01 December 2011

YA Book Review: Notes to Self by Avery Sawyer

Release Date: 20 November 2011
Publisher: Self-Published
Format: eBook
Source: Author

Get a copy! Amazon | Smashwords

Goodreads description:
Two climbed up. Two fell down.

One woke up.

In the aftermath of a traumatic brain injury, Robin Saunders has to relearn who she is and find out what happened the night everything changed.
My Thoughts...

I have a tendency so say things like "I don't really enjoy contemporary YA" and then realize later that I clearly don't know what I'm talking about.  I love a good emotional roller coaster of a book--the kind of books that tugs on your heart-strings and makes you so engrossed in the characters' well-being that you can't stop turning the pages.  This week, Notes to Self became one of those books.

I don't believe everything happens for a reason. But I still search for reasons anyway. It's like I don't want to admit that maybe everything really is totally random...that people are just molecules in the air, bumping into each other and floating away again.
Robin is having trouble coping.  She climbed up a theme park ride in the middle of the night with her best friend and everything went wrong.  Emily is still in a coma and Robin thinks that maybe, just maybe, if she could remember what happened that night things would be different.  Maybe Emily would wake up.  Maybe the kids at school would stop calling her "Short Bus."  Maybe she could let life move on to whatever is coming next.  But she can't--not until she figures out what happened that night...and along the way learns more about herself and her best friend than she could possibly imagine.
I think insomnia is a sign that a person is interesting.
At the suggestion of her doctor, Robin begins writing notes to herself to help her remember things--from mundane daily tasks such as washing her hair to snippets of memories about her past and her personality.  I found Robin a really interesting character to read about because she doesn't even really know who she is after the accident so the reader discovers her personality right alongside her.  It also opens up the possibility of changing and growing where maybe before she never would have imagined it.  It was intense watching her get picked on at school because of how much she was suffering--you just want to reach out and hit those other kids.
It's going to be okay.  That's what everyone says when they really have no idea how it's going to be.
The side characters, such as Robin's mom and her friend, Reno, make a huge difference in this story and how Robin regains her memories.  I liked how each of them played into her healing process and experiencing the memories that they sparked for her throughout.  Reno is such a fabulous friend, willing to be there for her all the time even though they had, apparently, not been as close lately.

There were a few nit-picky things that bothered me just the slightest bit about this novel, one thing being a tad more use of slang than I generally like (i.e. the use of "totes"...which I say all the time but for some reason don't expect characters to say.  Double standard, I know).  However, overall, I enjoyed this read quite a bit.  It reminded me a lot of If I Stay by Gayle Forman and Between Here and Forever by Elizabeth Scott with the unique twist that the MC is dealing with a traumatic brain injury herself.  It added an extra layer of intrigue that really drew me in. I think fans of emotional drama in contemporary YA will enjoy this novel and it's truly a steal for only $3.99!


Supernaturalsnark said...

"and then realize later that I clearly don't know what I'm talking about"

This made me laugh because I've realized the exact same thing about myself on many an occasion! I for some reason avoid contemporary YA because I've convinced myself I won't like it as much as my beloved paranormal YA but then I read a book like this and I find I'm just completely wrong. Fail:) I love the sound of this one (aside from the slang), thanks so much for the review!

Jessi said...

LOL! It's easy to fall into that 'trap'. :)

Yeah, the slang just pops up here and there and throws you for that momentary loop.  It really wasn't too bad in the overall scheme of things. (And the word "bazinga" was used once and I had a laughing fit because all I could think about was Big Bang Theory...)

Flo said...

Thanks for the review. I'm really interested in this book now, I think I will add it to my TBR list :)

Jessi said...

It was a really interesting read and I flew through it. Hope you get to check it out! :)

Curlypow3 said...

I haven't managed to read my copy yet, but your review has made me bump it up my list, thanks

Katie @ Magic is in Words said...

Well, I'm happy that you enjoyed it more than I did. Great review! :)
-Magic is in Words 

Reflections of a Bookaholic said...

Oh wow that is a steal.  Great review.  I think it is okay to be nitpicky in reviews.  You are just giving readers a heads up.  Thanks bunches :)

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