"I remember forward.
I remember forward, and forget backward.
My memories, bad, boring, or good, haven't happened yet."
That's the premise behind Forgotten, Cat Patrick's debut novel. 16 year old London Lane's mind is reset and her memory wiped clean at 4:33 AM every morning. To help her function in her life, London writes reminder notes to herself each night about what happened the day before and relies on her best friend Jamie to help her.
This turns out be a mistake because London does meet Luke again the next day at school and she likes him. Luke likes her and is puzzled at why she seems so distant. London is attracted to Luke and at this point decides to include him in her notes. At the same time London meets Luke, she begins to have a new memory that involves a funeral. This memory is disturbing and vague at first, but becomes stronger and more vivid with time. However, London is unable to discern just whose funeral she is seeing.
Luke and London develop a deep friendship and he does come to learn London's secret. We learn that Luke is part of London's past which she doesn't remember of course. London also discovers that her mother is hiding something about her father from her. She desperately wants to find her father and it is the search for information about her father that leads her to uncover the truth about the funeral memory. This new knowledge results in a huge twist in the storyline. This twist also furthers the readers understanding of how London's memory is the way it is. The development of this part of the plot seemed somewhat contrived and awkward. It also (partly) explains the title of the book. Recovering this tragic memory from the past helps heal London's broken family and gives them hope for the future.
London's future memories are ones that she tries to ignore mostly because they show her the consequences of her classmates choices. When London has a future memory of a disastrous relationship in Jamie's life, she tries to do something that will change the future outcome. Based on this situation and another experience London comes to the conclusion that her future memories are a gift that she can use to help people.
While Forgotten is an interesting concept that mostly worked I was a little confused as to why London didn't have a future memory of dating Luke but did have a later memory of something else regarding him. Patrick also bases the story on the concept that different types of memories are stored in different parts of the brain, thus explaining why London can remember what she learns at school but not her experiences. Very strange indeed.
Readers looking for an unusual book that combines mystery and romance will enjoy Forgotten. Paramount has bought the film rights to Forgotten with Hailee Steinfeld of True Grit fame, set to play London.
Below are the covers for the UK and Australian editions of Forgotten.
Forgotten by Cat Patrick
New York: Little, Brown and Company 2011