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Review: The Memory Jar

Elissa Janine Hoole - The Memory Jar
Expected publication: April 8th, 2016 by Flux
Pages: 312
Genres: Realistic Fiction, Young Adult
Find on: Amazon, Goodreads, Book Depository
Rating: 4/5

Since the accident, Taylor's memory has been fuzzy. But at least she's awake. Who knows what her boyfriend, Scott, will remember when he comes out of the coma. Will he remember that Taylor was driving the snowmobile when it crashed? Will he remember the engagement ring? Her pregnancy?

Will he remember that she tried to break up with him?

Taylor doesn't know. And she doesn't know if she wants him to remember. Plenty of things happened that night and before—secrets wrapped in secrets—that she'd prefer be forgotten.

Facing choices she'd rather ignore, Taylor searches for something more solid than whispers and something bigger than blame to face the future and forgive herself.

Not quite sure where to start.

Something I'd first like to distinguish, though. In all - if not most - of the pregnancy YAs I've ever read, the girls are automatically willing to keep their babies, practically glowing with their unexpected news, and happily picking out names for their future spawn baby from a book. 'Cause obviously abortion and adoption are giant no-nos. This YA is a revelation.

When Taylor discovers she's pregnant, she's absolutely destroyed, she saw herself doing so much more with life. so when she proceeds to tell her boyfriend, Scott, he delivers the atypical "We used a condom" speech before springing a proposal on her. For whatever reason, Scott and Taylor decide to take a snowmobile ride among the slopes without their helmets, then crash. Taylor is mostly fine. Scott, however, hits his head on hard ice. For a long while, the accident remains hazy to Taylor. She visits Scott day after day as he lays in a coma, shares old stories with him, and frequently quarrels with his younger brother, Joey.

At first, I didn't like Taylor. At all. She was bratty and indecisive. She picked at Scott's little nothings. And whenever she divulged an insecurity, I got to the point where I was like, "Get over yourself. GET OVER YOURSELF." But as she shared deeper, my heart clenched.

We learn more about Scott through flashbacks: the THEN. To be fair, he seemed like a pretty decent guy, especially with all the topsy-turvy roads Taylor led him through. Literally. His family was mostly supportive of their relationship, despite the fact Taylor was incredibly standoffish toward them. But after confessing her pregnancy, he begun bottling profound secrets.

While awaiting updates on Scott's health, she and Scott's brother, Joey, build a sort-of connection. Yeah, I know. This isn't something I normally like, believe me. I think someone pouncing on a sibling/cousin/possible brother-in-law while their babe is comatose is the nastiest, but I kinda shipped it? I'm not sure how to thoroughly explain without spoilers. Joey was a sweetheart. Like Danny from Full House.

Back to Taylor. I liked her. Well, actually, she grew on me. She's realistic. She suffers. She's relatable. She's someone who touches the heart. One minute, I felt like laughing at the absurdity of her jokes, then in the next, she shared her heavier insecurities and ambitions, I could've reached into the book and squeezed her into a hug. What a star of an MC.

If I can criticize anything - though it's something very, very minor - it's probably chapter length. The chapters are short and POVs are exchanged frequently. Occasionally, a side-character was thrown their own chapter, and I think this should've simply remained Taylor's story.

Otherwise, I very much like the story. It's not for the faint heart. The ending was so, so devastating but so breathtakingly honest. Add this to your TBR ASAP.


  1. Glad to hear that the protagonist in this novel deviated from the all-too-perfect responses of teenage in YA and offered a more realistic approach. Sounds like a difficult but rewarding read, glad you enjoyed it!

    Aentee at Read at Midnight

    1. I did! It was so, so lovely and realistic, especially since it involves such tough topics. Thanks, Aentee! :D

  2. Hah, you must have been reading different YAs, because a lot of the teen pregnancy I've read were very angst-driven (How to Love by Katie Cotugno comes to mind). It would be interesting to read this one, because you made me curious just how mind-blowing the ending can be. It does make me feel a bit weird that she's building a connection with someone else while the father of her baby is lying comatose though O_O

    Faye at The Social Potato

    1. OMG FAYE YOU HAVE TO. It's so great! It's actually up on NetGalley now! I actually have read How to Love! It must've slipped my mind. I was thinking more along the lines of Mandy from Sara Zarr's How To Save A Life. Though she faced a number of difficult hardships and occasionally she did react to them, mostly she was like, "I'm pregnant. Lalalala. The baby is gonna like so-and-so, the baby will live in a big house, etc."


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