Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Forgotten by Cat Patrick

Sometimes I wait to give into the hype (for example The Hunger Games) and end up regretting those extra months I could have spent with an incredible book in my life, and sometimes I get swept away in a book, anxiously waiting on it way before it is even published only to find the reality lacklustre in comparison to the vision I had kept in my mind for so long. Unfortunately, Forgotten by Cat Patrick fell into the latter category.

It's not that I hated, or even disliked, this story of sixteen-year-old London Lane, a girl with a memory of the future instead of the past, but I just wanted more from it. Each morning, all London has left is a note she's written, a note telling her about the day she can't remember. Besides her mom and her best friend, nobody knows about London's condition and she'd prefer to keep it that way because what London does remember is what is going to happen next. Then Luke shows up in London's life, a guy she can't remember from her future, so what is he doing here now? But as the relationship between Luke and London progresses, she begins to realize that there maybe something hiding in her past, something she needs to figure out if she hopes to have any future at all...

Although different, the play on memory with a mystery thrown in reminded me a little of an adult title I'd recently read, Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson, which I'd loved incredibly, a fact that only helped to raise my expectations of Forgotten. In the end, as much as I loved the premise, the delivery tended to fall flat for me. The chapters in the novel are quite short and while sometimes that works with the story- The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen comes to mind- in this case, especially because it is so hard to have character develop fully when they keep forgetting their previous actions, it felt rushed and brief. I sometimes felt that if Patrick had given the reader a little more time with London each day before sending her into oblivion, maybe her story would have been just that much more memorable. Patrick's writing itself is effortless and clean but with such an ambitious concept I felt longer chapters- or at least more of them- might have helped the authenticity. 

I almost wonder if Forgotten tries too hard to be too many things: love story, mystery, psychological thriller: and never quite satisfied any of those cravings in such a short book. The parts I loved about Forgotten were in fact the most ordinary, London's day to day high school experiences, the girl who wants her to set her up on a date (and what to do when she knows the guy will break her heart?), or the best friend flirting precariously with a teacher (and how can she save her when she won't listen?). How London dealt with these familiar situations with her unique condition was intriguing and thought-provoking to read. However, then Forgotten seems to go off on a crazy tangent that develops way too fast and feels completely unbelievable,  with twist after twist appearing seemingly out of nowhere. I feel like the plot of Forgotten ended up like one of those stews where you throw everything in and hope it tastes good, the kind that reminds me of the famous Coco Channel quote "before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off", except in this case the novel could have done with at least a couple less accessories/subplots.

Will I pick up Patrick's second novel? Forgotten is afterall only her debut. The answer is yes, if the premise once again intrigues me. Her writing is smooth and her teenage characters felt realistic and diverse. However this time it will be with my mind hesitant and unsure, hoping that the book either grows to fit the story, or the reverse. Forgotten is a quick and easy read based around a cool concept, the kind of book that is probably ideal for reluctant readers because of the page-turning nature and short chapters it provides but despite my high hopes, for me, it was simply forgettable.

P.S. When I featured this novel on Waiting on Wednesday I used the wrong cover, the one I had was actually the Australian edition, but I still prefer it. You can click here to see which one I'm talking about. This book has about a hundred covers and unfortunately the North American one is my least favourite.

Release Date: June 7th 2011
Pages: 288
Source: Publisher
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