Wednesday, March 14, 2012

“I think insomnia is a sign that a person is interesting.”

Notes to Self – Avery Sawyer

Genre:  YA; Realistic Fiction
Summary:  Teenage best friends Robin and Emily decide to sneak into an amusement park after closing time, and climb up on a tall ride to get a great view of the city.  Unfortunately, the platform they’re on isn’t sturdy, they tumble from the ride, and are rushed to the hospital.  While Robin regains consciousness, Emily remains in a coma, and it’s unlikely that she’s going to get better.  Robin is devastated, but maintains hope that her friend will wake up, and since she can’t recall why they were even on the ride in the first place, she does her best to piece together what happened that night.  Can she figure it out, and will Emily ever wake up?
Review:  For some reason, I’m really drawn to depressing books, so when Notes to Self came up as a limited time freebie on my Kindle, I decided to give it a try.  What did I have to lose?  I wasn’t sure what to expect because I’ve been disappointed by freebie downloads before, but I like to give new authors a chance, and fortunately, this book hooked me from the very beginning and didn’t let up until the last page.
The story itself was incredibly thought provoking and sad, and I loved that it was told from Robin’s perspective as she struggled to figure out what happened.  Since Robin didn’t have all of the details herself, the reader could really sense her emotions, frustrations, and little moments of triumph throughout, and it made for a compelling reading experience.  I really enjoyed piecing together the clues along with Robin, and I was so happy for her when she finally figured it all out, even though the reasons why it all happened made me sad.
I also thought that what Sawyer did with Emily was also pretty great.  Emily could have been more of an afterthought in the story, but she was constantly brought to the front of the reader’s mind through Robin’s recollections an insights.  It was very easy to see the kind of person she was, and while she wasn’t perfect, she was definitely real.
Aside from a few small editing errors, Notes to Self was really well-written and the sentences flowed nicely.  I particularly liked the wit conveyed in the chapter titles, especially “I Went to Fun Towne and all I Got Was this Brain Injury.”  Sawyer was able to evoke all kinds of different emotions through her words, and it was truly a joy to read this book.
If you like any of the titles listed below, or if you’re looking for something really well-written and thought provoking, give Notes to Self a try.
Rating:  3.5/5
Read-alikes:  If I Stay – Gayle Forman, The Adoration of Jenna Fox – Mary Pearson