Patrick’s high-concept debut falls flat. Each morning at 4:33, London Lane’s mind resets, blanking out the past—but she...

FORGOTTEN

Imagine forgetting yesterday but remembering tomorrow.

Patrick’s high-concept debut falls flat. Each morning at 4:33, London Lane’s mind resets, blanking out the past—but she “remembers” her future. Doctors have been unable to solve her condition, so London stumbles through life faking normal, aided by notes and her mother and best friend (both of whom she “knows,” thanks to future memories). Every morning she must study her own life. Enter hot boy, but despite the growing relationship, London can’t remember him from her future. Luke’s inexplicable presence and a resurfaced actual memory set London on the trail of her own past, in which she discovers a tragic mystery. She conveniently remembers just enough to solve it, and it turns out there are happy endings all around, although only a weak “explanation” for London’s ability to effectively see the future. The flat main character and awkward necessities of writing to accommodate future memories hinder the promising premise. Present-tense narration in an adult voice (perhaps because London remembers forward?) and a personality is based only on who she will be make empathy difficult. This is compounded by the discomfiting circular logic throughout (she is friends with Jamie because she will be friends with Jamie; readers will still wonder why).

Pub Date: June 7, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-316-09461-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2011

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A successful romantic enterprise.

THE UPSIDE OF FALLING

High school seniors do the fake dating thing.

Brett Wells has always been focused on football. Brainy Becca Hart’s faith in love was destroyed by her parents’ divorce. The two have little in common other than being pestered by their friends and families about the lack of a special someone in their lives. They embark upon a “fake relationship,” but, predictably, it gives way to a real one. Debut author Light sprinkles in just enough charm and good-natured romance as the narrative bounces between Brett’s and Becca’s perspectives to keep readers engaged but not overwhelmed by twee sentiment. Becca is a much better developed character than Brett (handsome yet doofy, he has the complexity of a golden retriever), and her chapters are the novel’s highlights. Brett’s whole deal is a bigger pill to swallow, but readers who go with it will find a pleasant story. The novel is a syrupy ode to what it feels like to slowly fall for someone for the first time, and that mood is captured effectively. Becca and Brett have chemistry that feels completely natural, but sadly there are some late-in-the-game plot mechanics that feel forced. Fortunately, the author seems as uninterested in these disruptions as readers will be: Things are resolved quickly, and the novel ends on a high note. Whiteness is situated as the norm; main characters are white.

A successful romantic enterprise. (Romance. 12-16)

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-291805-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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Flat secondary characterizations and humdrum dialogue won’t keep teens from relishing this histrionic tale of love, death...

THE EDGE OF FALLING

Wealthy high school junior Mcalister “Caggie” Caulfield seeks relief from grief over her younger sister’s death by entering into a dangerous relationship with a mysterious boy.

After her little sister drowns in the pool at her family’s beach house in the Hamptons, Caggie wants to die too, to the point that she contemplates jumping off the roof at a friend’s party in Manhattan. A schoolmate named Kristen saves her at the last minute but nearly falls herself. Caggie actually ends up pulling Kristen back and is credited as a hero, which only makes her feel worse. In her grief, Caggie spurns the attentions of her best friend and devoted boyfriend, but she finds a kindred spirit in Astor, a tall, dark and damaged new boy at school who recently lost his mother to cancer. But what Caggie comes to realize about her relationship with Astor is that “[d]arkness stacked on darkness just makes it that much harder to find the light.” After another nearly fatal disaster with Astor at the beach house, Caggie is forced to confront the falsehoods she has told her family and friends and let go of her guilt over her sister’s death. Though Caggie makes a point of telling readers that her paternal grandfather called people like her “phony,” almost nothing is made of the connection to Catcher in the Rye, and it serves merely to make Caggie’s tale suffer by comparison.

Flat secondary characterizations and humdrum dialogue won’t keep teens from relishing this histrionic tale of love, death and lies. (Fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-3316-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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