Book of the Week: Unremembered by Jessica Brody

One of the authors I was privileged to meet at WonderCon was Jessica Brody, capsule author of several young adult novels, viagra sale the most recent of which is Unremembered.

I had already started the book when I met her but hadn’t gotten more than halfway through it. After meeting her, page I was determined to go home and finish it, because she was a sweet author with wonderful insights and great writing advice.

I stayed up late Tuesday night, finishing the book and here it is for you all, my review of the first installment in the Unremembered Trilogy:

Unremembered by Jessica Brody 

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Genre:
young adult, romance, mystery, science fiction

Part of a Series?:
Yes. The first installment of the Unremembered trilogy. This book is the only one published so far.

You May Like if You Liked:
This one is kind of hard. I haven’t read anything quite like this, as far as science fiction goes. I would slightly link it to The Host by Stephenie Meyer.

Plot Summary: 

Sera wakes up in the middle of the ocean, in the wreckage of a plane crash as the only survivor without any memory whatsoever of who she is or where she’s from or anything. When she is rescued, she says the year is 1609. While at the hospital, she becomes famous as she has no identity, no memories, nothing. And mysteriously enough, she wasn’t listed on the passenger manifest and no one seems to know who she is. People around the hospital call her Violet, because of her violet eyes, and she is soon placed in foster care until they can find who she belongs to.

Then a boy appears (doesn’t it always happen), named Zen, who says he knows who she is, that her name is Sera (or Seraphina) and that they are in love. He wants to protect her but Sera doesn’t really understand what from.

Then she starts to realize how different she is from the rest of the people she meets. She’s ridiculously smart and can add up large sums without blinking an eye. Words pop in her memory through dictionary definitions. She speaks different languages without even realizing that she is doing so.  She doesn’t understand emotions, and her body is stronger than a normal human, running abnormally fast and ripping car doors off without even really trying. She has absolutely no memories of anything. Suddenly, the things Zen is saying are start to make sense and she embarks on a journey to figure who, or what, she is.

The Bad:

I always do the bad first. I think I like to get it out of the way, because as a writer, I hate to talk bad on other writers even though I know I write badly at times and I love to hear bad reviews of my books because its the only way I can get better.

And I LOVED this book, I really truly did.

But the one kind of beef I had with it was the ending. Not the ending exactly. I thought it was a good ending. It left off with a cliffhanger, LITERALLY a cliffhanger, but it was really fast. It happened really fast. I felt like there was a ton of build up, and it ended super quickly. I think maybe it did because Jessica has more for us in the second and third books but I was a little disappointed at how fast the ending happened, not the ending itself. It was a great ending, enough was answered to satisfy the reader and yet there was a lot unanswered that it makes the reader want to read the next.

The Good:

I have to get to the good now though because I really really enjoyed this book. What I really liked about this book was the character development of the book, which I think a lot of books nowadays are missing, and the action and romance of it, balanced enough so that its not too much of each. Its not overly full of action but its not a sappy romance and I feel like its a balanced blend that we really don’t get to see much of anymore.

First off, there’s the development of Sera and her story. Its very intriguing and it really gets you thinking. Of course, Jessica KNEW who Sera was but when you start reading the story, Sera is a blank slate, completely. How difficult it had to be to write a character who is basically a human robot. She has no memories of anything. She doesn’t know what food is, what cars are. She has no concept of emotions, no idea what a hug is, or what beauty is. She knows nothing. But for some reason, she knows numbers and she can count. She has a dictionary in her head that downloads definitions of words as she hears them. She is the strangest main character that I have read in quite a long time and I think that’s the reason I was caught so fast. She is intriguing and you can’t help but want to know about her.

Because think about it: she’s basically a 16 year old infant (for the most part). She’s relearning so many things, like cars and food and all kinds of things. She doesn’t even understand clothing, like underwear or pants. Its crazy. I look around me as I write this post and wonder how I would feel if I didn’t know what the computer in front of me was, what the Internet was, if the things in this room would confuse me. The psychology of it, and of Sera, was intriguing and thought provoking. I’ve read books where characters lose their memories but they still know some things, like food and technology and things like that. Sera is completely a clean slate, except her ridiculous aptitude for numbers.

I also like the relationship between Sera and Zen because it takes most of the book to develop because of her memory loss. Even when you do get the memory flash backs of their relationship, you realize that, yes, it was a bit cheesy but it wasn’t a quick, cheesy fall in love sort of thing. Zen really had to win her over, because she was basically emotionless the way she is in this particular book. It’s not forced, in my opinion. The feelings Sera has for Zen are memories of what she felt before she lost her memories and so none of it seems forced at all.

