Friday, May 27, 2011

Forgotten by Cat Patrick

I remember forwards. I remember forwards, and forget backwards. My memories, bad, boring, or good, haven't happened yet. So I will remember standing in the fresh-cut grass with the black-clad figures surrounded by stone until I do it for real. I will remember the funeral until it happens - until someone dies. And after that, it will be forgotten. 

Here's the thing about me: I can see my future, but my past is blank. I see the future in flashes, like memories. I remember what I'll wear tomorrow, and a car crash that won't happen till this afternoon. But yesterday has evaporated from my mind - just like the boy I love. I can't see him in my future. I can't remember him from my past. But today, I love him. And I never want to forget how much.

Forgotten is right in the pocket for the current YA climate. It offers a contemporary storyline with a twist that gives the book a vague supernatural vibe (London can “remember” the future). The sale of Forgotten went down in a heated bidding war and the rights were bought internationally. Already it has been optioned and early reviews report the hype is true ~ to expect originality, a swoony romance and a wild twist towards the end of the book.

I was incredibly optimistic about Forgotten. It sounds utterly fabulous and different and the Aussie cover is gorgeous.

London Lane can see her future but her past is blank. Each day she wakes up she cannot remember what she did the day before (or any days prior). It’s a fabulously intriguing premise ~ also absolutely HUGE and baffling with mind-boggling practicalities. Cat Patrick dives straight into the story without much explanation as to why or how.

A quick snapshot of what the plot consists of:

future memories (flash-forwards) of a mysterious funeral and London trying to take notes and investigate.

London falling in love with the super gorgeous new boy at school (falling again and again)

London and her best friend, Jamie. Jamie is making some relationship choices and London can foresee just how it will all end in tragedy. There’s tension in London and Jamie’s relationship ~ plus London trying to tinker and see if she can change the future in her memories.

There’s lots of school scenes, date scenes and home scenes with London and her mum (her parents are divorced ~ another half mystery London is unsure about).

Patrick writes well ~ her prose is smooth and tangle-free ~ no convoluted sentimental passages that bog the plot down. The prose makes it such an effortless and appealing reading experience. It’s succinct and rather pleasant. In fact, the entire book feels FRESH.

While there is a slight “mean girls” plot-line it doesn’t feel cliche. Likewise ~ the friend and family relationship dramas are handled with more subtlety than melodrama. The characters are immensely like-able (the secondary characters stay firmly in the background, as their 2D selves ~ just as well as there was enough going on with the main characters to care too much about the minor players).

As for the romance (which is being pushed as a huge selling point) ~ it’s fun and flirty and PG. Because London meets Luke for the first time day after day ~ there’s plenty of new revelations about how gorgeous and hot and incredibly awesome he is. While I didn’t personally swoon over him ~ he was like-able character (though at times a bit of an enigma) and the constant references to his hotness didn’t bother me (as other authors who attempt the same thing can often grate on my nerves) ~ I think because I liked London I mostly thought it was sweet watching her gush every day.

So the thing is:

I am always prepared to go along with an unlikely premise for the sake of a compelling story. I adore guilty pleasure reads and am such a sucker for YA romance. However, I was constantly unnerved while reading Forgotten by plot holes, inconsistencies and a lack of explanation of London’s condition. Things constantly niggled at my mind and pulled me out of the story again and again which really hindered me settling in. I did not feel like I was a part of the story alongside the characters (which is how my favourite books make me feel). I felt like I was watching it all unfold from a very detached distance while scratching my head.

In all fairness, it is a doozy of a premise, hugely ambitious and I’m guessing practicalities had to be ignored just for the sake of continuing on with the story. No one wants to get bogged down in the nitty gritty and science of it all but, for me, it still needs to be plausible and consistent.

It wasn’t just that premise did not make sense, but entire plot points would unravel if you give yourself a chance to think about them. Likewise, other plot points are unnecessary (such as all the elaborate note-taking and reading of said notes everyday) if London truly can see in the future (her future self could have read all the notes...) Character relationships seemed implausable and the logic of the whole thing was a little bit “what the?” No one (teachers, friends, doctors, people in general) even knew of her condition (apart from her mum and Jamie her friend) and no one seemed to notice London inconsistently fudging her way through school (and life).

As for the ending. OH MY GOSH. It wasn’t the flipped-out spinney twist I had heard about ~ it was a sudden tacked on drama. The ending was convoluted and rushed and felt more like a weird extended epilogue-style run-down of (unlikely) unexpected events. Until then, it was a contemp read with a twist and then it nearly changed genre altogether ~ but with no suspense or foreshadowing to prepare the reader (or build anticipation) for the shift. I do not think it was handled with finesse at all ~ it was as if I was suddenly reading a different book. There was barely any integration of the climax with the rest of the book. It almost felt as if Patrick was nearing the end ~ thought up a whole fantastic scenario and wrote a synopsis for it as the resolution.

