Ten Books it Would Change My Life to Forget by, Anna Priemaza (The Forgotten Memories of Vera Glass), Plus Giveaway! (~US/CAN ONLY)
Today we're excited to share a guest post from Anna Priemaza, author of
The Forgotten Memories of Vera Glass!
Below you'll find more about Anna, her book, plus a giveaway!
Meet Anna Priemaza!
Anna Priemaza is the author of Fan the Fame and Kat and Meg Conquer the World. This is her first piece of speculative fiction. She lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
About The Forgotten Memories of Vera Glass!
A mind-bending YA novel about a world where everyone has a bit of magic in them—but some magic is being used to change the world in unspeakable waysVera has a nagging feeling that she’s forgetting something. Not her keys or her homework—something bigger. Or someone. When she discovers her best friend Riven is experiencing the same strange feeling, they set out on a mission to uncover what’s going on. Everyone in Vera's world has a special ability—a little bit of magic that helps them through the day. Perhaps someone’s ability is interfering with their memory? Or is something altering their very reality? Vera and Riven intend to fix it and get back whatever or whomever they’ve lost. But how do you find the truth when you can’t even remember what you’re looking for in the first place? The Forgotten Memories of Vera Glass is a cleverly constructed, heartbreaking, and compelling contemporary YA novel with a slight fantasy twist about memory, love, grief, and the invisible bonds that tie us to each other.
Ten Books it Would Change My Life to Forget
In my next YA book, THE FORGOTTEN MEMORIES OF VERA GLASS, which comes out November 16, 2021, things start disappearing from Vera’s life. And when they disappear, Vera forgets them; it’s as if they never existed. Some of these disappearances majorly change Vera’s life--you know, because of the good old butterfly effect and all that.
This got me thinking: what books have had a butterfly effect on my life? Are there books that, if they were erased from my life, would change who I am as a person? Of course, I have concluded, the answer is yes.
So, without further ado, here are ten books that, were they erased from my life and forgotten, would change who I am as a person:
- The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
When I was a kid, we had a cassette tape that had The Velveteen Rabbit read by Meryl Streep, combined with gorgeous piano music by George Winston. My mom would put it on for me whenever I was sick, and I now associate both that story and music with comfort and safety. I still put on the album for myself--on Spotify now, rather than on a cassette tape--when I’m sick or sad. Wherever I am, or whatever I’m doing, I only need to say to myself, “Once, there was a velveteen rabbit,” and my head tingles with warmth.
2. Matilda by Roald Dahl
I grew up in a tiny religious sect that no one has ever heard of, so I never saw anyone like me in any of the books I read. I was used to feeling abnormal, though, so I never expected to see myself in books. (I still haven’t seen child me in any book, though I hope to one day publish a book that changes that.) However, reading Matilda for the first time was the closest I ever felt to finding myself in a book. Here was a little girl who loved and devoured books as much as I did, and I loved her for it.
3. From Anna by Jean Little
Jean Little is a beloved Canadian author. I devoured her books as a kid and was heartbroken when she died in 2020. I loved all her books, but this one was a particular favourite and extremely special to child me because it had my name in the title.
From Anna is about a young girl whose family all thinks she’s somewhat hopeless and inept. Turns out, she simply has an undiagnosed severe vision impairment, and the book’s theme was all about both Anna and her family discovering and properly appreciating her impressive strengths in other areas. The book had good lessons on its own; combined with knowing that Jean Little herself was partially blind and that hadn’t stopped her from writing so many of my favourite books, I had concrete proof of the truth of a belief that has shaped my life: disability does not have to be an obstacle to success.
4. Awake and Dreaming by Kit Pearson
Kit Pearson is another beloved Canadian children’s author whose books I adored. In Awake and Dreaming, a young girl in a miserable life meets a “perfect” family and gets swept into their perfect lives. Then time rewinds and she meets them again and they are, in reality, disappointingly imperfect. And yet, she discovers over time, still incredibly loveable. I remember, as a preteen, feeling the truth of both those things in my core: people are imperfect; people are loveable.
5. The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman (book 2 of the His Dark Materials trilogy)
All I really have to say about this one is that I wanted a knife that could slice a door into other worlds so badly that even though I remember almost nothing about this book’s plot, I still feel an ache for that knife deep in my gut.
6. Little Toby and the Big Hair by Kim Fernandes
Throughout my entire childhood, my hair was straight. When I went through puberty, it theoretically went curly--except I had no idea that’s what was happening, so I kept brushing it and shampooing it and all those things you do with straight hair but NOT with curly hair. As a result, in my teens, my unknowingly curly hair was still straight and very very very big.
I discovered this gorgeous picture book about a little girl who journeys from hating to loving her enormous hair when I was a teen and going through that exact same journey myself. I’ve never related so hard to a picture book in my life.
7. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
The English translation of Les Miserables was the first book of “classic literature” that I chose to read entirely on my own. Since I was a kid, it’s been an unwritten rule that if my brother or sister starts to randomly sing a song from Les Miserables, I must join in at top volume. As a result, reading this voluminous book (and taking it with me everywhere) for three months in ninth grade was a magical experience that I still remember vividly--especially the time I got so upset about Fantine’s boyfriend leaving her that I threw the entire book across the bathroom.
8. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
At a time when it seemed like every book was about love, I was so grateful to read a book primarily about friendship, which has been such a tremendous force in my life. The first four Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books are the foundation of my love of young adult contemporary literature.
9. Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali
As I mentioned above, I was raised in a tiny Christian sect that no one has ever heard of. Although I’m not a part of it any more, my faith and religion have always been extremely important to me.
When I read Saints and Misfits a handful of years ago, I was surprised to discover how deeply I related to the Muslim main character’s faith; I felt a sameness with her that I had, to that point, never felt with any book character ever, including Christian ones. I would like to believe that I have been a fairly open-minded, compassionate, accepting person throughout all of my adulthood. But reading Saints and Misfits introduced me to commonalities I hadn’t previously known existed… and also made me realise that I always have more learning to do.
10. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
A lot of these entries are about books that made me feel seen and heard, and Fangirl is no exception. I vividly remember the scene where anxious main character Cath went dashing across her university campus in the dark, holding her phone such that she’d be ready to call for help in an instant. And I remember thinking, with excitement and relief, “It’s meeeeeeeeeeeeeee.” When a reader tells me they had that feeling reading one of my books, it always melts my heart because I know how powerful that reading moment is.
Author: Anna Priemaza
Publisher: Amulet Books
Release Date: November 16, 2021
Genre: YA Fantasy
Age Range: 12 and up
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