Monday, June 21, 2010

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac - Gabrielle Zevin

From Goodreads: If Naomi had picked tails, she would have won the coin toss. She wouldn’t have had to go back for the yearbook camera, and she wouldn’t have hit her head on the steps. She wouldn’t have woken up in an ambulance with amnesia. She certainly would have remembered her boyfriend, Ace. She might even have remembered why she fell in love with him in the first place. She would understand why her best friend, Will, keeps calling her “Chief.” She’d know about her mom’s new family. She’d know about her dad’s fiancée. She never would have met James, the boy with the questionable past and the even fuzzier future, who tells her he once wanted to kiss her. She wouldn’t have wanted to kiss him back. 

But Naomi picked heads. 

After her remarkable debut, Gabrielle Zevin has crafted an imaginative second novel all about love and second chances.

From me :)
I was surprised I enjoyed this as much as I did. Surprised because despite loving the premise of Elsewhere, I kinda got bored in it.

I think to enjoy a head trauma/amnesiac book, it's best just to go along for the ride and read the story not getting all caught up in the logistics of the scenario, yeah?

Things about the book:
Naomi was a popular girl, with a jock boyfriend and a goofy best friend, Will.
When she loses four years worth of memories, she doesn't really get who she turned out to be. Doesn't find anything appealing about her boyfriend, or even her favourite hobbies. She doesn't remember that her mum and dad are divorced -- or that her mum is remarried with a four year old daughter (her half-sister) and her dad is engaged to a dancer. She can't remember how to drive or if the pills in her bedside table means she's not a virgin any more. 

It definitely sucked me in.

Around about the middle of the book, I started feeling the restless-want-to-start-skimming feeling. But then, the book kinda changed direction (in the coolest of ways) and I was super into it again. And it occurred to me that while I could see how some plot threads would be resolved, I really had no idea where the book was headed. 

And I like that feeling. 

I also wasn't sure how I wanted things to be resolved, which is another feeling I like - because it feels like various outcomes could satisfy me.

I didn't connect all that well to Naomi (same problem-o I had with Zevin's début novel). This didn't stop me from enjoying it, but it does stop me from raving about it. There's plenty going on plot wise, and I especially like how well drawn some of the other characters are -- it makes them interesting and their actions unpredictable yet still realistic.

Random stuff:
  • It was slightly unnerving continuously seeing my name in print.
  • I kept getting James (new bad-boy crush) and Will (best bud) mixed up in the first half. Odd, I know. The names don't even really resemble each other, apart form being one syllable slightly generic names.
  • The back of the book has deleted scenes and extras, which greatly amused me. I have often thought about the idea of keeping deleted scenes in a book (mainly as when I snip my own fave scenes from my writing (due to pacing/plot diversion) I'd still love to keep them, you know?
  • Included in the extras is a few pages of all the CD mixes Will made for Naomi - complete with all the title tracks. Love it :)
Overall: I had a good time reading it. And I love amnesia type novels - provides a compelling platform for conflict and mystery. It's definitely an original read and also makes you think... about life and stuff :) I think I am between I like it and I really like it :)

Oh - on the topic of amnesia books. My all time fave is The Land of the Living by Nicci French. Totally absolutely recommending it :)


  1. Huh. I keep looking at this book in the bookstore, I ought to check it out.

    I love the deleted scenes/cd playlists at the back of the book!

  2. Your new layout is BEAUTIFUL and so are the kiddies <3

  3. This is a great review - I'm not usually an amnesia fan but I loved Elsewhere so will add this to my TBR.

    Lol about being unnerved seeing your name in print - in Smack by Melvin Burgess the crack addict MC who eventually goes on the game is called Gemma. Disturbing!

    And love the new banner :)

  4. @ Melissa - I was lucky that my ibrary hed it :)

    @ Kara - thank you thank you :)

    @ Gem - one of the characters in my WIP is Gemma :) Such an awesome name :)

  5. Sounds like an interesting book. I don't think I've ever come across a book with deleted scenes.
    Love the new look.

  6. Well, your review sucked me in!
    Love the title.
    Love the cover.
    Love the premise.

    I think I'll read this :)
    Also, I'm so in love with your blog layout!

  7. sounds iteresting....and dnt you just love the forst book cover!!

  8. I love when I find a new blogger friend and I see that my friends have already found you! I'm glad I've arrived because I love so much about your blog, super cute!! Great pictures up top an the blog title is brilliant!

    Awesome review! Definitely intrigued!

  9. hi! thanks for following my blog.
    i really liked both this and elsewhere. quirky and cute.

  10. Thank you for the review! I was immediately drawn in by the covers for this, and it sounds like a great read.

  11. Ooh, this one sounds good. I hadn't heard of it before, too. Must check it out :)

  12. WOW I Felt exactly the same about Elsewhere!

  13. hey Annie - I know. Not sure why I didnt like Elsewhere more. It really is a cool plot...

  14. I read this book. Well, not really, I listened to it. The audiobook is awesome! This is the first time I try this and this is a total different experience. I love this book, I love the start, I love the end. I love the title. The middle was okay. I always keep it in my iPod.
    They made a movie from it, it's japanese. Not sure I like it.
    Have a nice day!

  15. @ Steff: really! A Japanese movie? That's kinda funny! I know what you mean about it sagging a bit in the middle. Thanks for the lovely comment! I had the best day :) Hope you have a cool day too!

    x Nomes

  16. Oh! Today I received a copy of MATCHED and Anna and the French Kiss. I won them during a giveaway. This is crazy I know! First time ever I entered a giveaway. Then I found my coupon which allows me to pick a book at VirginMegastore. I have lost it months ago. I'm so happy I found it. Aaand I remember most of my Histology lesson I learned yesterday! You're right! This was a coooool day! =D My comment is EPIC as you say. I like you answer comments. Bye!


Thanks for the commenty love :)