Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Memory Jar ~ Elissa Janine Hoole (earc) review [@elissajanine @fluxbooks]

The Memory Jar
April 08, 2016
312 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

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.

"Sitting in this hospital, waiting in uncertainty, makes time go all funny. It rewinds and fast-forwards at the whim of something unseen." (ebook at 7%)

Though the above is about how Taylor views time, it works as well for reading this book can feel with its 'Now' and 'Then' vignettes. As each episode can be very short, sometimes just a scene or two, it takes a little while to get used to the switching.

Later, though, once we know the characters more, know the situation and understand how, why and to whom Taylor's relating the 'Then' stories, it's easier to get into it.

Only having her boyfriend in a coma and her own memory effected as the result of a snowmobile crash would be a lot for a seventeen-year-old, or anyone, to handle. When you add in that Taylor's secretly pregnant and has the engagement ring Scott gave her, it becomes a whole other level of hard to deal with. She can't remember what - or who - caused the crash but knows some blame her. Should they? Should she?

You want Taylor to have this great support network. To have people who are going to be there for her no matter what and help her figure things out. That's not quite the case. She does have a great best friend, Dani (whose tree fort bed I want!) but Taylor's mother isn't exactly the helpful, supportive, caring idea of a mother.

The back and forth, now and then, really does a great job (once I got used to it) showing readers what Taylor and Scott's relationship was like, how it started, how it continued, what it was supposed to become what her life at home was like. More than that, though, I loved how we really got to see who Taylor was, as she herself seemed to finally realize a lot of it.

The inclusion of one character still feels weird to me. I know their presence and even their personality was required for a lot of things plot- and character-wise to happen but . . . they were odd.

Taylor, Dani and Joey made this an enjoyable read and I liked the story's structure and how it allowed us to learn about the characters, past, present and maybe even future.

review copy received, thanks to publisher, via NetGalley

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