Title: (Don’t You) Forget About Me
Author: Kate Karyus Quinn
This book messed with my head. In a good way. It’s a complete trip of a book, from beginning to end. Just when I thought I had a handle on what was going on, something would happen that would completely throw me off again.
Gardnerville is a special place. People don’t get sick there. It just doesn’t happen. And sick people who move to the town suddenly aren’t sick anymore. But it comes at a price. Every four years, a teen explodes with deadly consequences. The book begins in the middle of one of these fourth years, just dropping the reader right into the town. Skylar uses pills to forget the past, a past where her sister led teens to their death four years ago. But something finally stops Skylar from forgetting. The secrets she’s held for years have to come out. And as little pieces of the truth appear the story becomes even more confusing and amazing.
Skylar is an interesting character. She just wants to forget what happened to her family. She wants to forget that her sister was the cause of the last fourth year destruction. She wants to forget about the evil that possesses her town. She just wants to forget. But forgetting means she can’t move forward with her life. As her secrets are shown, between flashbacks and the present day, she becomes a great character. It’s clear she knows what she has to do for her town, even though only little pieces are shown at a time.
The town is a character itself. It has a strange power to heal people, but it’s not without a price. The town gives, but it also takes. It really made me think about what price I would pay for complete health. A small connection I made to the novel is that the mother of the book had the same disease I do, cystic fibrosis. Obviously, since she lives in the town, it’s not a problem for her anymore. But it made me think about if living in fear of external death would be enough for me to cure my internal death. I can certainly understand why the mother lives in the town, but her life isn’t perfect. She traded one pain for another. It’s an interesting thought; to examine what price a person would pay for perfect health.
I’m going to be honest. I was completely confused for the majority of the novel. But it was confusion I enjoyed, because it meant Quinn has weaved an intense story. Every little piece she gives you s dropped without much context, leaving you to try and piece it together. It’s like putting together a puzzle that doesn’t have a picture until every piece has found its place. You’re working to solve a puzzle where you can hardly figure out where each piece goes.
This is not a book anyone can pick up and enjoy. You have to be able to suspend reason and take the events that happen for what they are. If you can do that, then (Don’t You) Forget About Me is a fantastic book.
Thank you to Edelweiss and HarperTeen for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.