The Memory Jar
Author: Elissa Janine Hoole
Expected Publication: April 8th, 2016
Format: e-ARC, 312 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Mental Health
Read: March 2016
I received an e-ARC of this book from Flux via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Since the accident, Taylor’s memory has been fuzzy. But at least she’s awake. Who knows what her boyfriend, Scott, will remember when he comes out of the coma. Will he remember that Taylor was driving the snowmobile when it crashed? Will he remember the engagement ring? Her pregnancy?
Will he remember that she tried to break up with him?
Taylor doesn’t know. And she doesn’t know if she wants him to remember. Plenty of things happened that night and before-secrets wrapped in secrets-that she’d prefer be forgotten.
Facing choices she’d rather ignore, Taylor searches for something more solid than whispers and something bigger than blame to face the future and forgive herself.
Plot – 3 out of 5 stars
Unfortunately, the plot of this book was really confusing to me. The narration is really personal, the thought process of the main character, and that in particular is very up and down, indecisive. The main conflict is really drawn out and a lot of things make it unnecessarily complicated. It’s really emotional and sometimes hard to stomach, but at the same time, there’s inconsistencies that push you out of the intensity. It was intriguing in the beginning, and it kept my attention for the most part, but there was too much going on for me to feel a connection.
Writing Style – 3 out of 5 stars
The biggest complaint I have about the writing style is that it suffers from “Telling not Showing” syndrome. It got really annoying after awhile listening to the main character just talk and talk and talk, kind of like constant diary entries of her life, instead of seeing some actions. Though, I think that was done on purpose to support the format. There’s no chapters, just Now and Then sections. It’s all over the place because of that but it is poetic at times.
Characters – 3 out of 5 stars
This was also one of the hardest parts of this book for me. I didn’t connect with any of the characters. They were all really complex and intricate but it kind of felt like too much sometimes. They was too much conflict and too much drama and too much emotion to really connect on a deep level. The main character Taylor really turned me off. She was a really unreliable narrator. She’s naive and vulnerable. But also really dramatic, annoying and indecisive and confused. I didn’t really know what to make of her. I didn’t believe her sometimes because of how overwhelming the situation is and it makes her very jaded. There was also a plethora of characters that I don’t really understand what they were there for. Some just seemed like stand ins just because and others had a really strange presence overall that actually made me quite uncomfortable. It’s really sad because I feel like this could’ve been a book to pack a punch, but it did nothing for me.
This is one of those books that I feel is more me, not the book. It’s just not my cup of tea.
The plot is confusing. We follow Taylor who has been in a snowmobile accident with her boyfriend and he is now in a coma. Yet that is the least of her problems. I feel like this could’ve been a good book, if the author wasn’t trying to make a point of talking about so many difficult and tough subjects all at once. There was teen pregnancy, abuse, mental health, death, love, suicide and even more. I understand what she wanted to do but there was too much going on at once for it to have an impact. It was actually more of a turn off. Nothing hit me emotionally like I’m sure the author expected it to. The format didn’t help either. There were no chapters, it was only a divide between Then and Now. That just made me even more disconnected. Sometimes I got confused and didn’t really know what was going on. I wanted more structure to get a handle on all the things that were going on. I didn’t enjoy the narration and writing style because it was basically the main character speaking to a sort of diary. She felt really unreliable and to be quite honest, the only thing that kept me reading was wanting to find out what was going to happen to her boyfriend. It’s obviously a problem because the story is about Taylor and everything she’s going through and I only really cared to know about the boy who didn’t speak almost the entire time.
Taylor was all over the place, a theme that prevails throughout this book. I felt that she kind of had a bipolar personality. She was very indecisive and she spent the whole time trying to make a few life changing decisions but going back and forth and back and forth and almost not even deciding anything at all. She was very dramatic, even with the situations she’s placed in, and also very naive. She was easily overwhelmed and I just didn’t feel like I could rely on her account of things. I didn’t trust her point of view or her opinions because she was so indecisive. She got really annoying sometimes and I wish there would’ve been a different narrator in general but I don’t think it could’ve saved the book for me.
The side characters are another story. There are all complex but while some felt unnecessary and like place holders, others felt completely over the top and yes, also unnecessary. I don’t really understand the point of Taylor’s tumultuous relationship with her mom. It’s a point of contention throughout the whole book, and throughout the main character’s relationship. It was over the top and dramatic, we’re made to think it’s also abusive and towards the end things get patched up in two paragraphs. Um what? There’s a specific character that shows up in the middle which turns everything upside down (as if it wasn’t already) and for the life of me, I don’t know what her purpose is. She is completely unrelated to anything that is actually happening in the plot and causes a lot more trouble than she’s worse. I didn’t get it. Then we have the boyfriend’s sister who literally just shows up to be nice and the boyfriend’s brother who tries to be a lot more than that, WHEN HIS BROTHER IS IN A COMA. Gah, I couldn’t handle it. Not at all.
Overall, I feel like the author wanted to make a point about honesty and handling heavy situations. But everything got bogged down by the drama and complications. The reason I gave it the half star is because while I did not enjoy this book, there might be someone out there who does enjoy it and that it can have an impact in that person’s life. It just wasn’t for me.
So that’s it for this review! Let me know your thoughts on my thoughts and if you’re considering giving this book a read. Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you on my next post!