ARC Review: The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner {4.5 stars}

Title: The Memory of Things
Author: Gae Polisner
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Historical Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: September 6th, 2016
Pages: 288
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
The powerful story of two teenagers finding friendship, comfort, and first love in the days following 9/11 as their fractured city tries to put itself back together.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, sixteen-year-old Kyle Donohue watches the first twin tower come down from the window of Stuyvesant High School. Moments later, terrified and fleeing home to safety across the Brooklyn Bridge, he stumbles across a girl perched in the shadows. She is covered in ash and wearing a pair of costume wings. With his mother and sister in California and unable to reach his father, a New York City detective likely on his way to the disaster, Kyle makes the split-second decision to bring the girl home. What follows is their story, told in alternating points of view, as Kyle tries to unravel the mystery of the girl so he can return her to her family. But what if the girl has forgotten everything, even her own name? And what if the more Kyle gets to know her, the less he wants her to go home? The Memory of Things tells a stunning story of friendship and first love and of carrying on with our day-to-day living in the midst of world-changing tragedy and unforgettable pain—it tells a story of hope.

I was given a copy of this book by St. Martin's Griffin 
through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I was only in prep 1 when the planes hit the twin towers. I remember not understanding what my teacher was saying when she told us the news the next day, and I just proceeded to talk with my seat mates. Being in the Philippines and being just a kid, I was clueless about what happened. It wasn't until years later that I learned and was able to comprehend the tragedy that struck New York that day.

According to the author's note, this book is not about tragedy but about hope, solidarity and peace amidst tragedy, and I think that it's the perfect description for this book. Kyle was moving away from the twin towers when he saw a girl in need of help. The girl lost her memory but Kyle took her with him to their apartment. This story follows how Kyle took charge in the absence of his parents, needing to take care of his paralyzed uncle and the girl who lost her memory, all while tracking his parents and sister through the disaster. 

I know that this is not about tragedy, but let's just talk about that for a moment. Being in the Philippines and a kid when it happened, I didn't really know how big of a tragedy 9/11 is (and I use is because it still affects a lot of people until today). I knew that it was a tragedy, but I didn't care much. However, reading this book really made me feel what it was like to be in the middle of the tragedy, and the horror that everyone experienced. This book made 9/11 resonate in my heart and my memory. 

Gae Polisner's writing style is just amazing that it allowed me to experience everything as if I was there myself. She writes in such a way that I was able to really absorb and internalize everything, and that's such a powerful thing for her to have because not all authors can do that. Sure, most authors can make us feel something, but not to this extent. And I'm glad that Gae Polisner used her talent to write about this topic because it's something that not many talk about. 

Now onto the romance part. The romance is the clichéd convenient romance because they're the only two teenagers there, but it was also realistic in a way. They knew that things will be different after the tragedy, and they would have to deal with people outside of their bubble. In that way, it was realistic for me. Romance is not the central part of this book and it didn't really make me feel a lot of feels, but I think that it was a really important part of the story, with what the author was trying to get across. 

Aside from the above-mentioned things, I don't really know what more to say about this book and I why I really liked it. It's just amazing overall and I don't know what details to give. The whole book just tied together so well from beginning to end. It's such a powerful novel, and I believe that everyone has to read it. It wasn't boring in any way, but it was kind of somber because of the overarching frame of tragedy. I would really like to read more books like this one when I get the time, and if you guys have read anything like this, please recommend some to me.

4.5 cuts-through-you stars. 

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