(Don’t You) Forget About Me
by Kate Karyus Quinn
Expected Publishing Date: June 10, 2014
Length: 336 pages
Obtained Via: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review via Edelweiss from the publisher. I was not compensated for this review, and this is no way affects my opinion of the book.
Format Read In: E-ARC
View at the Traffic light:
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.
Quinn is a master of suspense, and she proves it with (Don’t You)Forget About Me. I ate up Quinn’s debut novel, Another Little Piece, as a strange and horrifying tale I couldn’t look away from. (Don’t You) Forget About Me is an entirely different story, but Quinn’s writing is the same, and I would say that most of the emotions that were invoked me as a reader are similar. Meaning, if you didn’t like Another Little Piece, you probably won’t like this one as well. I do think (Don’t You) Forget About Me isn’t as straight-up horror as Quinn’s first book–there’s an entirely different setting and that removes it from our world some.
I think my favorite thing about this book and Quinn’s writing in general is how she doesn’t explain the world she builds in a typical way, and it makes it all the more believable. You’re given everything you need to invest in the story, but not a drop more. I think her writing could convince me that it was raining frogs that were turning into snakes immediately upon landing, and she does it by not trying to explain away the weird. It just is. This is a primary component of (Don’t You) Forget About Me, and while that might frustrate some readers, I loved it.
Even though Piper is locked up for most of the novel, I loved the sibling dynamic in (Don’t You) Forget About Me. It gets seriously twisted at times–especially towards the end–but I loved the exploration of it. I’m always a fan of sibling stories! So much of Skylar’s life is about her sister. They were close and now Piper’s locked away, and that drives Skylar’s entire mission. I felt this really gave the story a sense of grounding a purpose. Even though there was quite a bit of confusion at times, it never felt aimless.
The glimpse of Gardnerville’s fourth years were horrifying in a very ethereal kind of way. It’s not magical realism, more like paranormal, but some of the description had that same beautiful and hazy quality of writing I find most often suitable to magical realism books. It made the entire story an exercise in different genres, but I liked it. We’d go from this beautiful description of a horrifying thing to a downright horrifying thing to a relatively normal family conversation. (Don’t You) Forget About Me was one wild ride.
I know I keep comparing this book to Quinn’s debut novel, but its hard not to, since the structure and writing style is quite similar, though the plots are vastly different, which brings me to my final point. Another Little Piece was a good book with an open ending that was a little too open for most readers, including me. While (Don’t You) Forget About Me doesn’t conclude everything, I did find the ending much more satisfactory. I still had that “Is that REALLY the end?” immediate reaction, but not because it wasn’t a good ending. Just strange, but I expect no different and I thought it was strange in a GOOD way.
This sophomore novel of Kate Karyus Quinn’s isn’t for everyone, but I loved it more than Quinn’s debut, Another Little Piece. I thought (Don’t You) Forget About Me had a lot of the same strengths from Quinn’s first book, but improved upon some of the weaknesses and had a completely original plot. The characters in this one seemed very real all the while such UN-REAL things were going on. 4/5 cupcakes.