Review: Things I Can't Forget

Things I Can't Forget by Miranda Kenneally
Release Date ~ March 1, 2013
Sourcebooks Fire
ISBN13: 9781402271908
ARC received from Raincoast Books

Goodreads Synopsis:

Kate has always been the good girl. Too good, according to some people at school—although they have no idea the guilty secret she carries. But this summer, everything is different…

This summer she’s a counselor at Cumberland Creek summer camp, and she wants to put the past behind her. This summer Matt is back as a counselor too. He’s the first guy she ever kissed, and he’s gone from a geeky songwriter who loved The Hardy Boys to a buff lifeguard who loves to flirt--with her.

Kate used to think the world was black and white, right and wrong. Turns out, life isn’t that easy…

Things I Can't Forget is easily my favourite of Miranda Kenneally's three books now released. Miranda tackles some very difficult topics here, which could easily make some readers uncomfortable. But she does so thoughtfully, and the story truly reflects an honest portrayal of Kate's struggle.

And while this book may not be the right book for every reader, it's a story that needs to be told. Kate's struggle with faith and what she believes is something that can resonate with everyone, in one way or another, if given the chance.

  1. Faith, doubt, & religion:

    Honestly? I was a bit hesitant about Things I Can't Forget knowing that religion had a large part to play. It's hard to tell how that's going to play out in a book. I consider myself to be religious (specifically Christian), and I was nervous that a book like this would only turn out to be disrespectful. But it isn't. Miranda writes about a turning point in Kate's life, where everything she took for granted seems to be falling apart. She has to acknowledge that maybe she's wrong about some things. That maybe there is no cookie cutter to fit into to be "right". And this felt so personal to me, because I remember when I was younger and this hit me as well when I knew I would have to make some changes for myself. Maybe there are readers who haven't gone through this period of change, but I believe there are enough of us that did to make this book utterly relevant.
  2. A protagonist you won't love right away:

    Kate will likely rub you the wrong way at first. I know she irked me at first too, and I'm saying this as someone who was a lot like her when I was (much) younger. I think it's important to have main characters we don't necessarily like (or possibly even relate to though), because it encourages readers to think outside of our own comfort zone. And it's crucial here to witness Kate's growth. It's almost like putting a face to a name, for those of us who may not have known people quite like Kate in our lives. It makes her story personal and real. Personally, I think it's important for readers to read about characters that aren't always like them, because it's one way for us to push personal boundaries.
  3. A love interest with depth:

    Matt is probably my favourite of the Hundred Oaks boys (probably helps that he reminds me of someone I know in real life). But I loved that Miranda gave him a back story, and that there was a real reason for why he was attracted to Kate. I liked that he had his own issues to work through, but that for the most part he had himself fairly well pulled together. And he had his own life! It didn't revolve around Kate, but he wanted to include her in it. It even felt a bit more mature than I'm used to in YA, but that's great to have some more diversity in romance (in one way or another). 
There were a few loose ends that seemed hastily tied up, and I wish we had explored them a bit more in the book. There are a number of other characters who do some awful things, but unlike Kate we never get a real sense of why. Or even closure. 

I guess part of the reason I loved Things I Can't Forget so much is that it felt like a story for me and my friends. As much as I love reading about YA, and I can usually find something in a character to emphasize with, sometimes their lives and settings aren't familiar to me. And Kate's life is one that could almost be a chapter taken from my life (I'm a sucker for puns and cliches). So I appreciate how different Kate's background story felt, and it's why I loved this book so much. 


Maji Bookshelf said...

I completely agree with you! at the beginning, the main protagonist also rubbed me off the wrong way! Also, I loved Matt too!!

great review,
- Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

ChristasBooks said...

I've only read Stealing Parker so far and I really loved that book. I also really liked the role religion played in it (as both a positive and negative force). So I think I'll like Things I Can't Forget as well.

Unknown said...

I haven't read any of Miranda Kenneally yet, although I think I have her first book on my e-reader. But I think out of all 3 this ones sounds like the one I'd be most likely to pick up. All your reasons to read have captured my interest, and I hope I get to reading this one this summer :)

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