Review: Remember Me Always by Renee Collins

Title: Remember Me Always by Renee Collins
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Length: 322 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

Shelby is nervous to start her senior year after spending the whole summer away from home. After all, it’s hard to be carefree when you’re trying to protect a secret.

Shelby was in a devastating car accident, and everyone in town thinks that she was undergoing more physical therapy in Denver. Instead, Shelby’s mother enrolled her in a clinical program to stop the panic attacks that started after the crash. The treatment erased Shelby’s memory of the accident, but she can’t help feeling as if a piece of herself is missing, that the treatment took more than the doctors claimed.

So when Shelby starts hallucinating a boy with dark and mysterious eyes, she knows it must be a side-effect of the clinical program. Except you can’t kiss hallucinations. And this boy insists that they know each other and are in love…

Review:

Remember Me Always by Renee Collins is an intriguing young adult novel with an interesting premise and a multi-layered storyline.

Over the summer, Shelby Decatur undergoes a somewhat extreme treatment to erase her memories of a car accident that are causing her severe anxiety, panic attacks and PTSD. Now home, her excitement at beginning her senior year of high school is tempered by an underlying, low-level sense that something is not quite right. Having recently experienced a tantalizing fragment of memory featuring a young man, Shelby does not know what to think when she discovers the teenager from her recollection is real. She is even more stunned to learn that she and the young man, Auden Keplar, were in a two year relationship.  Auden wants to try to resume their romance and although Shelby is drawn to him, his intensity is a little unnerving. Although she cannot remember their romance, Shelby is willing to give him a chance but when she discovers he has been less than truthful with her, will she continue to see him?

Shelby often feels out of step with the rest of her small hometown. She has big dreams of becoming an actress, but her controlling mother is rather forceful with her attempts to dissuade her from leaving town. Shelby is initially very reluctant to trust Auden and in his zeal to convince her to give him a chance, his behavior is uncomfortably close to stalking and obsessive. At Auden’s urging, she keeps their renewed friendship a secret from her mom and her best friend, Grace. Shelby is enthusiastically embracing her resumed relationship with Auden when she learns he has been keeping some very serious secrets from her.

Meanwhile, Shelby is beginning to suffer from nightmares that fill her will an incredible sense of unease. Her anxiety levels are increasing and she is uncertain whom she can trust after her relationship with Auden is discovered by both her mother and Grace. Shelby comes to the realization that she needs to recover the memories that have been erased but will it be possible for her to remember what happened the night of the accident?

Remember Me Always is an appealing young adult novel with an innovative storyline and well-developed characters. Shelby’s quest to recover her traumatic memories offers her the opportunity to stop running from problems and instead face them head on. Grace’s predicament with an ex-boyfriend is an important demonstration of when a relationship crosses the line into abuse.   While some aspects of the plot are easy to predict, Renee Collins brings the novel to a surprising conclusion.

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