The Forgetting is a YA mystery that longs to push its readers into seeing their own lives, and the lives of the unacknowledged people around them, in a new light. Does it succeed? I’m not sure. The prerequisite romance sort of takes it down a level, but a writer’s gotta do what it takes to being in the readers, I guess. This is a book for fans of dark YA contemporary mystery.
Georgie’s new heart came with a few extras — she is remembering things from the life of another girl — a girl who lived a grim existence and experienced a lonely death. Determined to hold on to herself, Georgie seeks out the answers to the mystery of the Jane Doe whose death gave her a second chance at life. This book had a rough start — I was convinced it was going to be a silly mystery based on the first few chapters. Then, it got real — sex trafficking, failing foster system, entitled blinders. This was a dark look at what goes on just around the corner from your white picket fence. It was also about evaluating what you want to do about it, once the lace curtain has been pulled back. Georgie grows a lot as a character, and though her dumb risks are too often rewarded (setting a terrible example for budding do-gooders), she does a fair job of conveying key themes without making readers feel judged. There is a little too much of the hooker with the heart of gold in a couple of the characters, and the bad guys are also lacking nuances that would make them feel real. This is problematic because the theme plays on the idea that bad things are happening in plain sight to people like you and me. That is not supported when almost every villain is quickly identifiable by their attitude or appearance. Luckily, there are enough suspected bad guys to sustain the mystery until the reveal. I think my high school students will find the mystery compelling if they stick it out past the first few chapters. The topic is certainly one that they need to know more about, and while it is a mature and controversial topic, this book avoids graphic content and sensationalized scenes that would steer parents and librarians away. Both language and situations make The Forgetting appropriate for mature high school readers.
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.