Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Book Review: Forgotten

 Forgotten, by Cat Patrick

Five-Sentence Summary: (from
Each night at precisely 4:33 am, while sixteen-year-old London Lane is asleep, her memory of that day is erased. In the morning, all she can "remember" are events from her future. London is used to relying on reminder notes and a trusted friend to get through the day, but things get complicated when a new boy at school enters the picture. Luke Henry is not someone you'd easily forget, yet try as she might, London can't find him in her memories of things to come. When London starts experiencing disturbing flashbacks, or flash-forwards, as the case may be, she realizes it's time to learn about the past she keeps forgetting-before it destroys her future.
Oh, Forgotten. Such an interesting premise. And when I read the first couple of chapters on the Kindle a few months ago, I thought, "I need this book." The writing style was easy without feeling sloppy, and I loved the little reference notes that introduced each scene. A couple of months later, it showed up at the library and I got to reading. Correction - I didn't get to reading until the day before it was due at the library, and the silly website wouldn't let me renew it because someone else had requested it. So I finished it in one day. To say I rushed through Forgotten is an understatement, and may have impacted how I felt about the book.

Ok, let's just be real for a second. I wanted to like this, I really did. The concept just had so much potential! But in the end, it really didn't work for me. It ultimately  reminded me too much of Before I Go To Sleep, a fascinating book that I read over Thanksgiving. In Before I Go To Sleep, the main character also can't remember the past: she wakes up every morning and has to rediscover her who she's become. Although I didn't love the book, I thought its structure was brilliant. Fast-forward two months to Forgotten, another book with a main character who has no previous memories, yet she can see the future... And how is this possible, exactly? Unfortunately, Cat Patrick fails to explain the how and glosses over it. Maybe two months ago I wouldn't have cared, or been willing to overlook it, but after reading another book with a similar premise, I couldn't let it go.

If I ignore the conceptual issues, then I go to the characters. No one is terribly annoying or over-the-top, which I appreciate, and there aren't any "bad guys," so there's no one to hate. I hate hating characters, so Forgotten wins points for that! But while I don't hate any of the characters, I don't love them either. The problem with London remembering the future is that she's aware of how things will turn out, so she doesn't feel a whole lot of suspense. Other than the suspense of not remembering the past, of course.  But she knows how her relationship with each of the characters will end, so you know too. I found that kind of disconnecting.

The supporting characters were OK, for the most part. London has stressful relationships with some characters, but I didn't understand why they were at such odds. Then there's the drama of the re-meeting boyfriend. She meets him over and over again. Yet she trusts him each time - convenient much? There's some fun little twists in there that keep it interesting and fresh (which I won't spoil here, though I will say that I was cracking up at the end of one of her dates), and I get why she falls for him, but... It just felt too easy. Much like the rest of the book.

Ultimately Forgotten has an interesting premise, likeable (though not exactly compelling) characters, and a lot of plot holes/structural issues that others may be willing to overlook. I liked her easy writing style - the language is simple but effective.  I know there was a lot of hype for this one, but ultimately had too many issues to be my cup of tea. I wouldn't recommend it right away, but I probably will pick up a future Cat Patrick book, out of curiosity.

Or rather, I remember that I will! ;)

Was it a success?
Well, the character's were middling-level interesting, the things they did were middling-level interesting, and the story was told in a not-so-intelligent way. But despite my problems with the book it wasn't a failure, by any means. I'd give it a so-so success.

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