Genre: YA - Contemporary
Publication: 08.21.2007 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
If Naomi had picked tails, she would have won the coin toss. She wouldn’t have had to go back for the yearbook camera, and she wouldn’t have hit her head on the steps. She wouldn’t have woken up in an ambulance with amnesia. She certainly would have remembered her boyfriend, Ace. She might even have remembered why she fell in love with him in the first place. She would understand why her best friend, Will, keeps calling her “Chief.” She’d know about her mom’s new family. She’d know about her dad’s fiancée. She never would have met James, the boy with the questionable past and the even fuzzier future, who tells her he once wanted to kiss her. She wouldn’t have wanted to kiss him back.
But Naomi picked heads.
I was really excited to pick this up because I had heard great things about Zevin and her writing. Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac was a random pick-up from the library (Are my library picks always spontaneous? Yes.) and I had no idea it was even written by Zevin or knew anything about it. I recognized the title and after reading the summary rather quickly, I decided to give it a go. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I am pleased to say that I really enjoyed Memoirs and am glad I grabbed it.
The story immediately starts with Naomi and a bumped head. She has no idea who she is, what happened to her, and what her life has been like since she was 12 years old (approximately.) We get thrown into the story as confused as she is, and I loved this about the book. It gave me a chance to really connect with Naomi, since she is as lost about what’s going on as I was. Though she does take things rather calmly at first, it becomes obvious that her lack of memories really gets to her, and eventually becomes a struggle to deal with.
Naomi seems like a nice enough girl, but once she starts learning about the person she was, she doesn’t really like herself. I know I wouldn’t have liked her too much either, if we would gotten a glimpse of her before the accident. So in attempts to get her life together, she tries to jump back into her “normal” life, resuming her friendships, relationship with her boyfriend, and classes. Of course, things don’t work out that well since she can’t remember who she was before and kinda doesn’t like the same things now.
I did like Naomi and although sometimes her actions seemed a little selfish or hurtful, I totally understood where she was coming from. Her best friend, Will, is pretty awesome. I don’t know what it is about him (maybe it’s that he writes her letters, or makes her mix tapes, dresses curiously, or always speaks properly) but I really liked him and wanted him in all the pages. Fortunately, he is a huge part of the story, and I was definitely satisfied with the amount of him. James (the love interest,) Ace (the boyfriend,) Naomi’s father and mother, among several other characters are given enough depth to be realistic, and enough pages to show their individual importance in Naomi’s life. I won’t get into too much detail about everyone’s part though, in an attempt to not reveal too much.
I really enjoyed this, and found the author’s writing style made it easy to connect with the characters and ease my way into the story. Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac is about being a teenager and growing up, which is hard enough, but also about re-discovering yourself and changing yourself into someone you want to be. It is definitely a must read and I look forward to reading more books by this author.