Memento Nora by Angie Smibert
Nora, the popular girl and happy consumer, witnesses a horrific bombing on a shopping trip with her mother. In Nora’s near-future world, terrorism is so commonplace that she can pop one little white pill to forget and go on like nothing ever happened. However, when Nora makes her first trip to a Therapeutic Forgetting Clinic, she learns what her mother, a frequent forgetter, has been frequently forgetting. Nora secretly spits out the pill and holds on to her memories. The memory of the bombing as well as her mother’s secret and her budding awareness of the world outside her little clique make it increasingly difficult for Nora to cope. She turns to two new friends, each with their own reasons to remember, and together they share their experiences with their classmates through an underground comic. They soon learn, though, they can’t get away with remembering.
Memento Nora was a unique and twisted dystopian novel that I flew through in a couple of hours. The concept behind Memento Nora was very different from other dystopians and it was surprising to see how alike, yet so different, Nora's society was to our own. There are random bombings, organized social structure, and a pill you can take to forget, yet they also have bookstores, regularly attend school, and have a police force.
The novel was told in alternating perspectives of our three main characters- Nora, Micah, and Winter. Nora was very different from the other two. She was a popular, good student, with a well off family, and she was previously sheltered from some of the harsh truths of her society. When she is taken to the Therapeutic Forgetting Clinic after witnessing a bombing while shopping, she meets Micah for the first time. From there, her world begins to spin out of control. She spits out the forgetting pill, keeping her own memories as well as a secret her mother revealed before taking her own pill. I liked how Nora was strong enough to take her life into her own hands, but I think it came on a little fast. It was intriguing to read about the comic she begins with Micah and Winter; to see how they put keeping their memories and the things they discovered to good use, though.
While the book mainly focused on Nora and how she coped with everything that was happening- both with her family, friends, school, and the outside world- Micah and Winter each played a part as well. They were both interesting characters. The "rebels" of the school so to speak. I liked watching their relationships with Nora develop and seeing how brave they were in the face of danger.
There were quite a few secondary characters that tied into the story and either helped out the trio or brought them harm. A mystery was spun into the plot as well and all isn't revealed until the end. I liked how it kept me guessing and I was on edge throughout, hoping for the best for everyone.
The plot line was overall very well orchestrated and the ending was a huge cliffhanger. I think this could have been even better if it was a tiny bit longer. I didn't fully get to know and understand the three characters and some of their actions seemed a bit rushed. In all, I'm glad I picked up Angie's debut and fans of dystopian novels about teens making a difference will be all over this. The Forgetting Curve is definitely on my 2012 wishlist!
Overall: 3.5 out of 5 stars
April, 2011/Marshall Cavendish Children's Books/184 Pages/Young Adult/Book One
Source: Published (Hardcover)
Other books in the series: The Forgetting Curve (2012)