From What I Remember

From What I Remember

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From What I Remember
Author(s)
Genre(s)
Age Range
14+
Release Date
May 15, 2012
ISBN
9781423155089
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KYLIE: Mexico? What a nightmare! I should be putting the finishing touches on my valedictorian speech. Graduation is TODAY! Wait! Is this a wedding band on my finger??

MAX: It started with Kylie’s laptop and a truck full of stolen electronics and it ended in Ensenada. It was hot, the way she broke us out like some chick in an action movie. But now we’re stranded here, with less than twenty-four hours before graduation.

WILL: Saving Kylie Flores from herself is kind of a full-time occupation. Luckily, I, Will Bixby, was born for the job. And when I found out she was stuck in Mexico with dreamy Max Langston, sure, I agreed to bring their passports across the border – but there’s no reason to rush back home right away. This party is just getting started.

LILY: This cannot be happening. It’s like some cruel joke. Or a bad dream. I close my eyes and when I reopen them, they’re still there. Max and Kylie Flores, freak of the century. In bed together. If Kylie thinks I'm giving him up without a fight, she's dead wrong.

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3 reviews

Overall rating 
 
3.9
Plot 
 
4.3  (3)
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4.0  (3)
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
2.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0

For Those Who Thought The Hangover Should Be a Teen Book

Originally reviewed on A Reader of Fictions: http://readeroffictions.blogspot.com/2012/10/review-from-what-i-remember.html

You know what, I didn't like movie The Hangover. Just putting that out there. Obviously, From What I Remember... is the YA equivalent of The Hangover, yet I still really wanted to read it. Welcome to my crazy brain. Anyway, I held out hopes that a YA version would be less crude and disgusting, and, hurrah!, I was rewarded with a ridiculous, fun read. Oh, another plus? That chihuahua on the cover? In the book for like five seconds.

From What I Remember... opens in classic hangover comedy style on the morning after. Kylie Flores, responsible misanthrope, Valedictorian, awakens on the morning of graduation in Mexico, all snuggled up with the hottest guy in school, Max Langston. Oh, and they're both wearing wedding rings. Not only that, but his enraged girlfriend, Lily, just showed up. Then, of course, the story jumps back into the past two days, and we begin the process of discovering just how this situation came about. As hooks go, this one's effective, though it did make me seriously impatient.

Now, obviously, the plot of this book is utterly absurd, which is, I believe, kind of the point. I mean, it starts with Kylie and Max getting partnered up for a lame assignment on the second to last day of school. Yeah right. Then, there's the whole chasing a mugger and ending up in a truck full of stolen goods headed for Mexico and getting stuck across the border without passports thing. If you can't look past the impossibilities, the book will be a struggle. Just embrace the crazy and enjoy the crazy tableaux in front of you.

Kramer and Thomas chose to write this in multiple first person points of view, which, of course, can be your best friend or your worst enemy. In this case, I think the story would have been much stronger told in a different way, either from just Kylie's perspective or perhaps third person limited. I just didn't feel like any of the characters had strong enough personalities to pull it off. Characterization is not something this novel is about, and it shows. Kylie's narration is the strongest, and, thankfully, the most frequent.

The narration of the three characters that weren't Kylie or Max really bothered me. Lily is a witch. There's no getting past that. I kept expecting her to be redeemed in some way, and, sure, she does eventually show a glimmer of humanity, but she's really just a vain, selfish girl. Will, Kylie's gay best friend, should have been my favorite character; I love me some sassy gay friends. Unfortunately, I found him totally obnoxious, just so incredibly rude and over the top.

Worst of all, though, I'm sad to say, were the chapter's from Jake's perspective. Kylie's brother Jake has Asperger's and she has been very focused on his care, this crazy weekend her first chance to really cut loose. I have nothing against Jake, but he just didn't really belong in the narration, given that he wasn't part of the crazy Mexico adventure. His narration added nothing. My bet? His sections were added in an attempt to give the novel depth. Well, it didn't work. We all know what this book is for, and it's best to let it be. Every book doesn't need to be serious.

