A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Memory Book is a bittersweet story about Sammie, a high school senior who's diagnosed with a disease that will make her lose her memory and weaken her body. There's a lot of strong language, especially "f--k," "s--t," and variations of each. Sexy stuff is mild, with infrequent kissing and light making out described vaguely. Sammie drinks to excess once and remembers four years ago when she drank so much she threw up. Attitudes about teen drinking and smoking are matter of fact and consequences aren't mentioned. An important, likable character is almost always mentioned as having, smoking, or smelling like marijuana. He suffered a consequence in the past, but it didn't change his habit. There are strong positive messages about embracing the present and how getting up and trying again is what matters when you fail. Sammie learns how to be a better friend, to be less selfish, and to embrace life, even when it's not the one she planned.
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What's the story?
In THE MEMORY BOOK, Sammie's got the rest of senior year all figured out: Take the debate team to the national competition, ace all her finals so she'll be valedictorian, and then get out of her small town ASAP and start college at New York University. No problem for someone as super-organized and dedicated as Sammie -- until she's diagnosed with Niemann-Picks Type C, a disease that causes Alzheimer-like symptoms in children. No one can predict how fast the disease will progress, so high-achieving, go-getter Sammie refuses to put any of her future plans on hold. But she does decide to keep a "memory book," a sort of a journal to her future self and a way of making sure she'll remember everything, good and bad, that happens as the disease takes hold. As Sammie's plans for the future start to slip away, can she find meaning and happiness in the present?
Is it any good?
Author Lara Avery's engaging heroine Sammie turns what could've been a weepy illness story into a journey toward learning to cope when life takes an unexpected turn. The Memory Book takes us inside Sammie's mind as it starts to betray her, but Sammie's relatable voice also takes us along with her emotions as she learns how to be a better person. And even as her mind and body change, her voice remains refreshingly authentic all the way. Teens will sigh along with the blossoming romance between Sammie and her longtime crush, Stuart. Keep a box of tissues handy.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the swearing in The Memory Book. Does it seem realistic to you? Why do you think there's so much in this book?
What are your plans or hopes for the future? How do you think you'd cope if you had to completely change them? Or have you already dealt with something like that? How did you handle it?
Maddie says that Sammie was just using her to get ahead on debate team. Does Sammie become a better friend to Maddie? How?
- Author: Lara Avery
- Genre: Romance
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, High School
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Poppy
- Publication date: July 5, 2016
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 15 - 18
- Number of pages: 368
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: July 13, 2017
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