‘The Memory Book’ by Lara Avery

/5 stars

Published by Hachette!

An almost national championship winning debater, heading straight for her valedictorian speech and a place at NYU, Sam McCoy has been anticipating her senior year of high school for a long time; mapping it out meticulously bit by bit. But then NPC happens. Nieman-Pick Type-C, otherwise known as Childhood Alzheimer’s, doesn’t usually affect kids Sam’s age, though. So she sets out to defy the odds, to prove she can live a normal life and check off all the things she’s always wanted to do. Beginning her memory book, Sam documents her life for Future Sam, bringing a collection of bigger and smaller moments, like the summer Stuart Shah finally notices her and an old friendship is rekindled, together.

This book hurt. Like a lot. It is very much the kind of book that lulls you into a false sense of security with Sam’s peppy, go-lucky narrative and all these big, grand dreams ahead of her. That isn’t to say it was contrived though, amped up to make the fall that much more painful. It was simple and honest, depicting Sam as a passionate seventeen-year-old who’s driven nature has landed her endless possibilities. And then one cruel twist of fate threatens to snatch them all away.

The downward spiral and how the characters all dealt with it was so well done and added to the absolute tragedy of it all. All the characters were so vivid and important in their own right. From her partner-in-debate/actual friend Maddie, with her dyed, buzzcut sides to Cooper, who ends up swarming you with how rapidly you cling to him and the kind of guy he turns out to be. Stuart, who is most certainly that guy you’ve fantasised about and put all your unrealistic romantic hopes and dreams into. Her parents, who are definitely the coolest and her siblings, just completely fantastic and unique and not altogether of this world.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a pleasant surprise with no expectations going in and I didn’t expect to love the characters as much as I did. The use of language to portray the different stages of Sam’s journey through her disease was also exceptional and heartbreaking. A really fabulous patchwork of a book.

Currently listening to #2

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