Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Forget You by Jennifer Echols

Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: MTV; Original edition (July 20, 2010)

Book summary: WHY CAN’T YOU CHOOSE WHAT YOU FORGET . . . AND WHAT YOU REMEMBER? There’s a lot Zoey would like to forget. Like how her father has knocked up his twenty-four- year old girlfriend. Like Zoey’s fear that the whole town will find out about her mom’s nervous breakdown. Like darkly handsome bad boy Doug taunting her at school. Feeling like her life is about to become a complete mess, Zoey fights back the only way she knows how, using her famous attention to detail to make sure she’s the perfect daughter, the perfect student, and the perfect girlfriend to ultra-popular football player Brandon. But then Zoey is in a car crash, and the next day there’s one thing she can’t remember at all—the entire night before. Did she go parking with Brandon, like she planned? And if so, why does it seem like Brandon is avoiding her? And why is Doug—of all people— suddenly acting as if something significant happened between the two of them? Zoey dimly remembers Doug pulling her from the wreck, but he keeps referring to what happened that night as if it was more, and it terrifies Zoey to admit how much is a blank to her. Controlled, meticulous Zoey is quickly losing her grip on the all-important details of her life—a life that seems strangely empty of Brandon, and strangely full of Doug. 

My review: I loved, loved, loved Echols' Going Too Far and approached her latest novel with the same expectations. Unfortunately, there was no love fest this time. I liked Forget You. Some things about the story didn't click for me. I had a hard time connecting with the main character, Zoey. 
There wasn't that 'instant connection' I felt with Meg from Going Too FarI also had a hard time understanding Zoey's treatment of Doug and Brandon. If you're friends with a guy and know he's a big time player, are you going to actually start dating him? That angle didn't convince me and Zoey's amnesia storyline, though it sounded great in the 
summary, didn't jive with me.

Despite these shortcomings, there is one obvious fact: Echols is a terrific writer and it's her crazy talent to create intense scenes and interactions which kept me turning pages. Echols also writes some of the best love and relationship scenes in contemporary YA. When Doug pulls Zoey from the car, the morning after the accident when he visits her at her home, and the back seat they share on the bus ride to a swim meet--these were such compelling scenes, 

dripping with emotion and feeling. Echols makes their budding romance touching and realistic.

The author also employs setting and scenery so richly some part becomes a character in the story. Here it's the ocean, brimming with symbolism for Zoey's life. In
Going Too Far it was the train tracks where Meg and John meet (and it's a testament to Echols' writing that those scenes were so memorable I immediately think of them).

I will always read anything Echols writes. Forget You may have begun bumpy for me but once Zoey and Doug's interactions intensified, I was sucked into waiting and wanting to see what would happen next. Their relationship, the ups and downs, the tumultuous nature of love, was what kept my eyes glued to the pages. By the end I was convinced these two truly belonged together.

Favorite excerpt: (From page 57)
     "She hit her head," I heard Doug say.

     "I didn't hit my head," I corrected him. I didn't remember hitting anything.

     "She hit her head," Doug repeated, "and my leg's broken."

     "Oh," I tried to roll off him. I'd known he was hurt, yet I was lying on top of him like I needed coddling when I wasn't hurt at all. But his arm tightened around me, and I couldn't move. Well, fine then. I was still dizzy, and Doug was a warm blanket."

Rating: +++1/2

Cover comment: I really like the cover, it captures the essence of Doug and Zoey's relationship.

Book source: Purchased.

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