Forgotten, by Cat Patrick (Little Brown, 2011, YA, 288 pages) is a fascinating thought-experiment and a gripping read. London Lane might appear to be an ordinary sixteen-year old girl, going about her normal high school life...but her mind works in a rather unusual way. She can only remember forward--every night, her memory of the day she just lived vanishes, and she can only remember tomorrow. London copes by taking extensive notes about her life, and muddles through well enough.
But well-enough is about to change. Unhappy with the futures London sees for her friends and classmates, she starts to wonder if she can change the future. Even more disturbing for London is the arrival of a new boy, with whom she makes an instant connection--but she doesn't "remember" him from her future. And her sleep is increasingly troubled by a horrible nightmare--showing an event she doesn't remember either.
It turns out that there are things in London's past that she has forgotten...in particular, an event that changed the course of her life. Part mystery, part teen romance, and a fascinating look at a very different way of being in the world, this was a page turner.
I was so distracted, however, by the intricacies of London's memory (what would I do differently? How would I react in each particular situation?), and it is so strangely alien, that it was a bit hard for me to truly loose myself in the story--others might have a different experience. In particular, I couldn't help wondering just how one could sustain a romantic relationship with someone you only knew through your journal entries of past days--every day, London would meet her boyfriend for the first time. That being said, it was an entertaining read, and I don't mind, now and again, reading a book that kicks me out of the story here and there to make me think!
I hope there's a sequel--even though London's story reaches a fine stopping place, I would love to see what happens next (and maybe more about the things that happened back then in the unremembered past).
(note--obviously, this is not realistic fiction. But I think that it is just as good a fit for fans of the realistic teenage romance/mystery as it for sff fantasy fans. That being said, it's definitly speculative fiction, but is neither fantasy, nor really sci fi, which makes sticking a label on it bothersome. So I shall put both on...uncomfortably).