Sammie McCoy is a girl with a plan: graduate at the top of her class and get out of her small town as soon as possible. Read more...
Sammie McCoy is a girl with a plan: graduate at the top of her class and get out of her small town as soon as possible. Nothing will stand in her way--not even the rare genetic disorder the doctors say will slowly steal her memories and then her health.
So the memory book is born: a journal written to Sammie's future self, so she can remember everything from where she stashed her study guides to just how great it feels to have a best friend again. It's where she'll record every perfect detail of her first date with longtime-crush Stuart, a gifted young writer home for the summer. And where she'll admit how much she's missed her childhood friend Cooper, and the ridiculous lengths he will go to make her laugh. The memory book will ensure Sammie never forgets the most important parts of her life--the people who have broken her heart, those who have mended it--and most of all, that if she's going to die, she's going to die living. This moving and remarkable novel introduces an inspiring character you're sure to remember, long after the last page.
- ISBN-13: 9780316283748
- ISBN-10: 0316283746
- Publisher: Poppy Books
- Publish Date: July 2016
- Page Count: 368
- Reading Level: Ages 14-17
- Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.7 x 1.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.05 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-05-02
- Reviewer: Staff
Samantha “Sammie” McCoy, 18, has big plans: win the National Debate Championships with her friend Maddie, become class valedictorian, attend NYU and law school, and become a human rights lawyer. These plans are derailed when she’s diagnosed with Niemann-Pick, a terminal illness that will rob her of her memory and physical abilities before killing her. Through journal entries that Sammie writes to her future self, including occasional excerpts from text and email exchanges, Avery (Anything but Ordinary) crafts an emotionally charged story about a young woman who has kept her eyes trained on the future, only to learn that all she has is now. Determined to make the most of the time she has left, Sammie begins a relationship with her longtime crush and attempts to have “normal” teenage experiences like attending parties and getting drunk. Though the marketplace is crowded with stories of teens coping with serious illness, Avery’s novel stands out for its strong characters, a heartbreaking narrative that shifts to reflect Sammie’s condition, and a love story that will leave many readers in tears. Ages 15–up. Agency: Alloy Entertainment. (July)
Memories soon to be lost
BookPage Teen Top Pick, July 2016
In Lara Avery’s heartfelt, funny and bittersweet new novel, a gifted teen’s future is derailed when she’s diagnosed with a debilitating genetic condition. High school valedictorian Sammie McCoy can’t wait to escape small-town Vermont and start college at NYU. But when she learns she has Niemann-Pick Type C (NPC), her freshman-year plans begin to look unlikely. “Basically,” Sammie says of NPC, “it’s dementia.”
Due to the disorder, Sammie will eventually lose her memory, and so she begins chronicling the major events and little details of her life on a laptop, “writing to remember” all the things she’s bound to forget. Meanwhile, she hides her condition from her friends, which works just fine until she bungles a critical debate-club tournament.
Avery is a skillful storyteller who lets Sammie’s decline unfold gradually over the course of the novel. From the start, Sammie comes across as smart and sassy, an overachiever with all the answers, but as NPC takes over, she regresses. Her thoughts and perspectives become less sophisticated, more childlike—a reflection of her inner deterioration. Avery fleshes out the narrative with a cast of authentic characters, including Maddie, Sammie’s debate-club partner (who sports an electric-red mohawk), and Stuart, a handsome would-be writer and Sammie’s longtime crush.
Avery presents Sammie’s story not as a tragedy but as a tale of self-discovery. Without lapsing into sentiment or melodrama, she tackles big questions in a style that teen readers will find appealing. The Memory Book is a memorable read, indeed.