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Sunday, March 27, 2011

ARC Review: Memento Nora by Angie Smibert

Would you rather forget things that can hurt you? Or remember and live on to tell it to the world?

This question has been going through my mind over and over while reading Angie Smibert's debut novel, the thought provoking, timely read, Memento Nora.

Title: Memento Nora by Angie Smibert
Pages: 192
Release Date: April 28th 2011
Published by: Marshall Cavendish Children's Books
Source: Publisher (thanks Marshall Cavendish!)
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository

Summary (from Memento Nora's website):

Nora, the popular girl and happy consumer, witnesses a horrific bombing on a shopping trip with her mother. In Nora’s near-future world, terrorism is so commonplace that she can pop one little white pill to forget and go on like nothing ever happened. However, when Nora makes her first trip to a Therapeutic Forgetting Clinic, she learns what her mother, a frequent forgetter, has been frequently forgetting. Nora secretly spits out the pill and holds on to her memories. The memory of the bombing as well as her mother’s secret and her budding awareness of the world outside her little clique make it increasingly difficult for Nora to cope. She turns to two new friends, each with their own reasons to remember, and together they share their experiences with their classmates through an underground comic. They soon learn, though, they can’t get away with remembering.
Imagine if things were as easy in our world today. A pop of a pill and every single time you see something traumatic, or bad, or you have something you just want to forget, its all gone.

Nora lives in a time where you earn points to buy things. Having real money to buy things actually means you have a bad enough standing because it's already an unconventional way to acquire things. And frequenting a TFC is an easy way of gathering points. Terrorism is prevalent AND is an ordinary happening. The government actually encourages people to forget, thus the TFCs.

"Memento". Remember. It all started with that word. Had Nora not seen that on Mica's cast, she might not have chosen to not swallow that pill. Micah might not have known Nora, and Winter might not have been pulled into Nora & Micah's plan of sharing what they do not want to forget by helping them publish a comic.

Told through Nora, Micah and Winter's perspective, Memento Nora paints a picture of a future society that is frightening and disturbing yet it felt so real. Through different circumstances and situations of all three characters, they form an allegiance that got out of hand, but through it, the sleepy, forgetful minds of the citizens slowly started waking up, and what started as a simple form of "remembering", of telling people their stories, becomes the start of something powerful that none of them can't stop.

Memento Nora's story echoed deeper into the recesses of my mind more than I wanted it to. It made me look back into the situation my own country was facing, all the bombing and the killings done by terrorist groups. It's happening right now. The only problem is we do not have pills we can take to forget. But if we do, would I want to forget, given the choice? Would I be able to take my own stand and encourage people to remember and fight back instead of hiding away all those memories? Memento Nora sends such a strong message to readers like me that I couldn't help responding to.

When you look at it, Memento Nora's story is simple, even short by normal standards for a book, set in a world years from now yet it tackled issues our society is facing today. Terrorism and consumerism told with a sci-fi twist.

You can't possibly classify anyone as a "minor" character because each story arc is an integral part of the story. Micah's situation with his mom, their bad standing, Winter, with her parents locked up by the government, and Nora, living a life she thought was perfect but slowly realizing she had a mother so scared she'd rather forget, and a father who plays a larger role in the bombings. You can't throw away any of it. Each had their own distinctive voice that helps paint this violent, and terrifying future, possibly just a few years away from where we are now.

Angie Smibert's debut novel is a stunning, thrilling, suspense filled read full of interesting individuals, a gripping storyline and a stirring theme. I highly recommend this book to everyone, even to non sci-fi & dystopian fans!

My rating

Content (plot, story flow, character):

Stunning: Worthy of a Goddess' Praise!

Book Cover:
Nora and that dreadful future world? Beautiful!

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


U.S. and Canadian residents, you might want to take a few minutes off and participate in the Memento Nora project. If you have something you want to share like Nora and Micah, then join the contest! Submission Guidelines and other details can be found HERE.


  1. What a great review! It's always so powerful when a book can connect with you on such a personal level. I'm guessing this book will touch many people in the same way.

  2. Wow, this is the second positive review I've read within the past couple of days and I am so sold on this novel. It sounds amazing and such a thought-provoking subject. I don't think I could pop a pill to forget... no matter what it was, I feel the truth is most important, we grow from the bad memories. I'm so intrigued by this and can't wait to read it. Great review!


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