The Memory Book by Lara Avery, published by Quercus Children's Books on 26th January 2017
Samantha McCoy has it all mapped out. First she's going to win the national debating championship, then she's going to move to New York and become a human rights lawyer. But when Sammie discovers that a rare disease is going to take away her memory, the future she'd planned so perfectly is derailed before it’s started. What she needs is a new plan.
So the Memory Book is born: Sammie’s notes to her future self, a document of moments great and small. Realising that her life won't wait to be lived, she sets out on a summer of firsts: The first party; The first rebellion; The first friendship; The last love.
Through a mix of heartfelt journal entries, mementos, and guest posts from friends and family, readers will fall in love with Sammie, a brave and remarkable girl who learns to live and love life fully, even though it's not the life she planned.
Yes, this book will make you cry, so be prepared. It's a moving and emotional read so buckle up.
Sam McCoy is seventeen and has a genetic disease which will eventually lead to her losing her memory. She will forget who she is, who her family are and what she had planned for her future. Sam decides to take action by starting to write down and record her memories. She hopes that this will help her to preserve who she is. Although she has big plans for her future, which include going to College in New York and becoming a human rights lawyer, everything has to change as her illness starts to progress.
At the beginning of the book, Sam is functioning pretty normally. She is set to compete at the national debating championship, she is just about keeping on top of her school work and she has a huge crush on Stuart Shah, a boy who used to go to her school. She's dealing with life and has a positive outlook on her future. Her illness is not something that she is going to let define her. I loved her drive and her optimism and her bravery in moving on with her life. As the story progresses, so do the symptoms of the disease and this was hard to read about at times. One of the things I also adored in the book was her relationship with her family. Her Mum and Dad are hugely supportive while at the same time being protective and I thought her three siblings were incredibly sweet.
The last couple of chapters in the book were gutting, I'm not going to lie. I was blubbering away like a baby at the end as it packed a real emotional punch. The story has inspired me to live life to the full and to make the most of every moment.