The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron
Publication Date: September 13, 2016
Rating: 5 stars
Source: ARC received from trade
Summary (from Goodreads):
What isn't written, isn't remembered. Even your crimes.
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.
But when Nadia begins to use her memories to solve the mysteries of Canaan, she discovers truths about herself and Gray, the handsome glassblower, that will change her world forever. As the anarchy of the Forgetting approaches, Nadia and Gray must stop an unseen enemy that threatens both their city and their own existence – before the people can forget the truth. And before Gray can forget her.
What I Liked:
OH MY GOODNESS! I don't even know how I'm going to write a coherent review of this book! I'm no stranger to Cameron's books - I've been following her publications as they publish - and I feel like they get better and better as she writes more and more. This is quite possibly my favorite Cameron book! By rating, it must be (I've given her other three books four stars each), and I think I indeed like this one the most!
Every twelve years, the Forgetting occurs, in which one day, people forget everything. And so everyone must keep a book on them at all times, and write down everything, so that when the Forgetting occurs every twelve years, each person will know their lives by their memories. But Nadia the dyer's daughter remembers everything. She remembers when the last Forgetting occurred, when she was a little girl. She remembers the chaos that fell on Canaan. She remembers her life and she remembers that her book, after the Forgetting, was taken, and a forgery was left in its place. Now, on the eve of the next Forgetting, Nadia is determined to understand the Forgetting, and make this one different. She wants to know why Canaan is walled and no one is allowed out, why the Forgetting occurs, why her father left and her mother and sisters. She and Gray the glassblower's son uncover a history of truths that are nothing like what is told to the people of Canaan. Nadia only has so much time before everyone - including Gray - forgets everything.
What an incredible book! I'm going to be honest - I knew very little about this book before reading it. I didn't even read the synopsis. I saw that it was a Cameron book and I added it to my to-be-read list without a second thought. I loved The Dark Unwinding, A Spark Unseen, and Rook, and I knew I would like this book too. And I loved it!
Nadia is so different from the YA heroines of late! She's so quiet - literally. She just doesn't say much. When she and Gray first interact, you can see how it sometimes frustrates Gray, how Nadia is so tight-lipped. I love this quality of Nadia's. She has many secrets (because she remembers), and if she tells the wrong person, or misspeaks, she and her family would be in danger. Nadia is such a kickbutt girl, but not in a high-action way. She's a quiet rebel, who likes to climb the wall and go to the other side, and is never in bed before curfew. Nadia is inquisitive and intelligent, clever and determined. But she is subtle and quiet, a force you don't see coming until it's upon you. Nadia's character growth is subtle, but you can see the difference in her from start to finish.
Gray is someone Nadia did not expect to catch her climbing back from the other side of the wall. He demands that she take him with her next time, or he'll turn her in. There is something about Gray that doesn't add up to Nadia. He's always had a way of getting everyone to love him, and Nadia is determined not to be one of those people. Gray is charming and funny, charismatic and just as stubborn as Nadia. He's also just as clever, and protective in a way that isn't over the top. Add Gray to the list of Cameron heroes I adore. All three of them are the perfect book boyfriends.
When I said I knew nothing about this book before reading it, I meant that! I only knew that it had a vibe similar to that of The Purge - or so I thought. This book is not fantasy or paranormal or whatever I thought it was - it's science fiction! I love science fiction! YA does not see nearly enough science fiction, in my opinion.
I don't want to spoil things but guys, the science fiction aspect of the book (i.e. basically, the book) is SO cool. It's comes as a plot twist, hence why I don't want to spoil much, but it's awesome and a little mind-blowing. All of the answers are right in front of our faces and we don't know it! Neither did Nadia and Gray. Epic!
I love how Cameron weaves this story. There are so many sub-stories that tie back in to the main story, and everything meets at the climax. This book is told from Nadia's POV, in first person, but you get a clear sense of the subplots in this book. Nadia's older sister's dalliance, Nadia's crazy mother, Nadia's father's behavior, Rose's significance... there are so many little seeds that Cameron plants everywhere, that spring forth towards the climax of the book. Brilliant!
Have I said anything about the romance yet? In classic Cameron fashion, the romance is sweet and subtle, and yet powerful and strong. The romance was more present in this book than her other three - meaning, it has more of a presence, it impacts the story more. I didn't mind this! Gray and Nadia are great together. It's somewhat hate-to-love, with lots of banter (kind of? Nadia doesn't talk a ton, yet somehow, there is back-and-forth between her and Gray and it is great). And then the romance is also a tiny bit steamier than in Cameron's other books. Still not super steamy, but more so than her other books. I love the romance in this book!
Relationships are so important in this book, and not just the romance (which was lovely!). Nadia has two sisters, an older and a younger. The older sister suspects that Nadia is not her sister, since the last Forgetting jumbled everything (as they usually do). Nadia has a hard time connecting with that sister, even though she knows the truth (the sister doesn't). But Nadia has such a wonderful relationship with her younger sister. It's very positive and sisterly, and I loved seeing them interact! Nadia barely has one parent (her mother is a little lost in the brain), so her parental relationships aren't great. But Gray has a beautiful relationship with his parents. You'd have to read the book to see what I mean! It's very special and heart-warming.
The last one hundred pages or so seemed like truth after truth, reveal after reveal. I could not read fast enough! There was so much happening (not overwhelmingly so though), and several heartbreaking events occurred, and I was sure Cameron was going to break my heart. But then she didn't! I love how this book ended. It is an amazing ending and I could not have asked for more!
What I Did Not Like:
I don't think I have anything to say here!
Would I Recommend It:
I feel like I could gush about this book for days! And knowing me, I probably will. I highly recommend this book to science fiction fans, but I feel like anyone who likes YA books with a lot of depth would enjoy this story. Cameron has such great writing, and all of her stories are so perfectly woven and fashioned. I recommend all four books of Cameron's!
5 stars. I rarely dish out the 5-star rating, but I couldn't not give this book 5 stars. How amazing was this? Very amazing! Definitely one of the most impressive YA books for the year.
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