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Book Review: The Memory Hit (Carla Spradbery)

 *I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books
Pages: 352
Release Date: June 4th 2015
Summary (From Goodreads):
 
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 …
Review:
I had to request this on NetGalley as soon as I saw what it was about. A drug than lets you relive memories? Colour me intrigued. I had no idea what it was really about other than that. Turns out it’s a bit of a mystery/crime novel with a bad ass (fictional) drug thrown in the mix to spice things up a bit.The crime and mystery element were interesting and drove the plot for the story, but my interest was really sparked every time the drug was used. It moved the plot along but also revealed a lot more about characters and relationships, in a really clever way.

I thought the characters all worked really well. Jess and Luke’s relationship was the most interesting to me, especially when she’s reflecting back on her memories of him. She’s a really strong, believable character, one that you can easily get behind. I also loved the back story that slowly came out about Leon, one of the ‘villains’ of the book (and I use quotation marks because it’s not always clear who’s ‘good’ and ‘bad’).

It really got me thinking about memories and the difference between what really happens and how we choose to remember it. Memories that should have been sweet turned bitter for the characters and, with their senses heightened by the drugs, they noticed things they hadn’t before: the tone of voice used here, a raised eyebrow there.

It’s a book that sang to me of regrets. Characters would watch times from their past and wonder why they didn’t just go along with what that person said or pay more attention when they were with someone. And that made me reflect on myself, how I might come across if I was watching myself, how it could look and sound differently to how I meant it to. It’s a book that really gets you thinking.

It also had me guessing right until the end. When the first clue to who the mysterious ‘Whiteface’ was came out, I was shocked and couldn’t have honestly said I saw it coming. When a twist came, I guessed it quickly, but then was proved wrong with another twist. It certainly kept me on my toes.

I did wonder at the very end whether, after losing so much as these characters do, I would be able to give up the drug that could let me relive those times. It’s such a different kind of addiction, a real emotional connection to those chemicals that I think would make it harder to give up than any other drug (thank goodness it’s not a real one!)

This is a real thrill of a book, with a different take on what can happen when young people get mixed up in drugs and crime, without being preachy and moralising. I can’t wait to see what Carla Spradbery has for us next!

My Verdict:
 
 
Ahaha I love this book, you should totally read it!If you enjoyed this, you may also like Sleepless by Lou Morgan

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