(Don’t You) Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn

(Don’t You) Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn

Release Date: June 10, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rated: YA 14+
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads Website

Welcome to Gardnerville.

A place where no one gets sick. And no one ever dies.

There’s a price to pay for paradise. Every fourth year, the strange power that fuels the town exacts its payment by infecting teens with deadly urges. In a normal year in Gardnerville, teens might stop talking to their best friends. In a fourth year, they’d kill them.

Four years ago, Skylar’s sister, Piper, was locked away after leading sixteen of her classmates to a watery grave. Since then, Skylar has lived in a numb haze, struggling to forget her past and dull the pain of losing her sister. But the secrets and memories Piper left behind keep taunting Skylar—whispering that the only way to get her sister back is to stop Gardnerville’s murderous cycle once and for all.

My mind is numb after finishing (Don’t You) Forget About Me. I did NOT see that end coming. I’d read in several reviews before I read the book that this book basically f*cked with their minds, and so while reading the book I tried to come up with several possibilities. Obviously, I didn’t think it through, because my mind? B-L-O-W-N. I honestly don’t know why I didn’t read this one until now. It’s been on my shelf for more than a year. I know two of my friends couldn’t get through it, so maybe that’s why I didn’t really try. As usual, I have regrets. Firstly, this book was so original. I’m trying to think of books I could compare it to and I’m kind of drawing up a blank. Nothing really comes close to the material in this book! Secondly, THAT END. Yeah–I’m still hung up about it.

This book was unique on so many levels. There was the whole switch in perspective. This time, I don’t mean the switch between two characters’ perspectives, but actually the type of perspective. The book’s narration switches from first person (present) to second person (past) and this makes things verryyy interesting. Trust me. It’ll all make sense (wait for it) AT THE END. There’s also the book’s genre–it’s kinda difficult to pin down. It’s kind of a dystopian, but it’s set in our time, and it’s also a bit supernatural. Throw in suspense and a psychological thriller-esque vibe, and viola! You have (Don’t You) Forget About Me. Oh, that’s another thing. The titles in the flashbacks are all song titles. While I didn’t really think much of it while reading the book, the title–which is a song by Simple Minds–actually makes sense looking back. Again, it’ll all make sense at the end.

Elton bolted past me, onto the tracks, toward you and the train at your heels. If I froze that moment, and cut the train from the picture, you might be long-separated lovers, running toward each other, arms outstretched, everything forgiven, and only seconds away from a happy ending.
But this was a fourth year in Gardnerville, and there were no happy endings.
–p. 7, ARC*
*text is subject to change in the final version

The biggest problem for me with this book was that it would, at times, get too confusing. The ending, as amazing and mind-numbing as it is, left me utterly perplexed at the town’s history. So many things seemed so off-base for me, especially about how the reformatory came to be. I guess with (Don’t You) Forget About Me you kinda have to accept the magical-realism aspect without any questions. I also wish that we’d gotten to the know the characters a lot better. Skylar was pretty much drugged with forget-me-nots throughout the book so we don’t get too much of a connection to her character, even less so with Elton and kind of a tiny bit more or less with Foote. However I do feel that we do get to know Piper quite a bit, particularly in the flashback chapters. 

An interesting take on narrative structure and voice with a fascinating unreliable narrator who will keep readers guessing at every turn, (Don’t You) Forget About Me was an astonishing and remarkably crafted story. Kate Karyus Quinn spins a dark and sinister tale that goes beyond what you could possibly imagine–prepare to get sucked into the eerie and unsettling world of Gardnerville.

▪ ▪ ▪ Thank you so much to Megan from HarperCollins International for sending a copy for review! ▪ ▪ 

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  1. I haven't actually heard about of this novel before, but the cover is gorgeous though. I'm not sure this one would be for me if most of the book was confusing, but the ending sounds fantastic though. Wonderful review overall <3 Benish | Feminist Reflections

  2. I think I've seen this book around before but it's never really caught my attention before. I'm still not sure if it's something I would like but I am pretty curious about the ending. Great review :)

    Zareena @ The Slanted Bookshelf

  3. I have this author's debut novel! I've not read it yet though. Unique sounds good! And Mind blown also sounds good :D Excellent review!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

  4. I've seen some mixed reviews for this one but I think yours has convinced me, the sound of that ending has me intrigued and it sounds really unique, especially with the writing/narration style.


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