Friday, March 27, 2015

The Memory Hit by Carla Spradbery Review

"On New Year's Eve, Jess's life is unrecognizable: her best friend is in the hospital, her boyfriend is a cheater. A drug-dealing cheater it would seem, after finding a stash of Nostalgex in his bag.

Nostalgex: a drug that stimulates memory. In small doses, a person can remember the order of a deck of cards, or an entire revision guide read the day before an exam. In larger doses it allows the user detailed access to their past, almost like watching a DVD with the ability to pause a moment in time, to focus on previously unnoticed details and to see everything they've ever experienced with fresh eyes. As Leon, the local dealer, says 'it's like life, only better.' What he fails to mention is that most memories are clouded by emotions. Even the most vivid memories can look very different when visited.

Across town Sam Cooper is in trouble. Again. This time, gagged and bound in the boot of a car. Getting on the wrong side of a drug dealer is never a good idea, but if he doesn't make enough money to feed and clothe his sister, who will?

On New Year's Day, Jess and Cooper's worlds collide. They must put behind their differences and work together to look into their pasts to uncover a series of events that will lead them to know what really happened on that fateful New Year's Eve. But what they find is that everything they had once believed to be true, turns out to be a lie ...

'A pleasingly dark teen thriller with fun, fresh characters. Spradbery is a debut author to watch.' James Dawson"

NetGalley! Thanks for the copy.

For those of you who are curious, Nostalgex is a fictional drug. (I searched it up on Google just to make sure, because it sounds like a really interesting drug. Even though it isn't real.) The Memory Hit is a standalone (as far as I can tell). One can label it as YA Suspense/Mystery or Thriller. I should warn everyone that The Memory Hit is dark. It isn't as dark as Barry Lyga's "I Hunt Killers" trilogy, but it is still dark. There might be triggers here for the more sensitive audience. 

I have almost little emotional investment with the book. While I was reading it, I wasn't hanging onto every word, every sentence. I was simply reading along, understanding the plot, the characters, and the story. But it was like I was reading through a fog. I'm simply not into The Memory Hit. But it is a really fascinating read. 

The book centers around two teens, Cooper and Jess. Cooper is a troubled teen, trying to get out of trouble. Unfortunately, trouble always, always, always finds him. His luck just runs out, doesn't it? Jess is a girl who is caught up in the trouble because of her boyfriend (trying so hard not to add adjectives here). Both of them are great characters. In my opinion, I think Jess is a better character than Cooper. She is much more interesting than Cooper, and she is very, very easy to empathize with. 

The plot starts off slowly and starts picking up towards the halfway point of the book. Thankfully, it gets extremely interesting once Jess and Cooper meet up. There is a ton of drama, and things get really dark quickly as expected when drugs turn up in the equation. 

The ending is the most dramatic part. Prepare to... Actually, I can't say anything. Because that would be spoilers. 

The villain of the book is most curious. I can't help but try to figure out his/her angle over and over again. How? How? There is something extremely off about the villain. I don't feel like the villain fits into the plot easily. It is an odd addition/reveal.

Overall, The Memory Hit is an excellent book. The conflict is extremely well-written. We, as the readers, know that Jess and Cooper are digging themselves a hole that gets bigger as the plot goes by. It is a haunting tale of consequences of collateral damage. The psychological angle (of a victim's mind) itself is particularly fascinating to read. Even though I have zilch emotional attachment to the book, I have to say that it leaves quite an impact. Somehow, I end up caring after all.

Rating: Four out of Five

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