I also love the science fiction of it. Its very Jason Bourne of the Bourne series but with a badass sixteen year old girl. And I like it more because of that. We don’t see a lot of characters like this and it was extremely refreshing. It wasn’t a super new concept but it was presented in a very new way. After a hundred million books about angels and vampires and werewolves and magic and dystopian societies, it was really nice to read a book that was straight up science fiction, with labs and genetics and memory cubes and time travel and all kinds of really cool stuff.

Also, I just liked watching Sera experience everything for the first time. I liked the way she discovered the Internet and found it absolutely fascinating. I loved her observation of cars and grocery stores and clothes. I really loved her discovery of grilled cheese sandwiches. Imagine trying your absolute favorite food for the first time, as if you’d never tried it before. Exactly. I loved her reaction to that. It was kind of fun to experience that with her.

Lastly, I just like her name. I was wary about Seraphina, its a little abnormal for me but Sera is beautiful. And yeah, I’m partly saying that because my name is Sara. I just think its a gorgeous spelling of such a traditional name.

Rating: 

4.5 out of 5 Stars.

Recommended or Not?: 

Most definitely. Its the first of the series so if you like it, you can eagerly wait the next installment, Unforgotten (which I have just been informed by Jessica is to be released in March of next year). And honestly, its a really thought provoking series. I think some people may be turned off on it because of the science fiction aspect of it but I loved it. Its seriously addicting watching Sera as she rediscovers the world and who she is, and how she rediscovers Zen.

The best thing is, you can try the first five chapters of the book for FREE for Kindle on Amazon. For those of you who don’t know, you can get the Kindle app for any device, or phone, or just your computer, so definitely download that, and try the first five chapters for free. You may find that you need the rest of the book :)

Don’t forget if you click the book title above, it takes you straight to the Amazon page for the book!

Happy Reading!

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The Tuesday Ten: Favorite Pixar Movies

One of the best things about being a nerd is that you get to act like a kid, viagra 100mg and there’s a bunch of other adults who are acting like kids just like you. Its the best part, treat easily. Its like John Green said, side effects you don’t just say “hey, I like stuff”; you get to jump up and down and yell and squeal and get excited. There’s no holding back and its GREAT. You get to show all the excitement you feel for things and it makes you feel like a kid.

And being a kid is fun. And being a nerd is the best of both worlds: I get to be an adult without all those rules of being little but I get to have and enjoy things like we all do when we’re kids. I’m still going to cover my walls in posters and photos like I did when I was younger but instead of NSYNC and the Spice Girls, I now have Harry Potter and Doctor Who on the walls.

But that kind of inspired my Tuesday Top Ten today. One thing that has always really drawn me to Pixar and their movies, especially as an adult, is how you really can have the best of both worlds in their movies. You have all the awesome and fun of a kids movie, with the humor and silliness, and fun stories but you also have these very adult themes, and these incredibly touching moments and lessons.

Over the years, Disney has produced okay movies, but I was a child during the amazing golden years of the 1990s (Aladdin, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, The Rescuers Down Under, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mulan, etc). So while movies that have come out in the last ten to fifteen years are good, none of them with the HUGE exception of Tangled, have really jumped out at me the way they did when I was a child.

The exception to this (besides Tangled) is the Pixar animated films. Ever since I first watched Toy Story when I was a child, I have enjoyed each and every one that has come to pass and I have as an adult as well. Pixar captures the amazing stories of a kid and an adult and you can enjoy them and love them no matter what age you are.

Sounds a little bit like a nerd kind of thing, doesn’t it?

So that brings us to this week’s Top Ten.

10. The Incredibles 

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Robert Parr, a.k.a. Mr. Incredible, was used to a life of action and worship as a superhero, and he completed the circle by marrying a fellow super, Elastigirl, and started a whole super family. But superheroes are forced to go into hiding, to acclimate into normal society. But Rob doesn’t want that, he misses the day of being a superhero and when he finds an opportunity to get back in the game, he jumps in. It doesn’t take long to realize his enemy has reeled him in and its a race for survival, and to save the world one more time. Everyone wants to be a superhero so whats not to love about this movie? Its a funny, family movie that has its humorous moments (Dash is probably the HIGHLIGHT of this movie-“We’re going to die!”) but it also stresses the importance of family, and appreciating the love you get from the people you care about, and less about the applause you get.