The relationships didn't hold true for me, either, as a result of the whole not feeling the characters difficulty. I did like the way Kylie and Will would communicate in movie quotes, but still didn't really feel their friendship. In both the friendships and the romantic relationships, it felt like everything relied on the narrators telling the reader how much Kylie and Will watch out for each other or how both Kylie and Max are falling in epic love in this one crazy day. Don't tell me; make me feel it.

What I did like were the themes of being yourself, going for what you want, and giving people a chance to surprise you. These aren't new themes, but I still appreciated their treatment here, particularly the latter, even if it was slightly heavy-handed. Pretty much everyone comes to realize through the course of their adventures that people have more to them than their social clique would suggest. Yeah, not mind-blowing, but, despite how much I know better than to pigeonhole people, I totally am still shocked to find that some people I'd marked down as assholes can turn out to be rather marvelous. Plus, sometimes we make our social isolation in high school without realizing it; I sure did, and I was totally blindsided by that revelation in college.

Listen, I know I sound hyper-critical, but this was a fun read. As much as I rolled my eyes, I was very much entertained. I do think it would have made a better movie, but it's got some laughs and lots of action. It's a bit long for the kind of book it is, but not a struggle to get through. If you love movies like The Hangover and Knocked Up, this book was written for you.

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Overall rating 
 
4.7
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What an Adventure

I was a huge fan of KARMA BITES so I was more than excited to read FROM WHAT I REMEMBER. What a roller coaster this book is, it reads so quick and light that I felt like I was watching a movie. Just when I thought what else could possibly happen, something does!

There is a lot going on in the book. The different points of view make it something special. While I loved Kylie, Will, and even Max...I really loved the bits thrown in from Jake, Kylie's brother. I think the portrayal of his character was right on.

This crazy trip to Mexico turns into quite the life experience for these High School Seniors. It is amazing what stress, anxiety, and even sadness can do to a person and how sometimes even young people need to UNLOAD. And boy, do they.

This book highlights the most loyal of friendships and the excitement of an unexpected romance. There are struggles, successes, confessions, and more. All in all, a great summer read!

Good Points
Does not paint a pretty picture of heavy drinking
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Overall rating 
 
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"The Hangover" for teens with a touch of "Will and Grace"

"Sometimes the best things in life begin as the worst ideas..."

This book made me laugh, cry and swoon; sometimes all at once.

Each chapter opens with a line from a movie which is awesome in and of itself. Kylie and Will are BFF"s and school outcasts, she being the high strung overachieving Valedictorian, and he the gay best friend whose always good for a laugh. (He's downright hysterical most of the time.)


Max and Lily, the school's "beautiful couple" are polar opposites of Kylie and Will and have their futures all laid out. (not to mention planned out for them) but all that's about to change. When Kylie and Max are forced to work together on a final Senior project, a split second decision thrusts them into the adventure of their lives, leaving them to question everything they thought they knew about life, love and each other.

After an insane 24 hours of drinking, carjacking a vehicle of stolen goods and running for their lives, they wake up in bed, donning matching wedding bands. Wait... WHAT?! They haven't even graduated yet?! To make matters worse, Kylie can't remember how she ended up in bed with Max or why he seems so happy about it. Don't they hate each other? The person who really doesn't seem happy is Lily, and she's just walked in the door. With only a few hours to spare before they walk across the stage and grab their diplomas, Kylie, Max, Will and Lily will have to make sense of the previous days' events without trying to kill each other first.

As with most stories, there's more to these characters than meets the eye. All are dealing with some pretty heavy issues like a parent dying of cancer, a sibling with Aspergers, homosexuality, broken families, and a parent whose a Bernie Madoff wannabe. They don't always make the best choices but their time spent in Mexico is what helps to give them some perspective into life outside of High School.

While in Mexico, Kylie uncovers some things about her family that have the potential to impact them in a big way and she must decide what to do with the information. Will learns, that while it's okay to be different, pushing it to the limit just to prove a point can have some pretty dangerous consequences. Max realizes that it's not just a waste to give up on a dream, it's also cowardly if you don't at least try. He also learns a few things about trust and love that made my heart break for him. *clutches chest* Lily discovers it's hard to hold onto something you never really had in the first place.

