Saturday, 17 July 2010

Forget You by Jennifer Echols

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. With her life 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."
Jennifer's previous romantic drama book, Going Too Far, is incredible. It's one of my favourite YA books of all time and because of it, I was really looking forward to this book. I wasn't let down. I do prefer Going Too Far, it would be hard to top it, or match it, but this is still a great read and if you liked Going Too Far then you should enjoy this one too. If you've not read it, then you should read this one as well as Going Too Far, as soon as possible.

Zoey is trying very hard to hold her life together. It's been falling apart for a while, but then one incident fractures it completely. Zoey makes a surprising, and not altogether smart, choice which causes her to try and do everything a certain way, the right way. But then the car crash happens and everything changes again. She's desperate to find out the truth of that night, without anyone, her best friends, her boyfriend, her swim team, finding out she doesn't know anything about that night. Or worse, that her family life is in crisis. Easier said than done. And strangely, the guy who's hated her for years, Doug, seems most willing to help.

I really enjoyed this book. Zoey's vulnerability and strong outer front drew me in and I had a hard time putting the book down. She's got a lot of issues to deal with, a lot of weight resting on her shoulders when it shouldn't be. I really felt for her as she struggled to figure out the events of that night and what happened to her, and also as she tried to deal with her family as they fell apart.

I think my favourite thing about Jennifer's work is how well she manages to write characters that come alive on the page. Love them, hate them, get mad at them, feel their pain, whatever it is, you feel it. I just feel like I get really involved with her stories and characters. The plot here is intense and troubled. Zoey doesn't make things easy for herself and some less-than-smart decisions make matters worse. But at the same time I could see exactly where she was coming from and what made her make the choices she did, even if they weren't all that great, or down right dumb. I felt so bad for her knowing those decisions were going to make things worse for her and knowing they had to happen anyway. And Doug and Zoey play so well off of each other as well. The chemistry between them slowly changes and grows in intensity as Zoey begins to figure out what happens adding more and more to both their characters.

I love how the characters grow and change through the book, most learning from some of the mistakes they've made and coming out better for them on the other side. That's how life is, people screw up, learn, grow and change, and it's not sugar coated here. It's a great read with fantastic characters and a gripping plot as Zoey attempts to discover the truth of the night of the crash and deal with it. The ending is intense, painful and brilliant. Incredibly hard to put down and I'd highly recommend it. 9/10

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