The Definition of Original: Don’t You Forget About Me, Kate Karyus Quinn

Don't You Forget About Me

Don’t You Forget About Me

Kate Karyus Quinn

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.

You know what I’m going to call Kate Quinn from now on? The Queen of Queer. It’s a rightly earned title. Like her debut novel, Another Little Piece, Quinn returned with a brilliantly crafted tale that made little sense at the beginning, but then came together at the end and smacked me right in the face with answers for all the questions I ever had. And let me tell you, she did this all through an amazingly complex and original plot that just swept me off my feet. Too bad she wasn’t able to impress me throughout the story, though.

I know I must have complained about this a lot, so most of you probably know that I’m a very impatient and easily distracted reader. Don’t You Forget About Me was slow. And boring. But mostly slow. Absolutely nothing was revealed until about 70% in, so I was kept almost all the time in the dark about what the heck was really going on. I knew nothing about Gardnerville, or its strange power, and nothing about these fourth years that end in chaos and disaster. So that was one thing I wish Quinn had worked on: maybe if she had slowly revealed things throughout the story, it would have made things more interesting. Honestly, I can’t count the number of times I wanted to give up because I couldn’t stand being confused. Only the reviews of other readers kept me going.

The characters, though, were something else entirely. They were all extremely intriguing; I don’t want to reveal too much, but I really found them to be distinct and three-dimensional, not like those books that only focus on plot, not characters. The only real complaint I have was that Skylar annoyed me to no end. Don’t get me wrong, she was a fantastic narrator — aloof and shrouded in mystery, just like the story, but oh my gosh, the way she went on fussing about Piper and how she always allowed herself to be bossed around — you’d think she didn’t have a mind of her own. She got better near the end, of course, developed into a much greater heroine, but by that time it was too late for me to fully sympathize with her. Don’t let her bring you down, though: Don’t You Forget About Me has a brilliant cast of characters that I came to adore (more or less) in the end.

And just to get you a little more interested, I’ll just say that Quinn had some really unique and cool ideas in this book. Forget-me-not pills (like drugs, only they have the power to make you forget how to breathe, too), soil full of some dark power no one knows from where, and so so so many twists. If the book wasn’t so slow-moving at the beginning, it would have been a four- or five-star read, for sure. I can’t say much more because like Another Little Piece, this is a book you should go into blind. So just… forget you ever read any of this and go get the damn book and cross your fingers that you make it through the first half of it still intrigued. I’m tellin’ ya, it’s worth it.

Who is this book for?

Even though my review may sound highly negative… it’s not. So if you’ve got a high tolerance for slow beginnings and if you’re looking for something completely out of this world, then go go go! Buy this book and prepare to be wowed!

3.5 stars

336 pages, e-galley from Edelweiss (thank you!)
Published June 10, 2014 by HarperTeen
Purchase: The Book Depository + Amazon


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