Title: Memento Nora
Author: Angie Smibert
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish
May Contain Spoilers
A teen struggles to hold onto her memories-and her identity-in a world that wants everyone to forget-and keep on shopping. Three dynamic teens come together to create a comic book of their memories. Ages 13+
Memento Nora clocks in at just under 200 pages, and though the book is short on length, it is long on providing food for thought. Imagine a future United States where the government not only condones, but encourages drug use to help its citizens forget all of the unpleasant memories that might interfere with daily pursuits like shopping. Got to keep that economy moving somehow! Have you witnessed a terrorist attack while visiting the mall to spend your hard earned dollars? Just stop in the local Therapeutic Forgetting Clinic and take a pill to forget the traumatic event!
When Nora witnesses a terrorist attack while she’s shopping with her mother, her life changes in ways she never expected. Her first trip to the local TFC doesn’t go quite as smoothly as expected, and after hearing her mother discuss the memory she wants gone, Nora rebelliously spits out her pill. She doesn’t want her mother to suffer without someone knowing the truth behind their perfect family. This one defiant act sets Nora on path of underground rebellion, and threatens her future and that of her family.
I loved the concept of this story! See something upsetting or that you don’t want to remember, and that memory can be gone with a swallow. It keeps public protests down, too, as outspoken citizens are rounded up and sent to detention centers and their memories are forcibly erased. Nora never gave much thought to her society as a whole – she is privileged and she has everything she could ever want. By all appearances, she has the perfect life. When she hears her mother’s memory, the one she wants to forget, Nora can’t help but want to remember it. Someone has to. Someone has to help her mom, and Nora is determined that it will be her.
After Nora gets involved with Micah and Winter, she has an outlet to tell her story. Micah suggests they create a comic chronicling Nora’s visit to the TFC. She impulsively agrees to his suggestion, and the two of them are suddenly high on the government’s radar. If they get caught, they are in great danger of being thrown in a detention center, or having all of their memories erased forever. Neither can stop what they have begun, however, and they keep creating new chapters for the comic, exposing the truth behind the government and the terrorist attacks.
I found this a very suspenseful read, and I couldn’t put it down. The story is told through the alternating view points of Nora, Micah, and Winter. I liked each of the characters, and enjoyed all for their stories. Nora is the most developed character, though, and her voice drives events forward. She goes from being blissfully ignorant to quietly rebellious, and her motivations are convincing, and initially selfless. She doesn’t want her mother’s suffering to be forgotten, and she puts herself at considerable risk to ensure that this doesn’t happen.
Memento Nora is a great start to Angie Smibert’s dystopian series, and I am so curious to see where the story will go next. Things didn’t look all that promising for our little band of rebels! Plus, anyone who can work Ninja Warrior believably into their story gets an extra brownie point.
Check back tomorrow for an interview with Angie Smibert!
Review copy provided by publisher