Thursday, August 5, 2010
Review: Forget You by Jennifer Echols
High school senior Zoey thought her life was bad enough when her father left them for another woman and her mother suffered a mental breakdown. But then she gets into a bad car accident... with no memory of what happened the night before leading up to the accident... and with Doug Fox, of all people. Doug, a hot former juvenile delinquent, has seemed to have hated Zoey since freshman year.
If Zoey wants to piece together what happened that night, however, she will need Doug's help. And the more she gets to know him, the more confused she is. She's with Brandon, the school's star football player...right? Then why does she feel so attracted to Doug? Is she going to go crazy like her mother?
Jennifer Echols is the author of a well-appreciated number of touching romances for both MTV and Simon RomCom, but FORGET YOU felt sadly short in my opinion. I never fully felt a connection to and between the characters, and the the plot was jerky and disorienting more often than satisfying.
It's hard to get a read on Zoey. One minute she seems self-assured and capable of figuring out her own problems (with support from others, probably, but mostly independently); the next, she's flipping out, desperately and stubbornly repeating her emanations that she's "with Brandon" (which I can understand to an extent: she's at a vulnerable time in her life and wants to feel loved--but she had been so much smarter before they got "together" that I didn't entirely understand why she was so obstinate about the situation with Brandon), and then practically manipulating Doug's help for whatever thing she needs next. Zoey's eventual revelation of her mother's psychological illness did not have enough lead-up for me to believe that they were causing her own insecurities as well. Thus, I was left simply feeling confused, then irritated, that she was so inconsistent, her motivations so opaque.
I felt like I was in a fog for nearly the whole time I was reading this book. I found myself constantly having to stop, think "What the heck just happened?" and going back to reread the paragraph. Probably not a good sign. I'm not asking for perfect clarity from a story, of course--sometimes it's a good experience for the reader to do some deductive work themselves--but I DO want motivations and events to be believable and understandable. In FORGET YOU, I had trouble believing that. Zoey's far from perfect--she can be downright cruel and inconsiderate at times--and that's okay, but I just couldn't qualify her reasoning for being so.
Similarly, I thought Doug's devotion to Zoey was sweet, but I couldn't understand it. They were both attempting to play games with each another, both being people who like to be in control. Which is totally fine, except that I didn't understand that until the very end, when they actually explain it out loud. Such a fundamental aspect of their personalities should be more apparent throughout the book. Once again, there was very little explanation for why the characters were acting in their crazy ways. The why's in this book were not answered as well as I wanted.
FORGET YOU is a brave attempt to break a lot of YA conventions, but it fell short in many areas for me. However, this will not deter me from reading Jennifer Echols' other works, and this doesn't mean that FORGET YOU is a bad book. It is simply a challenging one to be engaged with.
Overall Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Cover discussion: 3 out of 5 - I think those are very good models for Zoey and Doug, but otherwise, it's just a sweet little thing that could work for many other love stories. I like how the desaturated brightness looks good alongside Going Too Far, though.
MTV / July 20, 2010 / Paperback / 304pp. / $11.00
ARC received through Around the World Tours.