Review: Unremembered by Jessica Brody

March 21, 2013 Book Review, Farrar Straus and Giroux, Jessica Brody, Macmillian, Memory loss, Netgalley, Science Fiction, Unremembered, YA, Young Adult 26

From Goodreads:

When Freedom Airlines flight 121 went down over the Pacific Ocean, no one ever expected to find survivors. Which is why the sixteen-year-old girl discovered floating among the wreckage—alive—is making headlines across the globe.

Even more strange is that her body is miraculously unharmed and she has no memories of boarding the plane. She has no memories of her life before the crash. She has no memories period. No one knows how she survived. No one knows why she wasn’t on the passenger manifest. And no one can explain why her DNA and fingerprints can’t be found in a single database in the world.

Crippled by a world she doesn’t know, plagued by abilities she doesn’t understand, and haunted by a looming threat she can’t remember, Seraphina struggles to piece together her forgotten past and discover who she really is. But with every clue only comes more questions. And she’s running out of time to answer them.

Her only hope is a strangely alluring boy who claims to know her from before the crash. Who claims they were in love. But can she really trust him? And will he be able to protect her from the people who have been making her forget?

From popular young adult author Jessica Brody comes a compelling and suspenseful new sci-fi series, set in a world where science knows no boundaries, memories are manipulated, and true love can never be forgotten.

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Memory loss storylines seem to be something I am very into at the current moment. What’s cool about Unremembered, and what interested me about the premise in the first place, is that the genre to which it fits is a little bit of a mystery. The girl who survived the plane crash… was she already there when the plane crashed? Does she have superhero powers of strength that left her unharmed? Is she an alien? Time traveler? I had no idea heading into it but loved the journey to find out!

Before we find out this mystery girl’s name, the nurse at the hospital refers to her as ‘Violet’, due to the unique color of her eyes. We do find out her real name later on, but for this review I will refer to her as ‘Violet’. Her memory loss is a little different than the typical type I’ve run into. Besides losing the facts on who she was, everyday common phrases and objects were also new to her. It was almost like a whole new world in certain ways, a big culture shock, though she did find herself remarkably intelligent when it came to math and science. The only clues to her past were a locket with S + Z = 1609 engraved on it and a handwritten note with the words, ‘Trust him’. She becomes somewhat of a celebrity in the world, hounded by reporters and not knowing who to trust. Sent to live with a foster family, we meet Cody, the 13 year old foster brother. I immediately grew attached to him and the elements he brought to the story. He was so funny and awkward around ‘Violet’ because she was so ‘hot’ and hot girls don’t talk to boys like him. He was always making little comments like that, which was hilarious because of ‘Violet’ and her almost robotic personality. Maybe robotic is true strong a word to describe her. She had trouble distinguishing certain emotions, sarcasm, and slang and took things extremely literal. She almost reminded me of Temperance Brennan on the tv show Bones in certain ways, telling it like it is and not knowing when to hold back. I also found myself quoting Mean Girls, “I love her, she’s like a martian” as well because again, she was that type of character who was going through a bit of culture shock to her new surroundings and how to interact with others. I loved this about her character, something fresh and different but done in a way that fit. Plus, it was always fun to see her interactions with others who didn’t get her.

Anyways, Cody becomes a reluctant ally on the search to discover who she is and where she came from. We also meet a boy named Zen who seems to know all that information and has a past with ‘Violet’ and informs her that she is in danger. She is not quick to trust him, but I immediately did and loved the connection they had, even if she couldn’t quite remember it. Zen was so sweet and completely selfless when it came to her. I think their love story was one of my favorite parts of the novel.

   ‘He slowly reaches towards me and I hold my breath. I don’t mean to. The air just kind of traps itself willingly inside my lungs. I feel his fingertips graze the back of my bare neck. His touch causes my skin to prickle and heat up. He gently gathers my hair in one hand and sweeps it over my left shoulder, taking a moment to brush a few loose strands that didn’t make it.
   The whole movement is so fluid – so practiced – that it makes me 100 percent certain he’s done this before. This is not the first time his hands have touched my hair. And I find myself silently hoping that it won’t be the last.’

