Rummanah Aasi
  Most dystopian novels that I've read so far center around a first glance of a utopian society where its citizens are made to believe that the status quo must be upheld. It is not until the hero/heroine of the book looks closely enough at what is happening around them that they start to realize that things are far from a utopia where their rights have been usurped. This is a general trope of the dystopian genre, however, there are a few books that take a different approach as they watch a society slowly descend into chaos, which makes even more curious if we could prevent the situation from getting any worse.

Description: It is 40 to 50 years in the future America, where there is a struggling economy and terrorism is at an all time high. Car bombings happen every few days. A facility called the Therapeutic Forgetting Centers (TFC), which helps people forget any traumatic event in their lives by giving them a pill. Not only does the pill alter your memory, but it might change your identity too. Would would happen if you resisted? Who is responsible for the terrorist attacks?

Review:  Memento Nora has an intriguing and quickly established world where there is mystery yet familiarity. The world echoes of today, with privacy concerns, a bad economy and a very high priority of homeland security. The only difference between our world and Nora's world is a chain of "therapeutic forgetting clinics" that allow you to forget disturbing memories. 
 As the book opens, Nora and her mother witness a suicide bombing at a bookstore. Traumatized by the event, both mother and daughter go to the TFC in hopes of erasing the memory out of their minds and resume life without any blemishes. Upon visiting the TFC, Nora finds out unspoken secrets between her parents and decides she will never take the pill to forget because someone must remember. In her rebellion, Nora befriends two other students in school from different walks of life, Micah and Winter. Together the three create an underground comic called Memento, which chronicle the harmful effects of TFC and the mystery surrounding the terrorist attacks.
  The book is written from Nora, Micah, and Winter's point of views. Each chapter and character voice is distinct. Nora is our reluctant heroine. She is financially well off and somewhat popular in school. She never really thought about her society until the situation hits close to home and pops her safety bubble, leaving her reeling from secrets and lies. Micah is a boy who is lives on the fringes of society. He and his mother are living in poverty and barely surviving on their own. Winter, Micah's best friend, is a Japanese girl whose parents have gone missing. Winter is very artistic, shrewd, and can easily see through people as if they are clear transparencies. I loved how Smibert takes three unique and diverse characters and have them come together to show that the harms of the society affects everyone yet in different but significant ways.
  The best part of the book is watching a slow and relatively quiet resistance unfold by creating a graphic novel. Smibert does a great job in explaining how graphic novels form and how it can be just as powerful as narrative. While I read the book, I couldn't help but wonder if Memento Nora would have more of a punch if it was released in graphic novel format instead of a novel. I think the graphic novel format would allow the book a bit more room to play with emotions and add more layers of depth to this already thought provoking novel. 
  My only problem with the book, however, is the lack of character development amongst our three main characters. We are given glimpses of their lives yet remain at a close distance so we never seem to really connect with them. One of the characters that stood out the most for me is Nora's mom, who perfectly embodies the complexities of the world in Memento Nora. By watching her, you can easily see why taking a pill at TFC makes sense and might be a temporary yet dangerous answer to her problems. I know there is a second book in the works called The Forgetting Curve, which is set to release next year and I hope it fleshes out the characters a bit more. I love Smibert's world now I just want to be part of it.  
    Even though Memento Nora is less than 200 pages long, it has me thinking long after I finished the reading the last page. I'm looking forward to finding out what happens next to Nora, Micah, and Winter in the book's sequel. I would definitely recommend this book to those who like dystopia but doesn't necessarily enjoy science fiction.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is some language in the book. Recommended for Grades 7 and up.

If you like this book try: Little Brother by Corey Doctorow or Brain Jack by Brian Falkner

24 Responses
  1. Alden Says:

    It sounds like an interesting read. My son is really getting into dystopian fiction so I would love to be able to get a copy for him (but I would end up reading it too). Is this where I leave my contact info? If so, it is Alden Ash (alden dot ash at gmail dot com). If not, please let me know. Oh, and by the way, I am now following your blog as well.

  2. I really want to read this book! Thanks for the giveaway!
    Name: Lexie@BookBug
    Email: lexie.bookbug at gmail dot com

  3. Jenny Says:

    We had the exact same reaction to this one Rummanah! I liked it overall, really enjoyed Nora's mom, but I couldn't quite connect to any of the main 3 characters since it felt like we spent hardly any time with them. Don't enter me in the contest, I just wanted to leave a comment:)

  4. Vivien Says:

    Wow, I've been dying to read this book. It's been on my wishlist for a while now. Count me in :)

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  5. Maggie Says:

    Thanks for having this contest. I love being able to give ARCs to "my" teens.

    mhargrav AT

  6. Unknown Says:

    This book looks awesome..and not just because my name is Nora as well! Haha, thanks for the sweet giveaway!

    NoraBell, The Bookery
    nyelekli [at] yahoo [dot] com

  7. Alison Says:

    Fabulous contest. I'd love to read this book.

    alisoncanread at gmail dot com

  8. I haven't heard too much about Memento Nora, but I have a love for dystopian novels and I follow The League of Extraordinary Writers (which Angie posts on regularly). The authors over there have talked the book up quite a bit, so I've been curious about it for a while now. The book is really short, especially for a dystopian, but it sounds like it is well worth checking it out.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  9. RandomlyKait Says:

    This book looks awesome!


  10. Ariel Wilson Says:

    Thanks for the giveaway and the good review!


  11. Lovely giveaway, thank you so much for hosting! It feels like I've seen this book everywhere around the blogosphere, and my curiosity is definitely piqued. I'm holding off on reading your review because I don't want to be spoiled. I'm glad you enjoyed it, though :)

    lillyisabear (at) gmail (dot) com

    I'm a new follower too, by the way!

  12. Meagan Says:

    Thanks for doing the give away.


  13. Sounds like another book for the TBR pile. Thanks for the info!

    Racquel (@themediabunny)
    thegreatest underscore aeariana at yahoo dot com

  14. Tran D Says:

    Thanks for the giveaway! This book sounds interesting, I can't to read it myself :)


  15. Anki Says:

    Really want this book! Thanks for the giveaway!

  16. Stacy Says:

    Thanks for the giveaway! I am enjoying the Cornucopia of Dystopia event.

    the imagine tree at aol dot com

  17. mendy Says:

    I'll love to read this book! Thanks for the giveaway!

  18. T.B. Says:

    Thanks so much for the giveaway!

    I've wanted to read this one for so long now!

  19. AwesomeNiks Says:

    Love dystopian novels :) and I'd love to read a fresh one! Sounds great!

    Nicole (AwesomeNiks)

  20. Rachel Leigh Says:

    Awesome giveaway! Thanks!!

    Rachel Leigh
    TheOneRing111 at gmail dot com

  21. This book looks really good, love the title!


    thegirlonfire27 at gmail dot com

  22. vivien Says:

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  23. Books and the Scientist

    Thanks for hosting a giveaway

  24. I read your book and I loved it! I loved Winter and her troubled family, Nora and her very troubled, somewhat abusive (Dad) family, I loved Micah and his small, but significant rebellion. Keep writing! The ending, although somewhat sad, really fitted the book. Krystal L.

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