Summary and book reviews of The Memory Book by Lara Avery

The Memory Book

by Lara Avery

The Memory Book by Lara Avery X
The Memory Book by Lara Avery
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jul 2016, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2017, 368 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Bradley Sides
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About this Book

Book Summary

They tell me that my memory will never be the same, that I'll start forgetting things. At first just a little, and then a lot. So I'm writing to remember.

Sammie McCoy is a girl with a plan: graduate at the top of her class and get out of her small town as soon as possible. Nothing will stand in her way - not even the rare genetic disorder the doctors say will slowly steal her memories and then her health.

So the memory book is born: a journal written to Sammie's future self, so she can remember everything from where she stashed her study guides to just how great it feels to have a best friend again. It's where she'll record every perfect detail of her first date with longtime-crush Stuart, a gifted young writer home for the summer. And where she'll admit how much she's missed her childhood friend Cooper, and the ridiculous lengths he will go to make her laugh. The memory book will ensure Sammie never forgets the most important parts of her life - the people who have broken her heart, those who have mended it - and most of all, that if she's going to die, she's going to die living.

This moving and remarkable novel introduces an inspiring character you're sure to remember, long after the last page.

Excerpt
The Memory Book

If you're reading this, you're probably wondering who you are. I'll give you three clues.

Clue 1: You just stayed up all night to finish an AP Lit paper on The Poisonwood Bible. You fell asleep briefly while you were writing and dreamed you were making out with James Monroe, the fifth president and arbiter of the Monroe Doctrine.

Clue 2: I am writing this to you from the attic at the little circular window, you know the one, at the east end of the house, where the ceiling almost meets the floor. The Green Mountains have just recently turned green again after a freakish late-spring dump of wet, sloppy snow, and you can just barely see Puppy in the early dark, doing his morning laps up and down the side of our slope in his pointless, happy Puppy way. Sounds like the chickens need to be fed.

I guess I should do that. Stupid chickens.

Clue 3: You are still alive.

Do you know who you are yet?

You are me, Samantha Agatha McCoy, in the ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

The Memory Book has more than its share of pain, anger, and suffering, but it also has plenty of laughter, joy, and especially hope. It’s a novel that touches on the full spectrum of adolescent (and adult) emotions. Sammie’s story is special. It’s the kind of book that readers won’t want to put down and one that will be shared among groups of friends during these last weeks of summer.   (Reviewed by Bradley Sides).

Full Review (616 words).

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Media Reviews

School Library Journal
Starred Review. Fans of John Green's work and Jennifer Niven's All the Bright Places will be reaching for the tissue box at the book's tear-inducing end. Grades 9 and up.

Booklist
Though there are moments recorded in Sammie's book that seem like they were captured at a very unlikely time to journal, each entry adds to a story of self-discovery that's hard to put down.

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Avery's novel stands out for its strong characters, a heartbreaking narrative that shifts to reflect Sammie's condition, and a love story that will leave many readers in tears.

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. Readers will feel her mind and heart shifting with the illness. Indelible.

Author Blurb Adi Alsaid, author of Let's Get Lost and Never Always Sometimes
Things you will probably experience while reading this wonderful book: gut-wrenching hope, ugly-crying, the joy of finding beautiful moments in the midst of difficult times. Enjoy.

Author Blurb Emily Raymond, co-author with James Patterson of First Love
Lara Avery's brilliant novel about a girl who learns that her life might be ending - just when it feels like it's finally getting started - will open your heart and very possibly break it. Fierce Sammie McCoy is an unforgettable heroine, and as soon as I closed this book, I started to miss her. I still do.

Author Blurb Geoff Herbach, author of Stupid Fast and Fat Boy vs. the Cheerleaders
In Sammie McCoy, Avery has created a character that completely vibrates with energy. And Sammie's so wicked smart, you almost believe she will overcome everything. But that's not what this book's about. At some point possibility ceases to matter and Avery shows us to love all we already have. Such a moving read.

Reader Reviews

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Beyond the Book

Niemann-Pick Type C

A terminal diagnosis is difficult for any family to accept, but it's especially hard when the patient is a teenager. In Lara Avery's The Memory Book, Sammie McCoy is a bright and successful teen. She's going to a national debate tournament. She's her high school's valedictorian. She's going to NYU. Suddenly, though, Sammie begins to change. She has trouble remembering, and she can't control her body. Soon she is diagnosed with Niemann-Pick Type C (NPC), and her life takes an unexpectedly dark turn.

NPC (sometimes referred to less formally as "childhood Alzheimer's") is an especially cruel disease, even by terminal standards. According to the National Niemann-Pick Disease Foundation, the disease occurs when "patients are not able to ...

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