I doubt that I’m the only one to think this, but The Memory of Things was not at all what I was expecting when I requested it. Overall, this worked in its favor in a lot of ways… I ended up really drawn in by the brief snippets of poetry-thought we got from the girl’s POV, even though I’m not generally a huge poetry-lover. Her story intrigued me as much (if not more) than it intrigued Kyle, who was perhaps the weaker link between the two. I liked him, but I never really fell in love with him. His relationship with his Uncle Matt were his most standout moments, and I would’ve loved more with Uncle Matt in general (I definitely did fall for him as a character).
The 9/11 descriptions were accurate without being too graphic; perfect for a middle grade reader or a younger YA reader. I never felt overwhelmed by the tragedy, but it lingered over the entire story, so I still felt its weight looming over the characters. I thought that was a good way for a story such as this to go – the mystery of what happened to the girl was enough to keep the plot progressing, and trying to throw in too many details about 9/11 might have felt a bit overbearing.
I thought the way Kyle reacted to the tragedy – the sense of urgency when his mom and sister couldn’t get on a flight back to New York afterwards, the fear that something might happen to his dad (a first responder), and the true sense of helplessness, were very accurate for all those who experienced the tragedy first-hand. Then, on the flip side, we have the nameless (for most of the book) girl, who can’t really remember anything except for bits and pieces and is having a very hard time processing facts.
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
This is a sweet book, with likable characters and a solid ending. It wasn’t a homerun for me, but I definitely enjoyed it, and I’m glad that I picked it up.