Review: Forget You

WHY CAN’T YOU CHOOSE WHAT YOU FORGET . . .  AND WHAT YOU REMEMBER?  There’s a lot Zoey would like to forget. Like how her father has knocked up his twenty-four- year old girlfriend. Like Zoey’s fear that the whole town will find out about her mom’s nervous breakdown. Like darkly handsome bad boy Doug taunting her at school. Feeling like her life is about to become a complete mess, Zoey fights back the only way she knows how, using her famous attention to detail to make sure she’s the perfect daughter, the perfect student, and the perfect girlfriend to ultra-popular football player Brandon.

But then Zoey is in a car crash, and the next day there’s one thing she can’t remember at all—the entire night before. Did she go parking with Brandon, like she planned? And if so, why does it seem like Brandon is avoiding her? And why is Doug—of all people— suddenly acting as if something significant happened between the two of them? Zoey dimly remembers Doug pulling her from the wreck, but he keeps referring to what happened that night as if it was more, and it terrifies Zoey to admit how much is a blank to her. Controlled, meticulous Zoey is quickly losing her grip on the all-important details of her life—a life that seems strangely empty of Brandon, and strangely full of Doug.–From Amazon

I won Forget You in a contest at The Bookshelf Sophisticate, and was extremely excited because I had herd so many people raving about Jennifer Echols. This was the first book I read by Echols, and I guess I must have liked it because I immediately ordered Going Too Far (btw, could the covers look any more similar??).

The premise of this book reminded me of Gabrielle Zevin’s Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac, which I loved. In Forget You, Zoey gets into a car crash when swerving out of the way of a deer. (Having just experienced my first near-dead-Bambi experience, I can testify to how dangerous deer are for cars, and how traumatic such incidents can be to the driver.) Zoey is unable to remember the details of what happened that night, but she tries to hide the extent of her memory loss from her friends and family.

Zoey doesn’t want her new boyfriend Brandon to know about the comfort she sought from Doug after the accident; she doesn’t want Doug to know that she has no idea where she was coming from or going that night. Zoey doesn’t understand why Brandon is so absent from her life after the accident, or how Doug got the impression that they were suddenly so close. All the while, Zoey is also worried about her mom, who recently attempted suicide, and her dad, who leaves her behind to marry his newly pregnant trophy wife in Hawaii.

I really enjoyed the way the events of the night of Zoey’s accident were slowly revealed. Zoey’s struggle to make sense of what was happening to her was explored with the perfect subtlety and pacing. The more I learned about Doug, the more I fell in love with the guy beneath the tough exterior. Zoey’s parents stories were also all too real, and while I am not always a fan of the absent parents, I felt like Echols did a great job of portraying the difficulties of dealing with a mother who is mentally ill and a father who is running away from his problems.

Every once in a while, I’ll pick up a paranormal book and be pleased by it, but I much prefer contemporary realistic fiction, and Forget You definitely fit that bill perfectly.

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