Saturday, 2 October 2010

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin

Target Audience: Teens/Young Adults
Genre: Fiction/Romance

As with Gabrielle's novel Elsewhere, she once again manages to take a compliated and sensitive issue and deals with it tactfully and yet with a wonderful humourous tone that i found refreshingly different.

Naomi's voice is different and so funny, that at times i found myself laughing out loud despite the somewhat serious nature of the plot.

In summary, Naomi is a teenager with your average teen life. She's popular, has a gorgeous boyfriend, a bestfriend and an active social life. Then an ill-fated flip of a coin results in her taking a tumble down the stairs, and when she wakes she has no memory of things such as who her boyfriend is, her best friend is, that her parents are divorced or that she's having sex with afore mentioned boyfriend.
The above plot may sound like the set-up to either an emotional depressing ride or some comedy sketch show, depending how you look at it. To me, it was rather a mix of both. Naomi's reactions were humorous in the most part and the consequences to her memory loss were sometimes very sad.

On the flip side, some of her memory loss gave way for second chances and i loved the fact that she essentially got the chance to start again in some aspects of her life and repair some damage from before.
This book to me represented so much more than a work of teenage fiction, and is actually more of a love story of various different sorts, with lessons in forgiveness, second chances and hope for the future.

Naomi herself was an instant like for me, she's funny, sarcastic at times and healthily emotional. Her response to her memory loss, instead of being overly sulky was very mature because, as she put it, she can't change it from happening, and her willingness to move on was astoundingly mature for a teenager.
Will was awesome, and his character reminded me a little of the book Just Listen by Sarah Dessen, what with the messages in music he kept giving Naomi.
James was also another standout character, and i loved how Gabrielle dealt with her portrayal of mental illness, it was done sensitively yet without patronisation.

In honesty, this has been one of my favourite reads. Beautifully written and with a writing style that will grab the attention of the most reluctant readers, this is a must read for fans of young adult fiction.

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