Featured Review: The Memory Book by Lara Avery



About this book:


They tell me that my memory will never be the same, that I’ll start forgetting things. At first just a little, and then a lot. So I’m writing to remember. Sammie McCoy is a girl with a plan: graduate at the top of her class and get out of her small town as soon as possible. Nothing will stand in her way–not even the rare genetic disorder the doctors say will slowly steal her memories and then her health. So the memory book is born: a journal written to Sammie’s future self, so she can remember everything from where she stashed her study guides to just how great it feels to have a best friend again. It’s where she’ll record every perfect detail of her first date with longtime-crush Stuart, a gifted young writer home for the summer. And where she’ll admit how much she’s missed her childhood friend Cooper, and the ridiculous lengths he will go to make her laugh. The memory book will ensure Sammie never forgets the most important parts of her life–the people who have broken her heart, those who have mended it–and most of all, that if she’s going to die, she’s going to die living. This moving and remarkable novel introduces an inspiring character you’re sure to remember, long after the last page.



*Review contributed by Kristie Lowry, Staff Reviewer*

A Book You Won’t Forget

Sammie McCoy is a high school senior who is going places. She made a plan for herself as she started high school, and she has followed her dreams with unwavering focus. Sammie has managed to check off a lot of the items on her lifetime to-do list, and though she has many more things to accomplish, her path seems clear with few, if any, obstructions. When she finds out that she has a rare disease that will destroy her memory and her body, Sammie decides that’s no reason to give up her dreams. When considering her prognosis, Sammie worries most about losing her memory, and so begins THE MEMORY BOOK by Lara Avery. In the novel Sammie’s plan is to record everything she thinks is important in her computer, and the result will be a reminder to her future self of All Things Samantha McCoy—it will serve as reference material for Future Sam when she begins to lose herself.



I was enthralled by this book. Sammie is really weird and socially awkward and self absorbed – but she’s also funny, smart, and interesting, and her attempts to plan her way out of a terminal diagnosis are heart wrenching but so very understandable. The detailing of Sammie’s relationships with her debate partner, Maddie, with her high school crush, Stuart, and with her neighbor and childhood best friend, Cooper, are the best parts of THE MEMORY BOOK. Unfortunately Sammie’s family is background noise, though her parents and siblings shine when they’re brought forward and get entries of their own in Sammie’s story. Though I wish they’d had more of a place in the book, the narrative is Sammie’s, and their place in the book’s world is true to a teenager’s perspective even though my glimpses of them left me wanting more—in part because they could provide additional insight into Sammie.


Sure, there are a lot of books out there about dead or dying teenagers, but Sammie’s voice makes THE MEMORY BOOK stand out. Despite the fact that the book is definitely about a teen with a terminal disease, it’s hard to think of this as a story about a girl preparing for death. Instead, it’s a book about a young woman who is hanging on to hope and learning to live and love in the present when she had previously been far too focused on the future.



*You can find this review HERE!*