9. A Bug’s Life

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I swear, this Pixar movie is the most underrated movie of the Pixar collection. I feel like everyone forgets this one when listing Pixar movies but it is is so awesome. Flik is a little ant, determined to make a difference, to be different from all the rest. And he’s also determined to protect his colony from the evil grasshoppers who terrorize them. He finds a group of circus bugs and convinces them to pose as warriors to save the colony, to convince the colony that his inventions and ideas are not crazy. Of course, the secret comes out and the colony isn’t happy…but then they realize that together, they can stand against the grasshoppers and eventually defeat them. Its a super sweet movie, and the story teaches us just as the others do: if we can stand together, we can accomplish so much. We should believe in ourselves and think out of the box. Anyone can be hero, no matter what size you are…which is one of my favorites. As a little person (I’m nearly 25 and only four foot eleven), those kind of lessons, that sort of themes, well, they’re awesome.

8. Ratatouille

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Isn’t that picture cute? Its a rat that makes food. A RAT that makes FOOD. Put those two together, and it sounds like something awful. We had rats in our house a few years back and it was awful. Remy is a rat living in Paris, where some of the most delicious food in the world exists, but he is surrounded by his family, who will eat whatever they find. After sneaking into a kitchen and preparing a soup, he is spotted by garbage boy, Linguini, and they pair up to become awesome chefs, to bring back the glory to a formerly five star restaurant. But this movie has so much charm, and its so deliciously French. And it involves food. I love food. Who doesn’t love food? Dumb, skinny people. I’m kidding. But this movie is so CHARMING. Its the first word that pops in my head when I think of this movie. The characters are all lovable, the storys is unique and great and its a fun movie to watch. And it teaches us that you can judge people on what they look like, or your preconceived judgements. Remy is a rat, and you definitely wouldn’t let him into the kitchen, but it turns out he is a great chef, a fantastic one, and he would never have gotten the chance if it wasn’t for Linguini believing in him.

7. Brave

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In response to the fact that Pixar did not have a strong female character, they created this most recent movie, Brave. Brave follows the character, Merida, who is the princess of Scotland. However, she isn’t quite the princess material, not like the princesses we know of previous Disney movies. She likes archery, eating, belching, riding her horse. She wants her freedom and she wants to break the rules. Of course, this doesn’t endear her to her mother, and they disagree often. Then when her mother is transformed into a bear by a spell, they have to work together to fix it and they both learn a little about ecah other. I love this movie because straight up, Merida is badass. Its about time we get a REAL princess. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I love Belle (BOOKS! She gets a library from the beast!) and I adore Rapunzel, but they’re so classically beautiful and skinny and perfect. Merida is short, has amazingly wild flaming red hair and can shoot better than anyone in her kingdom. Its a nice movie to show little girls, showing them that they can accomplish anything.

6. Toy Story

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As the first Pixar movie I have ever seen, as the first one to come bursting into our hearts, it has to make my top ten list. I don’t know anyone who didn’t wish their toys would come to life when they were a child. I don’t know many people who didn’t think they actually did. Wouldn’t that be absolutely wonderful? Woody is a cowboy toy, the favorite toy of Andy, and he enjoys being basically the king of Andy’s room. That is, until brand new and hip space toy, Buzz Lightyear comes into the room and everything changes for Woody. In the end, friendship conquers everything as Buzz and Woody realize that despite their differences, they are friends first and foremost. This is a story about friendship, hands down and you continue to see this sort of theme in the other two movies.

5. Finding Nemo

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I LOVE THIS MOVIE. My boyfriend doesn’t really like this one (He’s got this sort of negative bias when it comes to Ellen DeGeneres…and oddly, Kevin Costner) so I don’t get to watch it as much as I wish I could. However, I have seen it several times and I adore it; it really is a jewel in the Pixar family. Marlin is an uptight and overprotective father to son, Nemo, after his wife and the rest of their potential children are killed. One day, Nemo defies his father, in order to gain some freedom and is “kidnapped” by a fisherman. The movie continues as Marlin embarks on an epic journey to track down his son and bring him home, making friends and enemies along the way. I have always been into sea creatures, and I love that every creature in this movie has such a personality from Marlin to Dory the fish, Crush the turtle, Bruce the shark, and so on. And it really teaches us that we have to get out there in the world, experience things. We should always approach things with caution of course, but we won’t experience life or live life unless we loosen up a bit. Brilliant movie.