As for the rest of the plot, I’m going to be short and vague because I don’t want to give anything away. These characters are on the run and fighting for their freedom and answers. It was a real joy to put all the pieces together. I was able to do so myself a little earlier than the characters but I really didn’t mind because there was still a lot that was new and interesting to discover with maybe a few surprises thrown in. I’m not sure every question I had was answered though and it did lose a little steam once I did figure things out. I think those were my only gripes. As it is a series, which I just discovered as I write this, I’m hoping more will be cleared up in the follow ups.

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*Quote is from a galley and may differ from the final copy

Sara @ Forever 17 Books

26 Responses to “Review: Unremembered by Jessica Brody”

  1. starryeyedjen

    Great review, Sara! I have an ARC of this, but I haven’t gotten to it yet. The whole memory loss thing really intrigues me, too, and now you’ve got me really curious. I’m really kind of hoping they’re aliens! 😀 Nice to know it’s actually going to be a series, too…think I’ll still have so many questions that I should wait until closer to the next book’s release before diving in?

    • Sara @ Forever 17 Books

      Most questions have been answered and there is a sense of closure, just a few things I wasn’t completely sure of that I would like clarified. I don’t think it is anything you’d have to wait for more answers to read. 🙂

  2. Kristin

    I have seen some mixed reviews of this one, but I love the plot idea and like you memory loss intrigues me because I like finding things out as the characters do. Loved your review and your reference to Bones!

    Kristin @ Young Adult Book Haven

  3. Sunny Duvall

    I’m definitely into the whole memory loss plot as well! I think it goes back to my fascination of the Disney Anastasia 😉 But this sounds like a great read! I love Jessica Brody, but I don’t know how I’d deal with the character being robotic. Love your review!

    Sunny @ Blue Sky Bookshelf

    • Sara @ Forever 17 Books

      LOL I was probably over-exaggerating the robot thing but she was a really great character. This was actually my very first Jessica Brody read. I’ll have to check her other stuff out. 🙂

  4. Candace

    I enjoyed this one too. I definitely like the beginning best when I was desperate for answers. But I thought the way they were revealed was a tad anticlimactic. I still really liked it though!

  5. Born Bookish

    Great review Sara! I’m really intrigued by memory loss books as well, luckily there are a lot of them out there. Violet sounds like she’s gonna be an interesting character but hopefully not too robotic.

  6. Becca

    So glad you liked this!! I was starting to think I was the only one who really, really enjoyed Unremembered. I agree, it wasn’t quite a 5-star, but it’s definitely good enough to check out the next one. I actually thought everything tied up nicely, but I was probably so blown away by that last (giant!) twist that I didn’t notice anything else left unsolved (besides a clear opening for the next installment). Great review!

    • Sara @ Forever 17 Books

      Yay, I’m glad you liked it too! I really just had one question not answered, but it didn’t really take anything. And it is definitely something I know will be revisited in the series.

  7. Lauren

    So glad to hear you enjoyed this one, despite it losing a bit of steam. I’ve seen so many amazing reviews of this, I think I finally have to bite the bullet and pick it up. Great review!

  8. Wendy Darling

    I like memory loss stories too, but I have to admit I didn’t enjoy this as much as you did–I actually DNFd it. I figured things out pretty early, though, so that definitely affected how I felt about it. But I’m glad you enjoyed overall, thanks for the review!

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden


    I really ended up enjoying this one Sara, like you did! While the whole “girl loses memory doesnt know who she is” thing has been done before, i felt this book took that idea and made it so uterly original and amazing…while I guessed some stuff, others were a complete surprise to me. And having the romance already established before the beginning of the book (to some degree) worked in it’s advantage greatly!

  10. Jennifer Messerschmidt

    I’ve seen a lot of mixed review on this one but I also love memory loss stories and have been excited about this one for along time. So I will still give it a try sometime! Glad it worked for you and hopefully I’ll enjoy it too.

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