Title: Unremembered [Unremembered 1]
Author: Jessica Brody
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Time Travel, Romance, Mystery
Rating: 5 Stars
When freedom airlines flight 121 went down, they didn’t expect to find anyone. Alive, that is. But there was one survivor. Which is why a sixteen-year-old girl discovered floating among the wreckage—alive—is making headlines across the globe.
Even stranger is that her body is miraculously unharmed and she has no memories of boarding the plane. She has no memories of her life before the crash. She has no memories period.
Crippled by a world she doesn’t know, plagued by abilities she doesn’t understand, and haunted by a looming threat she can’t remember, Seraphina struggles to piece together her forgotten past and discover who she really is. Her only hope is a strangely alluring boy who claims to know her from before the crash. Who claims they were in love. But can she really trust him? Can she trust anyone?
WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW
It was a bit of an odd moment for me when I put this book down and got ready to write a review. I went into this book a little hesitantly—the first paragraph had some pretty flowery narrative and the present tense is one of my most loathed forms of tense. I remember setting the book aside and thinking “oh god, not another one of these.” assuming that the narrative was going to be so distracting that I’d never get past the first 10% of the book. That happens a lot when you read fiction for a living—but that isn’t how things turned out. I can honestly say that I loved this book.
Except for one typo (page 189), the narrative read smoothly. There weren’t a lot of technical or formatting errors. The characters and logic behind their decisions and dialogue were consistent, and the pace moved along at a decent speed. The story firmly stuck to it’s genres: YA, Sci-Fi, Time Travel, Romance, and Mystery… there were no left open plot holes or fumbles in the story telling that pulled me out of the narrative. Despite the deplorable tense, the book was well written, and I managed to enjoy it.
…and yet, when I sat down to write this review I noticed that on multiple book sites, this book has an array of low ratings. “Why is that?” I wondered. From what I can gather, the majority of that answer is: people either hated the tense, were expecting something other than what they got, or they were simply tired of reading amnesia based stories. I can’t argue against that. There are an array of amnesia-based stories out on the market, and people’s expectations are their own trouble. From what I read, the story every bit matches the description I was given on the back cover—and yes, the tense is awful. I hate present tense with a passion… but, having said that, it honestly didn’t bother me after the first three lines. This is one of those very rare cases where I think the tense worked. I got sucked into the story and didn’t even remember that I’d been reading present tense until I read a comment about it and had to go back and assure myself that this was a true statement.
All of that aside, when I get down to it: this was a good book. It’s very heavily mystery based, with themes of science fiction, genetic engineering, and time travel involved. There’s some romance—though it’s clean and really downplayed quite a bit. Overall, Unremembered was a story that posed a question: what makes a person Human, and if those things are fabricated in a lab or removed… does that make someone less Human?
This isn’t the type of book to have you gripping your seat with the action sequences or squealing in joy over the romance, but it is a book that will make you think and wonder, and care for it’s characters. Though it’s YA, as an adult I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I also wouldn’t have a problem handing it over to my 11-year-old. I’d recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a good, lazy afternoon read. It’s perfect for the YA crowd, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the next book in the series. This is going on my to-keep shelf.