Monday, 9 June 2014

Review: (Don't You) Forget About Me

(Don't You) Forget About Me

Publication Date:  June 10th 2014      
Publisher: HarperTeen
~An advance readers copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~




Welcome to Gardnerville.
A place where no one gets sick. And no one ever dies.

There’s a price to pay for paradise. Every fourth year, the strange power that fuels the town exacts its payment by infecting teens with deadly urges. In a normal year in Gardnerville, teens might stop talking to their best friends. In a fourth year, they’d kill them.

Four years ago, Skylar’s sister, Piper, was locked away after leading sixteen of her classmates to a watery grave. Since then, Skylar has lived in a numb haze, struggling to forget her past and dull the pain of losing her sister. But the secrets and memories Piper left behind keep taunting Skylar—whispering that the only way to get her sister back is to stop Gardnerville’s murderous cycle once and for all.

I know I've said it before, but this has to be one of the hardest books to review because the slightest thing could really turn the way you think about it and ruin the whole build-up to the reveal. I'll start by telling you about the town, Gardnerville.  It's a coincidence that I was watching Haven while reading this, and in a way Gardnerville is a lot like Haven.  Weird, complicated,  something lurking behind what we see and what we don't see. And just like Haven, Gardnerville is a special place with a rather destructive founding, and with a little similarity to some "special" people, that's where the familiarity ends, but I'll get to the latter part in a minute. Gardnerville is a place where almost everything is quite perfect, with their quite perfect health score and quite perfect lives, except for that pesky little undertone of fear.

I'm using Haven as an example and as a way of understanding and accepting what (Don't You) Forget About Me and what it's trying to do rather than over analysing on what it's not. In Haven every 27 years the "troubles" arise and start in the town, and dangerous things start to happen, and to most of the Troubled, they end up hurting people when they didn't mean to, and it's not their fault. In Gardnerville, they have a "fourth year",  which can be explained like a virus kids between certain ages catch and have to fight the previous years leading up to the fourth, where they  can do something devastating to their friends, classmates, family, and the town.

(Don't You) Forget About Me is one of the weirdest novels I've read this year (don't worry- that's a compliment) it's also one of the best screw-with-your-mind ones too. It won't be for everyone, but if you love mysteries, theorising and beautiful writing, give it a chance. Even if you don't think it's for you. Trust me. It's worth it. I'm not going to lie, it's going to be confusing, it's going to be a little messy and you're not going to know what the hell is going on, but just go with it because all that confusion will lead you to something spectacular, everything has its place an importance. Gradually, with dual perceptions  in the form of Skylar remembering and what Skylar's forgotten-  due to the "forget-me-nots" pills, though from the same person, they both have very different personalities. The former being more mystic and cloudy and the latter being  more frenzy and cryptic.  And both get even more messier as the story unravels and she tries to find out what exactly happened to her sister, Piper, because before Piper's fourth year, and before she disappeared she had a plan to bring down the Reformatory, that contains the people responsible for their fourth years, that powers Gardnerville and why it's so special.
The hardest thing about (Don't You) Forget About Me though? Is trying not to sing along when you see the titles.  Seriously. Try not to. I dare you.

(Don't You) Forget About Me is a complex novel, built layer upon layer with each chapter, that can unravel just like Skylar's memories,  but whatever you do, just don't trust it. 

Rating: 5/5