coop and Same redevelop their friendship and reminisce over their shared memories.
The concept for this book was clever, Sam starts a memory book in the form of a document on her laptop. This was engaging and unique, it also allowed for others to occasionally add to it, and it meant to she could take it with her, so that when she did start to forget, she could refer to it.
The Memory Book is a beautiful and heartbreaking story, featuring wonderful characters that will stay with you long after you've finished reading.
Thank you to Hachette for my review copy.