Reading level: Young Adult
ARC: 302 pages
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, & Girouz (BYR)
Release date: March 5, 2013
Series: Unremembered #1
Reviewed by: Lili
The only thing worse than forgetting her past... is remembering it.
When Freedom Airlines flight 121 went down over the Pacific Ocean, no one ever expected to find survivors. Which is why the sixteen-year-old girl discovered floating among the wreckage—alive—is making headlines across the globe.
Even more strange is that her body is miraculously unharmed and she has no memories of boarding the plane. She has no memories of her life before the crash. She has no memories period. No one knows how she survived. No one knows why she wasn’t on the passenger manifest. And no one can explain why her DNA and fingerprints can’t be found in a single database in the world.
Crippled by a world she doesn’t know, plagued by abilities she doesn’t understand, and haunted by a looming threat she can’t remember, Seraphina struggles to piece together her forgotten past and discover who she really is. But with every clue only comes more questions. And she’s running out of time to answer them.
Her only hope is a strangely alluring boy who claims to know her from before the crash. Who claims they were in love. But can she really trust him? And will he be able to protect her from the people who have been making her forget?
From popular young adult author, Jessica Brody comes a mesmerizing and suspenseful new series, set in a world where science knows no boundaries, memories are manipulated, and true love can never be forgotten.
It is very hard for me to put my thoughts regarding UNREMEMBERED into words. I was very much looking forward to this book after reading Brody’s 52 REASONS TO HATE MY FATHER. So, when I was able to trade for this one you can easily imagine my excitement. However, I was still somewhat apprehensive about diving into this book because it explores a concept that has been done many times before in young adult literature. As impressive as a story evolving around an amnesiac main character can be when done well, it can be incredibly disappointing when executed improperly. Unfortunately, this is one of those cases where the overall story is disappointing.
What this book reminds me of is a cross between EVE & ADAM by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate and LEVEL 2 by Lenore Appelhans. Admittedly, I struggled with both of the aforementioned books as well. If you take the concept of a perfect human being and all the implications surrounding it and the question of what exactly makes people human from EVE & ADAM and combine it with an amnesiac character struggling against her mind-controlling captors while gaining her memories back all too quickly and unrealistically with the help of a boy from her past from LEVEL 2, you have this book. Again, at least it feels that way to me. Add in an oddly important Shakespearean sonnet, the repeated question as to what exactly classifies an organism as human, and a little foster brother that keeps getting in trouble for taking you on wild adventures and you have the equation that makes up UNREMEMBERED.
Violet was found as the only survivor of a plane crash floating in the ocean completely unharmed with no recollection as to how she got there, thus igniting a media firestorm. Whenever her picture showed up on the news or the Internet with a location linked to it, a mysterious boy who refers to himself as Zen shows up wanting to help her, just as evil guys dressed head to toe in black give chase. This starts a huge domino effect starting with Violet trying to uncover her lost memories and ending with way more than she bargained for. All in all, a really fascinating concept that fell flat due to lack of sufficient details and constant frustration with Violet on my part. It’s all to convenient that while she can’t remember her own memories and her own hints to herself, she can remember to speak pretty much any language in the world without realizing it, how to execute awesome self-defense moves, and literally the definition of every word. I am not kidding you, she’s referred to as a walking dictionary several times in the book and I couldn’t say it any better myself. The idea of an amnesiac perfect human being was cliché in all aspects of her creation and her lack of understanding of simple terms and food was not entertaining the way it was intended to be. Apparently, grilled cheese is a delicacy in the eyes of the “hot and insanely smart amnesiac supermodel” that can prove unproved scientific theories. Excuse me for my ranting, but all of this frustrated me because everything was so perfect. There was no imperfections, which made the entire tale seem fake to me.
All in all, I recommend this book to readers new to the scientific genre. It makes you question what, exactly, makes us humans? If someone has to replace all their limbs with prosthetics are they still human? Take it one step further, what about their organs? It gets you thinking along those lines and will satisfy those who have yet to read the best books this genre has to offer. However, its flaws will radiate to common science fiction readers like myself. I don’t think this book needs to expand into an entire trilogy because the ending is fine and book one did not leave me desperately wanting more. So, while this book wasn’t for me, I urge those looking for a fast read to pick it up. Despite all of my qualms, I got through this book in about two hours because it was paced well enough for me to keep on going. That, in itself, does express that there is some potential to this tale, it just wasn’t for me. I was left with too many questions and not enough answers.