Thursday, July 28, 2016

(Don't you) forget about me by Kate Karyus Quinn

Gardnerville is a a magical place - the towns people never get cancer or other serious illnesses, they live long lives, and people born in Gardnerville can develop the most amazing abilities.  There is a price to pay for this paradise though, and every four years something goes seriously wrong, a teenager goes off the rails and other teenagers end up dead.  The culprit is always punished, sent to the reformatory on the top of the hill to pay their dues, returning to the town a husk of their former selves.  It is the way that Gardnerville works, when one of the teenagers does something wrong they pay for their crimes and in turn keep the wheels of the town turning.

Four years ago Skylar's sister Piper lead her classmates on to the trestle bridge and told them to jump, and not everyone made it out of the water that night.  Piper was taken away to the reformatory and Skylar fell into the purple embrace of the forget-me-nots - but now it seems they are not enough.  Skylar is desperate to find Piper and is willing to do whatever it takes to find her, no easy feat with gaping holes in her memory.  Determined to find the truth Skylar throws herself into the search with no concern for the cost - or the consequences.  Garnerville is full of secrets, the perfect hunting ground for a person like Skylar - who can steal the secrets from your head and your heart.

(Don't you) forget about me is the third book I have read from Kate Karyus Quinn and I was once again very impressed by her originality and refusal to conform to genre norms.  While I didn't find (Don't you) forget about me to be quite as polished and well written as her Down with the shine, which makes sense as it is an older book, the same strong characters and well defined mythology made this an addictive read that I couldn't put aside or skim read because each morsel was carefully doled out throughout the story and kept me reading right to the end.  I thought I had figured out the story quite early on, and while I was partly right I was also sideswiped by some very sneaky little secrets revealed at the end of the novel.  

Skylar is a classic Quinn character, she is strong and weak at the same time, determined and broken, and she is a character that you can relate to.  The small town setting of Gardnerville is a perfect vehicle for this story, a small town has a certain feel and certain rules that make this story come to life.  In a small town everyone knows everyone else, and everyone knows everyone elses business, and when a small town is isolated in the way Gardnerville is it is so easy for things to go wrong (like they do in Gardnerville).  The mythology of Gardnerville is mind blowing and realistic - people really would risk it all for the chance to live a long and healthy life.  The other characters that make up the cast are also well defined and equally perfect/flawed.  

If you don't like the first few chapters give it a chance because once the story has you hooked you really will be hooked.  Some people might find the alternating past and present chapters annoying, but as the novel develops the time switches help drive the story forward as each little clue is slowly released and you build a picture of what is really happening in Gardnerville.  Hopefully there are many more genre defying books from Quinn as this was another great read from a uniquer voice in current young adult/teen fiction.

If you like this book then try:

Reviewed by Brilla

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