Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I’ve always been critical of debut novels because I feel that debut novels are never as good as the books written by experienced writers. Prose, language and characterization improves over time, and it is with this mindset that I approached the book Forgotten by Cat Patrick (out in June 2011).

For a debut novel, it is quite good. No, what I mean to say is this, it’s a great book, whether it is a debut novel or not. Opening it, I didn’t know what to expect. A girl that doesn’t remember her memories when she wakes up? Would the novel be like Fallen, whose heroine is a part of something supernatural? Or would it be like a Harlequin novel where the guy turns out to play a major role and the book centers on the relationship?

As it turns out it was neither of them. Sixteen-year-old London Lane is somewhat of a normal teenager. She doesn’t remember the past, she has to rely on notes that she took of her day. Rather, she only sees what the future holds for her, and the people that she knows. When London meets a new guy who plays no part of her foreseeable future, she is confused. Visions of her future (or is it just her past?) start to affect London and London cannot make sense of them. London soon tries to remember and discover her past, so she can make sense of the future.

Forgotten flowed nicely and the language was quite good. Despite it being a YA novel, which usually deal with shallow relationships and cliché materialistic issues, Forgotten goes into the minds and thoughts of teens. It deals with the always present wish of being accepted by others, the desire to be “normal” and the wish of helping friends when what they’re doing is not right.

High school is never easy, and the desire to be normal and to gain acceptance is always going to be present, no matter where someone is or what the time period. Teens try to wear the latest fashion, say things that are so-called “cool” to be “accepted”. However, what is acceptance? Is it blending in with people, saying the same stuff, and never standing out as a unique individual? Is it hiding the real person that you really are inside of you, hiding the flaws and quirks that everyone has? Being in high school, acceptance is never an option, but Forgotten brings to light that it’s okay being the person you are- with all the flaws, quirks, and oddities.
The themes of the past, present and future, the very things that determine who someone is, are all present in Forgotten, by Cat Patrick. The past determines who we are, the present determines who we will be, and the future, if you know what will happen, determines what you’ll work towards. Even for someone like London, who can see the future, the future changes depending on the actions that happen now. When one lets the stones fall where they may (is that the right idiom?) of course the future will turn out how you predicted it to be, but if you chance, the future will also change. Nothing is set in stone.

To borrow a quote from Arina Tanemura, famous Japanese manga (Japanese comic) artist, the ending left me returning to reality feeling shocked. It was a quick read (I finished it in 1.5 hours but it was nearly 300 pages) and at the end, it made me think about myself and my future. I had reconsidered some things and I’ll strive toward a future that I decide. The ending provided somewhat of a closure for me, but I’m sure that the characters will lead fulfilling lives, according to their own wishes and determined by themselves. 


P.S I couldn't find any ordering options online probably due to it being a debut novel, but I'll post buying options when I find it. 

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