Thursday, November 14, 2013
Just Finished Reading: Loud Awake and Lost by Adele Griffin
by Adele Griffin
Published by Knopf BFYR
on November 12, 2013
Connect with the author: website | Facebook | Twitter
Summary from Goodreads: LOUD. There was an accident. Ember knows at least that much. She was driving. The car was totaled. She suffered back injuries and brain trauma. But she is alive. That's the only thing left she can cling to. AWAKE. Eight months later, Ember feels broken. The pieces of her former self no longer fit together. She can't even remember the six weeks of her life leading up to the accident. Where was she going? Who was she with? And what happened during those six weeks that her friends and family won't talk about? LOST. One by one, Ember discovers the answers to these questions, like a twisted game of dominos. And little by little, the person she used to be slips further and further away.
My take: Once in a while, I imagine people far in the future reading today's YA and drawing conclusions about us. One of the things I think they might assume about life in the 2000s is that a huge number of teenagers were wandering around with amnesia.
I've read a lot of YA in 2013 in which amnesia and/or memory loss play a big part -- Slated by Teri Terry, MILA 2.0 by Debra Driza, Earthbound by Aprilynne Pike, Unremembered by Jessica Brody, Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn, Just One Year by Gayle Forman, Conjured by Sarah Beth Durst, and Hysteria by Megan Miranda.
If my memory serves, I also read these YA amnesia books prior to 2013: One Moment by Kristina McBride, Mystic City by Theo Lawrence, Miracle by Elizabeth Scott, Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin, Forget You by Jennifer Echols, Glimmer by Phoebe Kitanidis, The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson, Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolfe, Rosebush by Michele Jaffe, and the Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. Whew -- and that list doesn't even include the books that use the memory wipe as a plot device. I can think of five or six of those, but since that plot element is often a spoiler, I won't list them.
Let's just say that before reading any more amnesia books, I could use a memory wipe myself so that they'll seem fresh and new again. So why did I read Loud Awake and Lost, you ask? Well, Adele Griffin can really write and I always find her books a pleasure to read. I liked the way the amnesia was handled. In some of the above books, the amnesia has an logical explanation and in others, the explanation is sketchy. I prefer category A. I liked the fact that Ember's amnesia had a physical and medical basis and that Loud Awake and Lost spent a fair amount of time discussing the medical and psychological aspects of TBIs (traumatic brain injuries.) Plus, I really enjoyed the hip Brooklyn setting and liked Ember as a character.
There were also things l liked a bit less. If you've read any of my other reviews of amnesia books, you might remember my complaints about them. First off, characters with amnesia are easy to sympathize with but hard to connect with as a reader. Plus, the whole "I can't remember" thing can get tedious. The plot twist in Loud Awake and Lost was not as surprising at the one in Griffin's book Tighter. And a few times I felt like the plot relied too heavily on coincidence, having characters just happen to run into each other, as if Brooklyn were a one-stoplight town.
As a reader of YA, I wish I could forget about amnesia for a while. But despite that, I enjoyed Loud Awake and Lost. It had a cool vibe, an appealing main character, and made amnesia more than just a plot device.
Have you read this? Have an opinion on amnesia books? Tell me in comments :)