Tatum will risk everything for the sake of Weston’s memories.
Now, in this fifth series installment, the unexplained teen suicide epidemic has abated, and the Program to erase memories has been shuttered. The former patients, called returners, are being reintroduced to their normal lives and to high school with whatever remains of their recall. Tatum is heartbroken that her boyfriend, Weston, doesn’t remember her or the love they shared before he was taken into the Program. He is desperate to remember his life, so Weston and Tatum, both white, decide to try an experimental procedure called the Adjustment. This will implant Tatum’s recollections into Weston’s brain patterns, which will, they hope, cause his own memories to grow. As a few reminiscences return to Weston, the trade-off seems high, as Tatum starts to have excruciating headaches, for which her grandmother gives her questionable treatment. Tatum’s impassioned present-tense narration, especially during the implantation sessions, gives urgency to the story and to the details of the relationship she shared with Weston. Like the others of the series, this is a well-crafted page-turner that manifests surprise at every turn. Via the concepts of free will and memory manipulation, the storyline fancifully explores existential identity, with a bit of a paranoid edge. The fiction is further layered with the dubious appeal of romantic destiny.
An intensely dark teen romance set within a tale of communal identity crisis. (Dystopian romance. 14-18)