Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading: Loud Awake and Lost by Adele Griffin

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Just Finished Reading: Loud Awake and Lost by Adele Griffin

Loud Awake and Lost
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 :)

26 comments:

  1. I love your list of amnesia books-if someone just loves that plot point, then they've got a great list to choose from here! Unfortunately I am not one of those people. I agree that it can really make it hard to connect to the character, which was the case for me here. I did not feel much of anything for Ember and it really made the book suffer.

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    1. I kind of groan when I see another one, but I did think this book offered somewhat of a new spin, plus a cool setting and great writing.

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  2. This:

    "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."

    YEP--I am with you. And this is probably why I have shied away from this one--I am kind of over this storyline (except with Just One Year because, well, it was WILLEM.) But I do recognize that Griffin is a very good writer so perhaps, maybe, I shall reconsider at some point:)

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    1. Have you read Tighter? That book has no amnesia and a very cool twist...

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  3. Your review made me laugh and nod as I was reading. You're 100% right. Amnesia is a device that's really farfetched, and unless there's some amazing twist to it, I bypass these books. But I enjoyed the review, and at least you got to read an author whose style you like. :-)

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  4. Reminds me a little of Six Months Later, which I really enjoyed. Except there the amnesia is caused by a drug, but it made sense to me - like this one there was a logical explanation which I think made it much more realistic. I don't mind amnesia books, but only if they do logically work for me. That is basically across the board for all the books I read though.

    Tressa @ Tressa's Wishful Endings

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    1. I haven't read that one --but this book does not have an illogical premise, which I liked!

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  5. I actually like the sound of this one, even though like you I seem to have read loads of books about amnesia ☺

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  6. Loved your review! I think this book appeals to me. It is certainly something I like to read. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. It does have more of the feel of an issue book, so definitely try it. I think you might enjoy it...

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  7. I haven't read many amnesia books, at least not this year. I'm curious about this one just by the description, I want/NEED to know what happened! Since I'm not as burnt out on the amnesia thing I might like it. It's one I'll watch for at the library.

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    1. Definitely! The twist was not that shocking, but I did enjoy the story.

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  8. I've read a lot of amnesia ones too, and sounds like I should figure out a way to make it fresh then check this one out

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    1. It just seems like a plot device that has been used a lot in the past few years. Time for a break, I think :)

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  9. Wow, there really have been a lot of memory loss books. lol I usually enjoy them and this one is new to me!

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    1. They can be really fun …. or somewhat tedious. One of my favorites was Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson. It's an adult thriller..

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  10. lol - oh my gosh ... an image popped in my head of people 200 years from now judging us based on YA books. This sounds interesting, but not unique. If the writing is good, then that will make the difference for me. Great review, Jen.

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    1. Ha -- they'll think we were all in love triangles too ;)

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  11. Hah hah, it's so true--there ARE a lot of books about amnesiac teens it seems. For some reason I still enjoy the idea, even if the books themselves don't always execute the premise in a satisfying way. I like the sound of this one, I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the review!

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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    1. I sometimes enjoy the idea -- it's all in the execution of course, and I thought this book had a lot to offer...

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  12. I kind of enjoy Amnesia books but I do agree that after a while it gets repetitive. Regardless, I'm sucker for new beginning (& second chance romances!) and these types of books usually offer one or the other. I definitely check out this book, it might work for me. Thanks for sharing, Jen! Great review!

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  13. "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." <--- :D This made me giggle. I do like amnesia plots for the most part, but sometimes they strain credibility. I'm glad this one explains the amnesia somewhat, and I'm always a sucker for a hip Brooklyn setting.

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  14. I kind of have mixed feelings towards amnesia books. On the one hand, they're kind of interesting, because you have to read about a person getting used to everyday things in life, and trying to remember what their life was BEFORE the amnesia.
    But then, like you said, the 'I don't remember x' can get a little tedious at times. I mean, you don't want to read an entire book about someone complaining about not remembering/being angry at people for expecting them to remember/etc etc.
    But I do think that I like the sound of Loud Awake & Lost, and am going to add it to the TBR now :D

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