Nora, the popular girl and happy consumer, witnesses a horrific bombing on a shopping trip with her mother. In Nora’s near-future world, terrorism is so commonplace that she can pop one little white pill to forget and go on like nothing ever happened. However, when Nora makes her first trip to a Therapeutic Forgetting Clinic, she learns what her mother, a frequent forgetter, has been frequently forgetting. Nora secretly spits out the pill and holds on to her memories. The memory of the bombing as well as her mother’s secret and her budding awareness of the world outside her little clique make it increasingly difficult for Nora to cope. She turns to two new friends, each with their own reasons to remember, and together they share their experiences with their classmates through an underground comic. They soon learn, though, they can’t get away with remembering.
OPINION: 4 STARS
The Short Version:
Creative and playing on plenty of concepts in our society today, Memento Nora is a smoothly blended story of rebellion, a little romance, and coming of age. Alternative perspective between a few characters and giving distinctive mentalities to each, the reasons for the main events of the story and the character’s motivations are clear and understandable. The writing holds a certain element to it that brings the setting alive, pulling the reader in to this different world.
The Extended Version:
Nora is a very easy character to like, and though she seems to be popular the reasons for it aren’t presented beyond it simply being how things are. Despite this, she isn’t a jerk or snob, and doesn’t let social norms completely dictate her life. She is open to new things in a way that not only builds her character but propels the plot. With a soft intensity and great perception, she doesn’t always take things as face value.
Micah is a rebel without having the usual bad boy qualities, and has plenty of shared characteristics with Nora that make the two a very great pair. A fantastic artist, he is the spark for the big points of the plot without being the scapegoat or easy explanation. Micah has a bold voice and presence, while still being gentle on the edges in a way that makes him not only relatable but endearing as well.
The opening of this book builds the setting and dystopian world fast but easily, letting the reader understand from the start. From the day to day occurrences to the world’s way to solve things, Smibert has laid things out with a fantastic progression. The plot has a steady pace, balancing character development with action for an engaging overall read. From new alliances to unexpected betrayals, there is a range of things in this book to keep the pages turning.
This is a book that most definitely will make the reader think. Having just enough science in it to explain things without being preachy or too much, it’s a setting and world that is easy to imagine with our current scientific advancements. Scary in full scope but understandable in theory, Smibert has woven a crafty story that echoes far too much of our modern world. With the bulk of this story wrapped up but ending in a very interesting way that leaves the reader with a smirk, doors are opened for the next installment without the torment of not closing things out.
Source: Received for review from author/publisher in exchange for an honest review
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish Children's Books
Publication Date: April 1, 2011