The Hidden Memory of Objects by Danielle Mages Amato

HiddenMemory_jkt_des2_CC14.inddWhat a surprising gem this book is! You think you’re getting one thing – a YA mystery with maybe a hint of the mystical – when really you are getting so much more than that. This is a romance, a thriller, a mystery, all tied together with a dash of historical fiction, a pinch of political and social commentary, and a heavy dose of magical realism. Oh, and of course there’s the fact that at its heart, it’s about how we process our grief when we lose someone we love. I loved it right from the start. It’s dark and gritty, but with a flair for the dramatic and a welcome light-heartedness courtesy of Megan’s friend-turned-sidekick, Eric.

The love interest, Nathan, is well-rounded and a more realistic character when contrasted with Eric – he doesn’t just instantly accept that Megan is having visions of the past when she touches certain memorable objects. I liked that we got to have that contrast – Eric, the insta-believer who wants to figure out Megan’s “superhero origin story” and Nathan, the down-to-earth skeptic who isn’t going to blindly follow without more concrete evidence. You definitely need them both in order to feel that the story could plausibly be playing out in the modern day.

The best part, for me, was that I didn’t see the end coming. I’m usually pretty good at figuring out the mystery before it all gets revealed in the end, but this time I was shocked to discover the truth along with Megan. It was insane. And the political commentary that underlays it all is particularly compelling. It definitely draws you into the depths of Washington politics and the game of power that people have been playing since long before John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln in Ford’s Theater all those years ago. It’s a game as old as time, and I liked how the past and present collide because of it in this book.

If you are looking for something unlike anything else you’ve read this year, Danielle Mages Amato definitely provides that in this quirky, dark, and gripping thriller. It’s sure to keep you guessing right up until the end, and the delightful prose is sure to keep you enjoying the ride.

Rating: 4/5 stars

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