The Hidden Memory of Objects
Megan Brown’s brother, Tyler, is dead, but the cops are killing him all over again. They say he died of a drug overdose, potentially suicide—something Megan cannot accept. Determined to figure out what happened in the months before Tyler’s death, Megan turns to the things he left behind. After all, she understands the stories objects can tell—at fifteen, she is a gifted collage artist with a flair for creating found-object pieces. However, Megan now realizes that her artistic talent has developed into something more: she can see memories attached to some of Tyler’s belongings—and those memories reveal a brother she never knew.
Enlisting the help of an artifact detective who shares her ability and specializes in murderabilia—objects tainted by violence or the deaths of their owners—Megan finds herself drawn into a world of painful personal and national memories. Along with a trusted classmate and her brother's charming friend, she chases down the troubling truth about Tyler across Washington, DC, while reclaiming her own stifled identity with a vengeance.
High Concept, Ultimately Lackluster
When Tyler Brown dies, his younger sister Megan is devastated. The police insist that it was a suicide by drug overdose, but this just doesn't jive with what Megan knows of her brother. She realizes that by touching items that belong to Tyler, she can see his memories, and so she begins to piece together what happened to him.
I had no idea that there was a "magical" element to this novel when I started reading it, but while an interesting concept, it was hard to reconcile with the murder mystery that unfolded. I wanted to know more about how Megan's ability works, and why it was specifically triggered (or was it?) by Tyler's death.
Megan is a passable lead character, but there isn't much that makes her memorable. She's a determined teenager, and resourceful, as well as creative, but she does blend into the sea of YA protagonists that are much the same. The adults around her are similarly tolerable, but not as perceptive as one might hope.
I enjoyed the historical touches and backstories within the novel--they gave it a poignancy and connection to real life that helped to make the story more engaging.
The Hidden Memory of Objects
Megan Brown is devastated after the death of her popular older brother Tyler. Worse though is the fact that he died of a drug overdose. Megan is determined to find the truth. In the meantime she finds that she has an ability to see past memories while holding objects. While handing something of Tyler's she witnesses glimpses of his past that lead her find out what really happened that fateful night.
What worked: Intriguing concept of someone who can see past memories while holding objects tainted by violence or death. Readers are able to see and feel what happens whenever Megan touches these items. These images are vivid and powerfully written. What's painful for Megan though is holding her dead brother's objects and witnessing a truth about him that is hard to accept but one that she knows she has to follow through on.
The strength of this novel has to be the whole idea of murderabilia and the ability to sees glimpses into the past. Plus, the whole Abraham Lincoln artifacts backdrop is very interesting. Add suspense and mystery and you have one page turning story.
The pacing at times had a tendency to be slow. I wanted to know about Megan's abilities and why they just seemed to happen. The relationship between her and Nathan-one of her older brother's friends-felt rushed. I admit I really liked the chemistry between her and Eric, a classmate. I kind of hoped that they'd get together.
Suspenseful ride through the streets of Washington, DC where the ability to see the past through the objects of dead people might be the way to solve a personal mystery. Historical background on Abraham Lincoln add to this tale.