Title: The Memory Jar by Elissa Janine Hoole
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Fiction
Length: 336 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
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.
The Memory Jar by Elissa Janine Hoole is a poignant and thought-provoking young adult novel that takes a realistic approach to the subject of teen pregnancy.
Taylor and Scott are high school sweethearts who have been dating long distance now that Scott is going to college. An unexpected pregnancy sets the stage for a tragic chain of events that leaves Scott in a coma and Taylor unable to remember the events that led up to the accident. While trying to recall if she was responsible for the wreck, Taylor also must decide whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.
Taylor is an unapologetically and refreshingly honest character whose thoughts and decisions sometimes paint her in an unflattering light. An unplanned pregnancy will ruin her chance at a better life and she is pretty certain what choice she is going to make about the pregnancy. She deeply regrets that her inability to be straightforward with Scott indirectly led to the accident and she is desperate to remember what happened right before the wreck. Taylor feels guilty that she wanted to end things with Scott and her thoughts while sitting at his beside are a heartbreaking mix of memories of their relationship, agony over the accident and the heartwrenching decision about whether to terminate her pregnancy.
As if Taylor does not have enough things weighing on her mind, she is forced to deal with a few other issues during this tumultuous time. Scott’s younger brother Joey is angry and confrontational but he also becomes an surprising source of support. The unexpected arrival of someone from Scott’s college adds more turmoil to an already stressful situation. Unable to believe what she is being told, she begins to have doubts about what she thought she knew about Scott. A series of horrific texts add to her growing confusion her pregnancy and when private information goes public, Taylor cannot help but wonder if her closest friends have betrayed her trust.
With a unique and an unflinchingly honest storyline, The Memory Jar is an emotional and sometimes heartbreaking young adult novel. Taylor is a complex, multi-faceted protagonist whose thoughts, actions and emotions are realistically portrayed. Elissa Janine Hoole is an incredibly gifted storyteller who is not afraid to tackle hard-hitting, true to life issues. Impossible to put down, this beautifully rendered novel has an incredibly moving conclusion that is guaranteed to tug on readers’ heartstrings.