4. Monsters Inc

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I know a lot of people who would put this a lot lower on their list (Dad!) but I adore this movie. Its monsters, but unlike we’ve really seen them before. We learn of Monsters Inc, a company that uses the screams of children to power their city. They have “scarers”, monsters who sneak into kids rooms and scare them in order to get the screams and the energy. They don’t do it because they enjoy terrorizing us; in fact, they’re kind of scared of us. They just need the energy. Then one day, something goes a little wrong and a little girl, Boo, sneaks into Monstropolis and chaos ensues as Mike and Sully try to get her back home. I like this one because of Boo, mostly; she’s damn adorable and even though she’s a toddler, she’s fearless and she’s able to change the views of everyone in Monster world. It goes back to that idea of preconceived perceptions; they thought children were evil and hazardous but it turns out that they’re not, of course (I mean…most of the time…) and that laughter is actually a better source of energy than screams. I am still waiting for the sequel where we see an older Boo but I can’t wait to see Monsters University this summer.

3. Wall.E

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THIS MOVIE IS SO DAMN CUTE! It is one of the cutest and most romantic movies in the whole world and there isn’t even a lot of talking in this movie. Wall.E is back on earth, an earth of the future, where we have trashed it to pieces and have abandoned it for space. Wall.E remains, cleaning up the mess because that’s his job…until one day, EVE appears and he falls madly in love with the female robot. He follows her into space, on to the great ship where the humans are, and we see them try and convince them to come back, to bring the earth back to where she used to be. Its a beautiful story. First and foremost, its a love story and its one of the most sincere love stories I’ve seen in awhile. Most love stories nowadays are so chaotic and tragic and this one is just so simple and awesome. Some people think this movie is a little preachy but I like it. It may be a little bit extreme but the movie shows a lot of the truth. We need to take care of this planet, no matter how badly it gets and we should never abandon it, because it takes care of us. I also think the whole fat people in hover chairs on the space ship was a little dig too, that we need to get outside and enjoy life more often. I hope that I am able to do that and I know sometimes I am not. Another fantastic Pixar movie.

2. Toy Story 3

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This is one of the most emotional, raw movies I have ever seen…and its an animated childrens movie. We have now reached the end (or so we thought until they brought up Toy Story 4), and Andy is about ot go off to college. The toys haven’t been played with for years and they’re feeling neglected. Woody is going off to college with Andy but the rest of the toys are going to be put up in the attic…until the accidentally get donated to a preschool, and they are suddenly under the tyrannical rule of Lotso Huggin Bear. It really gives the toys a chance to think about their lives, even though their toys, and whether they need to hold on or move on. The scene where the toys hold hands together as they are heading toward death…tears. One of the most mature and real and raw portrayals of death and the acceptance of death I’ve ever seen…and in a children’s movie. The scene where Woody makes the decision that the toys should move on, go on to make a new child happy, and Andy realizes how much the toys have done for him…beautiful. I first watched Toy Story when it come out back in 1995 and to come full circle with these characters that I fell in love with as a child in 2010 at 22 years old is a wonderful thing.

1. Up

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I have seen this movie a hundred million trillion times. I can quote this entire movie. I quote this movie randomly throughout my daily life. (“I like you temporarily”. “But its a talking dog!” “Tomorrow, come back tomorrow and I will have the bird”) Its a sweet movie, it has romance and adventure. It begins with Carl as an adventure loving child, who meets Ellie, another adventure loving child. It shows their entire life together (to the tune of “Married Life”, which I am totally walking down the aisle to…and is the BEST part of the entire movie) all the way up until Ellie’s death, before they are ever able to go on their adventure to South America. Then we see Carl as an old man, stuck in his familar world, afraid to move on, talking to Ellie as if she’s still alive…and then he decides to go on an epic adventure, tying hundreds of balloons to his house, and taking off to Paradise Falls, meeting young Russell along the way. The movie shows an epic romance, a traditional classic romance that we all wish for, and it shows the sadness after the romance is over, after your partner dies. But it also shows us that we can find love in other ways, in the way that Carl finds love in Russell, and he is able to move on. Its such a wonderful, beautiful movie and I will never tire of it. Never ever. There is a reason that this movie (along with Beauty and the Beast and Toy Story 3) is one of the few animated films to ever be nominated for Best Picture.

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So there’s my top ten. I am so eager to see what else Pixar brings us in the future. They have never disappointed me (except maybe in the case of Cars 2, but I’ve never seen it so who knows) and they continue to make fun, and life changing movies.

I left off Toy Story 2, Cars, and Cars 2. I adore TS2 and Cars very much, but they just didn’t quite make the list. I also have never seen Cars 2 because, well, I don’t really have a desire to see it :/ However, I am very, very excited for Monsters University this summer!

Coming soon: post on Gallifrey One! I know, its so LATE but its coming, I swear! This month is insane! SO much going on. Its my birthday tomorrow!

What are YOUR favorite Pixar movies? Share them below!