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  • Mandy McHugh

Forget Me Not, Alexandra Oliva: A Review

With this stunning cover and title, I was thrilled to be granted this title as a wish. As an upstate New Yorker, I always look forward to reading books from my fellow 518ers, so this was doubly exciting for me.

Linda wants nothing more than to escape her infamous childhood as Clone Girl, but when a suspicious fire rips through her childhood home, she returns and is forced to challenge her own memories. Unsure of what is true, she enlists the help of her new neighbor, Anvi, and tries to find a normal while battling her own doubts. I really enjoyed this one. First, I will say that at times, it felt like I was reading two different books. On the one hand, we have this interesting discourse on virtual reality, AI, and glitching universes, and it's impossible to ignore the parallels between the games and Linda's turmoil. In this sense, you get this larger discussion about identity and how we come to understand the world around us. I appreciated the philosophical reflection of Anvi and Linda, how their questioning led to revelations and despair, but I also kept expecting this to veer into harder sci-fi. I wasn't disappointed, but this introduces the other hand, a journey through journal entries, grief, and a straight thriller subplot. Linda's arc takes some dramatic turns, and in processing her emotions, we end up in this territory where there are some classic tropes: survival, a character connecting the dots to solve the mystery, and an action-packed climax that gave me Room vibes. I think this is, in large part, Oliva's analysis of grief and loss and how it shapes us. Linda's past is inextricably locked with her present and keeping her from any future, and in order to grow, we see her challenging what she is told or has been told in order to experience things for herself. This movement from passive to active is thrilling and heartbreaking, and I can see readers not only relating to her pain but rooting for her to overcome the obstacle set in front of her. At its core, Forget Me Not is a story about fortitude, identity, and the essence of time. It's a story about love and loss and regret and the complexities of what it means to be human. Overall, Forget Me Not is going to be one to watch in 2021. Out in March, add this to your TBRs and thank me later. Huge thanks to Ballantine and NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for honest review consideration.

 

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