All four learn that people aren't always what they seem and you can miss out on something really great because you're too busy trying to get it all just right.

Good Points
Strong friendships, Swoony romance and hot kisses. Shows the after effects of a night of heavy drinking & blacking out. (not pretty)
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(Updated: December 19, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
4.7
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5.0
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5.0
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4.0

Great book!

At first I was a bit annoyed with the author for switching POVs so much. 3 is pretty much my limit for the POV switching, but this one had FIVE POVs!!! Five!! But it was an amazing book all the same, and I adored it. It didn't matter that there were so many POVs, and lots of clichéd moments, this book was a really really fun read but with lots of deep moments as well that just finished it off.

Kylie is a goody-two shoes. She follows the rules, even when there aren't any. She is kind of a social outcast, with her only real friend being Will, a gay guy who is into movies, like her.One day before the end of school, her laptop gets stolen, and she runs after it, accompanied by the completely hot yet infuriating Max. Unfortunately, they get stuck in the truck, and taken to Mexico. Stranded in Mexico, Kylie has got to get home, but they have no passports. So they call in Will, to pick them up. With a day to kill, they get to know each other better and Kylie discovers that Max isn't as bad as she though he'd be. Problem is he's already got a girlfriend...

I loved the characters. Kylie and Max were not without their flaws and problems, but they were very fun and interesting. They were on complete opposite sides of the social and personality spectrum, and had absolutely no interest in each other, but then they get to know each other better, and I think we can all guess what happens here.

The supportive characters were really great as well, there was so much depth to them, and since we got to view the world in their perspective, I don't think we can really call them supportive characters any more. They were never left on the side, and they each had their own moments in the story. Will was really fun and really cared about Kylie. Jake had Asperger's Syndrome, and so he had a completely different view of the world, and even though Lily was a complete bitch, being in her head was great as well.

The romance was perfectly thought out as well. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to write a great romantic buildup in the space of two days, but Kramer managed it very well. I loved how Kylie and Max's relationship built up and didn't just suddenly be there. Their romance was very cute and the chemistry between them was really great.

This book had it all, intriguing plot, fun characters, and I loved it. I definitely recommend it.

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Loved it!

When I started reading this book, I didn't like it. I found it boring and hated how the author kept switching between the different points-of-view, but I kept reading it. Before I knew it, I was halfway through the book and couldn't wait to find out what happened next. I ended up reading the entire book in one sitting, which rarely, if ever, happens with me anymore.

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Almost Love?

I kind of loved this book? I think?

Let's talk about our characters. I was really worried that so many points of view would make the story disjointed or weird, but it didn't really. Yes the story would've been perfectly fine with just Kylie and Max's perspective, but I liked hearing from Will and even Lily was interesting to read about. I really loved Kylie and Will and Max definitely grew on me. I understood Lily, but I still didn't particularly like her. I don't think we were supposed to. All four of these characters grew a lot from their experiences in the book and I loved seeing that.

The story itself had a lot of layers. Every single character had personal issues going on and the this happened to add to it. Their personal issues affected how each one of them acted and decided on things. Everything was necessary and tight and they were all interesting. Two of them were pretty different from the norm, one was kind of different, and one was fairly common but important. I really liked all the stories and it affected the main story. Nothing was simple, but nothing was unimportant either.

One aspect that would usually bother me is that Max technically cheated with Kylie. And to some extent, it did. But it also bothered Max and Kylie a lot. They weren't being totally thoughtless and when they were, it was usually because there was a lot of alcohol involved. I'm not saying that makes it right, but it didn't seem as horrible as it would've if they didn't feel bad and they weren't drinking. This also added to Lily's character. It gave me some more sympathy for her.

This story was also really well written. Each narrator had their own style so they weren't easy to mix up. They were subtle differences, but they were definitely there. And I was engaged from beginning to end. I didn't want to put it down whenever I was forced to for silly reasons like sleep.

But honestly guys, I really, really enjoyed this book. Maybe I loved it? It might be too soon to tell. I do know that this is a book I want to buy for my shelves and it's one you should all read.

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