Author: Kat Zhang
Genre: Fiction, Middle Grade
Hardcover, 288 Pages
Publication: May 15, 2018 by Aladdin
Source: I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.
One of the happiest memories twelve-year-old Sophia Wallace has is of her tenth birthday. Her mother made her a cake that year—and not a cake from a boxed-mix, but from scratch. She remembers the way the frosting tasted, the way the pink sugar roses dissolved on her tongue.
This memory, and a scant few others like it, is all Sophia has of her mother, so she keeps them close. She keeps them secret, too. Because as paltry as these memories are, she shouldn’t have them at all.
The truth is, Sophia Wallace’s mother died when she was six years old. But that isn’t how she remembers it. Not always.
Sophia has never told anyone about her unusual memories—snapshots of a past that never happened. But everything changes when Sophia’s seventh grade English class gets an assignment to research solar eclipses. She becomes convinced that the upcoming solar eclipse will grant her the opportunity to make her alternate life come true, to enter a world where her mother never died.
With the help of two misfit boys, she must figure out a way to bring her mother back to her—before the opportunity is lost forever.
The Memory of Forgotten Things was such a sweet and touching Middle Grade novel. The book is centered around Sophia, a twelve-year-old girl who is having memories of her mom; memories when she was 9, 10, 11…except her mom passed away when Sophia was only six-years-old. So the question is, how is this possible? With the help of two of Sophia’s classmates they find a correlation between the Memories and the solar eclipse…and the possibility of bringing back their loved ones.
The Memory of Forgotten Things dealt with some heavy issues such as death, grief and if given the chance to change the past/future, would you? Or should you? I thought Zhang tackled the topics and packaged it in such a way that was easy to understand and was very well written; especially for the targeted audience. While Sophia is the main character, her fellow classmates; Luke and DJ both had to deal with a family member’s death as well. It was interesting to see how children dealt with death and seeing the aftermath of it of how it affected the family life/those that were left behind. I liked the trio of characters and found them mature for their age. In some scenes it felt as if the children were more mature and understanding than their own parents. For example in Sophia’s case, after the death of her mom, her dad spent his days working or in a daze and asleep. And he depended more on Sophia than the other way around as if the roles were reversed.
I really enjoyed The Memory of Forgotten Things, its a story about learning to move on, acceptance, family and friendship. However, it should be noted that this book is an iota part magic/science-fiction. I initially thought this would fall under magic realism (similar to Bridge to Terabithia) but Zhang surprised me and took it to the next level incorporating fringe science, the theory of parallel universes…do they exist? Is there multiple worlds out there with different variation of ourselves? So just a heads up to those interested in reading The Memory of Forgotten Things. Some reviewers were surprised by this and felt mislead. But I am all for magic/sci-fi and actually liked the unexpectedness of it all. I highly recommend this standalone novel to everyone. It definitely poses a lot to think about!