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Text Difficulty:3 - 4
June 13, 2016
The Forgetting, a consequence-free night of lawlessness and bloodshed accompanied by a total loss of memory, comes to the walled city of Canaan every 12 years, and its citizens rely on their books to remember who they are afterward, unless they decide to start new lives. Teenage Nadia isn’t like the others: she remembers everything, and has been scaling the city’s walls for some time. When the charming Gray catches her and demands that she take him over the wall, she can’t refuse for fear of being reported to the Council. The setting is kept vague until the second half of the novel, when it truly finds its legs and a world-shattering twist is revealed. The sweet romance between Nadia and Gray is hard-earned and realistic, and Cameron (Rook) mines Nadia’s relationships with her family (including her heartbreak over her father’s abandonment) while steadily building tension as the Forgetting draws closer. Memory—and how it shapes identities and futures—is at the heart of this absorbing adventure, and the satisfying conclusion leaves an opening for further novels. Ages 12–up. Agent: Kelly Sonnack, Andrea Brown Literary.
Starred review from July 1, 2016
Every 12 years, the people of Canaan lose their memories and must reconstitute identity and relationships from books recording their personal histories--but with her memory secretly intact, Nadia dreads the chaos and violence the imminent Forgetting will bring.Last time, Nadia saw her father replace his family's books with fakes, leaving her mother to raise three daughters alone. Their residual unease has led her mother and older sister to reject Nadia, now 18; only little Genivee accepts her as family. Isolated by what she knows and can't tell, Nadia's become a silent--but observant--loner. She's witnessed floggings and the plight of the Lost: those who've awakened without books, nameless, forced into servitude, penned into fenced quarters at night. She's alarmed at Jonathan's growing power within the governing Council. When handsome, sociable Gray, the glassblower's son, discovers she forages outside city walls, he blackmails her into taking him along. Smarter and tougher than she'd thought, he becomes an ally and friend--but Gray has secrets too. Effective worldbuilding and strong characterization (even minor players have emotional depth) add substance to the fast-paced plot. A cosmetic resemblance to blockbuster teen dystopias allows Cameron to toy slyly with readers' expectations, but this is no retread. The Forgetting ensures racial categories have no meaning, but characters do display differences in skin and hair color (Nadia is blonde with light eyes). A well-crafted fable for our time: as we focus on filling the plate in front of us, we risk forgetting where it came from, what it cost, and what that means. (Science fiction.12-16)
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Starred review from June 1, 2016
Gr 8 Up-Every 12 years, the orderly city of Canaan undergoes the chaotic, bloody time known as the Forgetting. During these brief hours, people's memories are erased. If it were not for the books in which inhabitants are required by law to record the events of their lives, they would have no way of knowing what happened before the Forgetting, or even of knowing their names or who their families are. Nadia is different. She remembers. The next Forgetting is a few weeks away. The teen is determined to keep her family together and away from the ensuing anarchy, but how? As Nadia works to this end, she comes up with more questions than answers. Why is the supposedly benevolent head of the Council, Janis, having some people's houses ransacked? What happens when people write lies in their books, or their books are stolen? The glassblower's handsome son, Gray, says he wants to help Nadia, but can she trust him? When Nadia searches for the truth, it is more shocking than anything she could have imagined. This fantasy is a marvelous achievement. Cameron creates a world filled with chilling dystopian constructs while maintaining a sense that it is as solid and convincing as our own. Each scene plays out in cinematic clarity-from the pristine walls that encircle the city to the rising of the three moons, from the perpetually anguished face of Nadia's mother, who remembers pain but no facts, to the labyrinthine underground lair where Nadia discovers the truth. VERDICT This excellent work belongs in every collection.-Jennifer Prince, Buncombe County Public Libraries, NC
Copyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
- llpanda - What if everyone forgot who they were and you were the only one who remembered. Every twelve years everyone in Canaan forgets everything about themselves and each other. The only way to remember is their books tied to their wrists that they must write the truth in each day, but Nadia has a secret... she can remember. She remembers the Forgetting when her father tore the pages about her mother and sisters from his book and left them, she remembers hitting the glassblower's son Grant, and she remembers the horrible things that happen after all the Forgettings. But this time Nadia is going to come clean to her family about her memory. She's going to find a place where they can all live together away from the Forgetting so she goes over the forbidden wall. But time for Nadia is running out ,the Forgetting is coming closer and closer. Can she find somewhere safe in time? This is an amazing book! I recommend it to grades seventh and up.
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