Forget Me Not / Alyson Derrick / Book Review

Stevie and Nora had big plans--plans to escape their small town and finally live out in the open. To be free. Wyatt isn't the place to have the kind of relationship they do. They have to be a secret. They're tired of it.

Then Stevie has a fall. Stevie has a head injury, and now Stevie doesn't remember any of it. 

Not the once-in-a-lifetime romance. Not the years of history. Not the plan to escape their lives here for good. 

When Stevie wakes up, she remembers nothing of the last two years of her life: not Nora, not coming to terms with her sexuality, not falling out with her friends and making plans to see the world. Suddenly, her life is different, off kilter, and she doesn't know why. Stevie just wants everything to go back to the way she remembers it, wants to set herself back on the path her fifteen-year-old self always envisioned.

A path without Nora. 



Thoughts

The plot itself might not be terribly unique, but the characters make this book a masterpiece. Stevie and Nora's story is so full of longing and necessary secrets that it is hard to read--in a good way. 

Pros

  • Small Town Bigotry: Though this will also come up in the "cons" down below, I think the rendering of this small town life is excellent. Though the biases and bigotry are difficult to read, they are also unfortunately realistic. Not always ill-meaning, these remarks can be cutting nonetheless. For two girls growing up "different" in an insular community, it can be hard to escape the critical gaze, the snide remarks, and the judgements. And this adds an unfortunately very real component to Stevie and Nora's relationship. 
  • Cute Couple: As I said above, the characters are absolutely what make this book special, and the central couple is most important of all. Stevie and Nora are great together. They feed off each other, banter and chemistry and friendship underpinning their relationship on every level. It is devastating to see this relationship wrenched apart, but it is also satisfying to go along with the journey as they learn each other all over again. 
  • Ryan: Ryan isn't a small town guy, but he is a guy suddenly finding himself in a small town. And as Stevie is (re)figuring herself out, he's there for the ride--even when the ride means that his own expectations have to be set aside. Ryan is an outsider, and as such, he is a calming presence, a refuge for the central couple. In other words, he is the best small-town ally. 

Cons

  • Small Town Bigotry: It has its pros and it has its cons. This book is laced with bigotry, prejudice, homophobia, misogyny: all small-town American woes that are (unfortunately) all too familiar and real. For this reason, this book isn't a comfortable read. It can be hard to read. It can be frustrating to read, and it will be the type of read that many will want to avoid. If you read for escapism, a much-needed break from harsh realities, this might not be the book for you. 
  • Amnesia: I love these characters. I love how they develop (and subsequently redevelop). These characters make this book. The plot itself doesn't, because the plot itself is fairly stereotypical. It's an amnesia plotline like many before. If you're looking for a new, fresh take on amnesia, you won't get it here. If you particularly hate amnesia plots, this book isn't likely for you. The characters more than make up for the stereotypical plot, but it still bears repeating: nothing new here. 
  • Ending: I don't like to spoil things in my reviews, and so there will be no spoilers here. But I will say that the ending felt a bit too... neat, I guess. There were so many loose ends, ends left dangling in a way that felt realistic. But these loose ends were almost all tied up right at the end. It felt too clean. I think this is a story that deserves ragged edges more than anything else, and I was disappointed when it all came together so well. Which isn't my usual critique, but hey, there's a time for everything. 

Rating

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
9/10

Fans of Gayle Forman's If I Stay will enjoy this introspective look at a complicated interpersonal reality. Fans of Kevin Christopher Snipes's Milo and Marcos at the End of the World will love this new couple up against apocalyptic odds. 

Details

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Date: April 4, 2023
Series: N/A
Add to Goodreads
Buy It HERE

Note: I was provided with an ARC by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own.

Comments

  1. I haven’t heard of this before. I like that you have shared a really honest review with sharing your cons. Thank you!

    Lauren - bournemouthgirl

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  2. This honestly sounds really interesting. I've only read Derrick's writing in conjunction with her wife, Rachael Lippincott, but never her solo work. I'll have to pick this up in the future!

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  3. What a lovely review! I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it, especially the character development.

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  4. While not a genre I would read, I enjoyed your great review!

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  5. This sounds great and definitely the sort of book I'd want to read!

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  6. Thanks for sharing your book review. It sounds like a great one!

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  7. I haven't heard of this book before, but it does sound interesting even though the plot has been done before. Also, that's good to see you rated it highly.

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  8. Amnesia always makes for an interesting plot - glad to hear you enjoyed the book, even if it was a little too pat at the end :)

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