YA Contemporary Romance
Review copy purchased
Recommend to students: Yes, with reservations (Content: sex, language)
BLURB: WHY CAN’T YOU CHOOSE WHAT YOU FORGET…AND WHAT YOU REMEMBER? There’s a lot Zoey would like to forget. Like how her father has knocked up his twenty-four-year old girlfriend. Like Zoey’s fear that the whole town will find out about her mom’s nervous breakdown. Like darkly handsome bad boy Doug taunting her at school. Feeling like her life is about to become a complete mess, Zoey fights back the only way she knows how, using her famous attention to detail to make sure she’s the perfect daughter, the perfect student, and the perfect girlfriend to ultra-popular football player Brandon. But then Zoey is in a car crash, and the next day there’s one thing she can’t remember at all—the entire night before. Did she go parking with Brandon, like she planned? And if so, why does it seem like Brandon is avoiding her? And why is Doug—of all people— suddenly acting as if something significant happened between the two of them? Zoey dimly remembers Doug pulling her from the wreck, but he keeps referring to what happened that night as if it was more, and it terrifies Zoey to admit how much is a blank to her. Controlled, meticulous Zoey is quickly losing her grip on the all-important details of her life—a life that seems strangely empty of Brandon, and strangely full of Doug.
REVIEW: Wow. This book was fantastic! Jennifer Echols is now on my list of must-read authors. Before picking up this book, I’d never read her work but there were a ton of great recommendations out there from both bloggers and Tweeters I trust, so I bought it. One of the best purchases of the year.
Zoey is a great character. While she’s a “rich girl”, head of the swim team, and very smart, she’s also personable and the kind of girl I could’ve been friends with in high school. And her life’s not perfect–her dad cheated on her mom with a 24-year-old (divorce!), Mom has a nervous breakdown (Dad commits her. Yeah, he’s a great guy *insert sarcasm*.), and Zoey’s completely freaked out because she doesn’t want anyone to know about Mom. But Doug does. Doug, who was in juvie, who hates her, knows, though he promises not to tell.
Unwilling to talk to her friends (the twins, who are terrible gossips and would blab Zoey’s secret to everyone), Zoey tries to act normal, hanging with her friends at a beach party (this isn’t actually normal for her), hooking up with Brandon, someone who she’s always considered a friend (again, not normal for her–she has a rep for not putting out). After they hook up, she thinks Brandon is her boyfriend, even though he doesn’t call, they don’t go out, and he pretty much doesn’t talk to her at school. He’s even got his eyes on another girl, but Zoey doesn’t notice. She’s acting pretty stupid here and, if I were one of her friends, I would have to call her on it. But her friends are only thinking of Brandon’s hottness and not of his bad, unboyfriend-like behavior. (Bad friends!)
After a football game, the swim team crashes the “boys only” beach party. Brandon is there so Zoey decides to go. The next thing she knows, she’s being pulled from her wrecked car by Doug (who’s acting all nice and tender–very unlike him–and she’s feeling sparks of attraction). Then she wakes up in bed. Amnesia. She can’t remember anything between the football game and the next morning. Doug’s acting weird, Brandon’s still avoiding her, her friends are distant, and her dad, who knows of the amnesia, threatens to lock her in the loony bin with her mother if she actually can’t remember (oh, yeah. Such a nice guy).
There were times I really wanted to shake Zoey–she can’t seem to see what’s going on right in front of her face. I mean, Brandon’s obviously not interested in her, and something went on/is going on between her and Doug (Doug’s adorable, sweet and kind of broken because of his dad and other things). But she’s afraid to ask outright or tell anyone that she really can’t remember (okay, that’s understandable since her dad threatened to lock her up). She won’t talk to her friends (why, I don’t really understand) and she won’t ask Doug, mostly because she thinks he’ll then turn around and tell everyone about her mother. So frustrating–come on, Zoey, talk to someone!
But that’s what makes this book great. There’s amazing tension and, while you may want to strangle the girl or knock some sense into her, she actually has a reason for doing what she does. Plus, what girl hasn’t been completely stupid over a guy, despite all the signs pointing to his being a jackwagon? (love that word! It just cracks me up.) Read it. It’s one of my top recommendations for 2010.
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