Hello and happy Wednesday. Judging by my post you probably already know that I’m a stubborn reader and that I don’t easily change my mind about a book, especially if it’s one I didn’t love at first. That being said, every once in a while comes a book that makes me change my mind in a good way, a book like In the Hope of Memories by Olivia Rivers. This book was sent to me via NetGalley for reviewing purposes.
One thing that annoyed me right from the beginning was Erik’s comment on how Hope was “not like other girls.” Of course, then we find out that Hope is this amazing human being who basically doesn’t belong among us mortals (and that she recently died from a heart disease), so I let it slide and was sort of embarrassed for being so judgmental so soon.
The beginning is slow as hell. Like, I get that Erik and Aiden, two of our main characters just met and they have to come to terms with Hope’s death and her last wish, which was to have them go on a scavenger hunt, but I felt like at times they just went on and on about the same stuff and it was exhausting. I am a lover of fast-paced reads, so I suffered a bit through the first chapters.
The novel started growing on me when I discovered the alternating perspectives because you all know I love a story told from different points of view. It also got extra points for diversity, and I don’t mean it in a “I-have-a-black-friend-who-also-happens-to-be-gay” kind of way that is super common in YA novels that try to be inclusive. Here we have Aiden, who belongs somewhere in the autism spectrum and has OCD, and who is black; Erik, who’s going blind; Kali, who I think is originally from the Philippines, and who has being diagnosed and treated for anorexia; and Sam, who doesn’t ascribe to any gender stereotype and is in a wheelchair due to an explosion at his school the previous year or so.
The characters clearly make the story super interesting, but, again, I had issues with the plot itself. At some point, still at the beginning, I felt that it was way too predictable, and kind of like something I’d already read. Now I know it reminded me of Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson because the main character’s best friend leaves her a to-do list before moving away. Again, even as I kept reading, I still had the feeling it was way too slow.
After Aiden and Erik meet with Kali, the story sort of picks up its pace. I have to warn you, however, that this is by no means a friendly read. You’re not going to get any fluff from it whatsoever. If you’re into that, or if that’s a requirement for the books you read, don’t pick this one up. If you want to suffer, though, this book is totally for you. In my previous post, I talked about a series of trigger warnings related to this novel, so do check it out if you want to read about them in depth. Basically there are eating disorders, suicidal thoughts and attempts, and an actual suicide.
I had a teeny tiny problem with the style in which Sam’s bits were written. Here’s the deal: writing everything in lowercase may have been a quirky, sorta cool touch had I not read Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. You know, David Levithan’s will grayson only writes in lowercase.
When I read the last half of the book I felt like I was given a different novel entirely from the one I’d started reading. I mean, Hope is a total fangirl and Erik is a serious book nerd. That fact alone got the book a ton of points. I was also very happy for the correct use of inclusive pronouns when talking about Sam, even when other characters were referring to them.
The ending is super fast-paced and addictive. I just wanted to keep reading and find out how it all came to a closure. And, of course, that ending managed to make me cry, not that it’s hard or anything.
Once again, I would like to thank Olivia Rivers and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book. Now you tell me of a book that has surprised you in a good way.
Love, Miss Camila