Published September 13, 2016 by Scholastic Press
I have had an ARC of The Forgetting sitting by my bedside since I received it at BookCon back in May of this year. I thought that it looked interesting, but I wanted to read it and review it closer to the release date. Confession time: The Forgetting is actually the first and only ARC I have so far received during my time as a book blogger, and honestly they just hand out stacks of these at the convention anyway. So, I really am not that special, although for the sake of my pride I will pretend to be.
Take a look at this gorgeous cover, seriously, its beautiful. Now tell me what this book is about. You can’t right?! I love when book covers suck you in, but do not reveal anything.
Nadia lives in the city of Canaan, where life is safe and structured, hemmed in by white stone walls and no memory of what came before. But every twelve years the city descends into the bloody chaos of the Forgetting, a day of no remorse, when each person’s memories – of parents, children, love, life, and self – are lost. Unless they have been written.
In Canaan, your book is your truth and your identity, and Nadia knows exactly who hasn’t written the truth. Because Nadia is the only person in Canaan who has never forgotten.
I actually trimmed up this summary, because I think it sounds more intriguing this way. The entire plot and concept of The Forgetting is suspenseful, as the characters are aware that they are hurtling towards this day in their lives that will make them forget anything and everything about themselves, so they are all preparing for it in their different ways….essentially.
I will admit, however, that the beginning of this book, let’s say through page 75, is god-awful confusing. At first, I was annoyed. Like really annoyed. I assumed it was the typical ‘info dump’ that accompanies many standalone novels, where the author is trying to cram everything about the world and characters that you may need for later into those beginning chapters. But as I got further and further into the book, I took my confusion at the beginning as an intentional ploy by the author. I now believe that it was purposefully vague, because that is how the characters live. Can you imagine every 12 years forgetting who you are, and then having to start over and just figure it out? So, maybe Shannon Cameron was simply providing me with the same situation, the same opportunity as the secondary characters of The Forgetting; the chance to just figure it out.
As far as characters go: Nadia is now one of my favorite new YA heroines. She is so different from the other main female leads that I have grown accustomed to in YA fantasy. Sassy, loud, confident; Nadia is none of those things. She is quiet and thoughtful, borderline mute, independent and smart, but wholly unsure about what was going on. It was that vulnerability that made Nadia so like-able, so relatable.
And since I am on the topic of talking about how much I loved Nadia, it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t acknowledge how wonderful of a character Gray was as well. Instead of having our main female character be the sassy, sharp-witted one, Cameron made our main male character take on these traits, and I loved change! He was also so kind and sweet, that I felt myself really rooting for them as a couple, when usually I just let the romances in YA novels just run their course and be okay with the outcome, whatever it ends up being. This whole novel was so refreshing in the way that the main characters acted, spoke, and fell in love. I really appreciate how different it was, and how Cameron is challenging readers to think about love in a different way.
I know I may be lingering too long on Gray’s and Nadia’s relationship here, but they made me hard-core smile like a goon in several instances. I don’t want to spoil anything, but if you have read The Forgetting and know what scene I am talking about me, message me so we can smile together about it! I think the sexual tension, but lack of sex should also be addressed. It wasn’t that there was no sex because that would have been inappropriate for the story, no, rather there was no sex scene because the character’s realized how important of a decision it is.
I wasn’t expecting this book to have a bit of a science fiction twist to it, but I found myself pleasantly surprised that this was the case. There were a lot of different plot twists that kept me interested, and I think it would be pretty difficult to pin down The Forgetting in one single genre. There are blends of fantasy, sci-fi, and dystopia, but it is still unlike anything I have read in recent times.
I love when the content inside the book matches how lovely it is on the outside, and The Forgetting is one of those books. The cover is wonderful, the chapter pages are to die for, and the story is so intriguing that I had a hard time putting this down. I was really eager to see how everything was going to play out, and in addition, had no clue how this book was going to end. The only reason I gave this four stars instead of five, was how overwhelmed I was in the beginning of the book. But I still urge you to pick this up, and push through your confusion; it is totally worth it.