Title: Forget You
Author: Jennifer Echols
Publisher: MTV Books, a division of Simon and Schuster
Publish Date: July, 2010
Format: Paperback, 340 pages
From the publisher's website:
WHY CAN'T YOU CHOOSE WHAT YOU FORGET . . . AND WHAT YOU REMEMBER?
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. Feeling like her life is 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.
My take: Zoey is a teen with a selfish and philandering father and a mother who works as a public defender. She is on the school swim team, and she works at her father's park (along with many of her friends) during the summer. This summer, when things go totally south with her parents, her mother ends up having a nervous breakdown. Zoey walks in to find her mom overdosed on prescription meds, has to deal with getting her to the hospital and then with her father, who grudgingly has her come stay with him and the new girlfriend (who happened to also work at her father's park before getting cozy enough with the boss to get pregnant by him). When she is at the hospital, she sees one of her swim team mates, Doug, talking to his brother, who is also the policeman who accompanied her and her mother to the hospital.
Zoey's football player friend Brandon (who always talks to her about his troubles juggling this girl and that one) ends up becoming more than a friend when Zoey attends a beach party with the members of her swim team.
As she continues to attempt to cope with a mother who is hospitalized and mentally ill, as well as with a father who very obviously doesn't want to be bothered with her, Zoey copes the only way she knows how: by keeping up appearances, pretending nothing is wrong and not letting anyone know, even her best friends, Keke and Lila (twins), what is actually going on. She constantly worries that Doug will tell someone what he knows, and she has a boyfriend who isn't returning her texts or calls.
She and her friends decide to 'crash' a football players beach party, and she wakes up to find Doug calling to her to get out of her car after she's had a wreck with another swim team mate named Mike. Doug's leg is broken, and Zoey can't remember anything from the time she decided to go to the party until she woke up in her wrecked car. She also can't remember anything from the time the police arrived until she woke up in her own bed the next morning.
NOW she's also worried that people will know she lost her memory and that she may have a mental illness like her mother (thanks to some prompting from her horrid father). She determines to find out what actually happened that night without admitting to anyone that she can't remember.
I really didn't see how Zoey could be so smart and still be in such denial over certain things in her life. I feel that her character was only surface and no substance. Any teen I know that had a father who was so cruddy would STEW over it; it seems that Zoey barely gave it a thought. Her 'boyfriend' is nowhere around to give her a shoulder to cry on, and she barely notices it as neglect.
Although the premise of the story was interesting, Zoey just didn't feel real to me. I couldn't really identify with her, because even a teen would recognize many of the things that Zoey just doesn't "get". I can't really go into too many details about that without spoilers, so I will leave it at that.
My Middle Bebe Girl Jasmine, however, (she is 21), LOVED this book. She kept asking me, "WHAT happened that night? Just tell me; I really want to know". Of course, like any self-respecting reader, I told her, "You'll have to keep reading to find out".
This book is labeled on the publisher site as written for 13-18 year olds; however, I would personally not recommend it for a younger teen, as some of the subject matter is sexual.
I hadn't counted on Brandon kissing and telling. But he was drunk, and I forgave him.
Zoey's father the day after Zoey's accident:
He spat toward Ashley, "There goes Hawaii. We have to take her back to the hospital. And another hurricane's forming in the Gulf. God knows how long we'll be grounded if we miss this flight." ..... "You'd better be damn sure you have amnesia."
"You're an escapee from the loony bin," I said. "You're the butt of every joke ever told. You might as well be the chicken that crossed the road"
"It's a chemical imbalance," she whispered to the window.
Browse Inside the book
Jennifer Echols biography
My Book Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Middle Bebe Girl Jasmine's Book Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
BUY IT: On Amazon, at the publisher's website, and through various on and off-line booksellers. It is also available as an e-Book.