Recommended: Despite all the things I loved about this book (there is a lot of things to love), ultimately I felt like I fudged my way through and contrary to all the hype I am pretty much disappointed (& a little perplexed at all the rave reviews). This book was not for me and yet I think teens will love it regardless.

I am very curious to see how other readers feel about this one (let me know if you have read it :)

Forgotten @ goodreads
Forgotten @ Hardie Egmont Grant

Forgotten is out in Australia now (I even saw it in Big W today)


  1. I'm glad you posted in on your blog! I think it's a great review and you managed to articulate the issues I had with it.

  2. I am unsure if I want to read this anymore since I had high hopes. Love your review though Nomes. Gives me a clear picture of what it is really like underneath all that hype. Thanks Nomes :)

  3. I really loved this one! I haven't posted my review yet, as I'm taking part in a blog tour for the book so I have to hold off a while. I've seen quite a few people mention plot holes, but I can't say it's something that bothered me. Maybe I was so caught up in the story, or maybe even though I knew that everything wasn't adding up 100%, I allowed for a little artistic licence. Then ending was unexpected to me too, but I enjoyed it. I just loved the whole premise of this book, and the romance, and well, just everything!

    I enjoyed reading your review too. You make a lot of good points, and if I ever go back and read the book, I'll do so with a more critical eye for sure. But on my first reading, I was definitely swept away by the magic of this one.

    This may be my longest comment ever on a review... :D

    I love the Aussie cover of the book. It's my favourite of all the covers for this book.

  4. A very unique premise. This makes me think of, I believe it's an Algonquin- no Amazonian- concept of time. People are standing with their backs to the future, facing the past. (As opposed to the past being behind us.) They only see the future as they back into it and can see it before them.

    Not the same thing as the concept that this book explores but a paradigm shift of sorts, nonetheless.

  5. dang, that is such an awesome premise! sorry to hear it didn't come together for you... might have to check this one out after I get through my massive to-read list, eep x.x

    (@Suze -- that's how Greeks viewed time too right? cause we could see past and not future so we must be facing the past? I think... not sure! :) )

  6. I don't think I have read a lot of positive things about this book. The sad thing is I was actually expecting a lot from this book :( It does have such a great premise; I am sorry that it doesn't live up to the hype.

  7. The premise sounds good, but plot holes drive me insane. Hmm...

  8. It sounds like it lacked a little world building.
    But I agree that the premise sounds complicated and amazing at the same time -though it does remind me a little of 50 fist dates.


    Thanks for the honest review.

  9. I have this one on my TBR list because of the premise, but now you have me wondering. I'm the type that will probably be all over the plot holes. Thanks for an honest review!!

  10. Mmm this book looks very interesting.
    I think I might give it a try.
    I like the sound of London falling in love with Luke over and over again.
    And like you said i like the mix of contempory with a bit of twist it gives it an extra dimension.
    I'll be looking for this one in the shops!
    Great review as usual :)
    - Abbeys bookshelf

  11. This sound kind of disappointing, I don't think a great, complex device can excuse poor structure. I'd probably give this a read just because the premise is so interesting.

  12. I am so glad you reviewed this! I have had it on my to-be-read pile for a while, as we got an advance copy at work months ago. I LOVE the sound of the premise for it, but I think it sounds like it could be done not so well. Might still give it a go sometime soon, but we'll see. Amazing review, as always, Nomes!

  13. I really like how honest your reviews are. They're balanced well with good and iffy points. Nice review! :)

  14. Hm, this one looks so good (and it has such a pretty cover, too!) - too bad it's a bit disappointing. I still think I'll try it out, just to see what I think. Thanks for your honest evaluation!

  15. Hi Nomes. I haven't read this but it caught my eye as I got the postcard at the State Library and was intrigued. Isn't that cover drop-dead gorgeous!

    It sounds like it would be quite a confusing book. Not an easy, relaxing read. I don't think I'll read it, as have plenty ongoing ATM. Thanks for a great review as always.


  16. That's the problem. SO many of us expected it to be amazing. And then when you finished reading it you kind of felt lost. All those expectations gone out the window. It's sad more than anything else because the book had the potential to be amazing. Probably more so when I look back if it was written as an adult book. When you have an interesting concept such as this with so much potential you have to know that there is only so much you can do with YA centred book. LOVE this review Nomes!

  17. I just bought this one so I'm glad you enjoyed parts of it :) The premise grabbed me and I'll be interested to see how she explains everything or doesn't.

    Great review :)

  18. Hi! Haven't stopped by your blog in a while - sorry. Making up for lost time now.

    This book's just come out in the UK, and my mind's boggling a bit about how the narrative works - is it written sort of backwards like the film Memento, or is it like she writes down each day and forgets it the next? Guess I'll have to read it to find out.


Thanks for the commenty love :)