Memento Nora by Angie Smibert
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish Children’s Books
Release date: April 1, 2011
Summary: Nora lives in a world full of explosions. Almost every day, a bomb goes off—set by the Coalition, a terrorist group with no known motive—and someone dies. To forget what they’ve seen, witnesses can head to their local Therapeutic Forgetting Clinic, where they take a white pill and their memories are erased. After witnessing a particularly gory bombing, fifteen-year-old Nora is taken to the TFC to have her memory erased. Except that while in the waiting room, she sees a boy spit out his pill, and is inspired to do the same. Memento Nora brings up an important question—should we choose to run away from what troubles us?
My thoughts: On the surface, Memento Nora seems like any other dystopian book out there. Upon finishing the book, though, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not—it’s more. All three of Memento Nora’s narrators have troubled lives—lives that, as the book continues, get much more complicated. I liked how despite the terrible things in their lives, the three main characters still decide against taking the forgetting pill. It really speaks to the strength of their character.
The world that Angie Smibert created was very clever. It had the usual characteristics of a dystopian—a corrupt government, a resistance to said corrupt government, and an overload of technology—but it still managed to seem fresh. I had so many questions about Nora’s world—what is the coalition? Why are they setting off bombs? Who came up with the white pill?—and answers to all of them were revealed at perfect points in the novel.
Memento Nora’s three narrators, Nora, Micah, and Winter, made the book feel fleshed out. Because the three teens were from different social classes, we got to see the story from different angles and perspectives. The connections between the three were expertly woven, and though I think I enjoyed Micah’s perspective the most, all were enjoyable.
I’d recommend Memento Nora to anyone who loves the dystopian genre but wants a bit more substance. The book has great moral messages without seeming preachy, and the action-packed world in which the three narrators live is one you won’t want to leave (unless a bomb goes off. Then run the heck away).
At the moment I am thinking about what to read next, do you have any ideas, guys?