Author: Miranda Kenneally
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: March 1st, 2013
Interest: Author / Contemporary
Source: E-galley via NetGalley/publisher
Summary (From Goodreads): Companion to Catching Jordan and Stealing Parker.
Kate has always been the good girl. Too good, according to some people at school—although they have no idea the guilty secret she carries. But this summer, everything is different…
This summer she’s a counselor at Cumberland Creek summer camp, and she wants to put the past behind her. This summer Matt is back as a counselor too. He’s the first guy she ever kissed, and he’s gone from a geeky songwriter who loved The Hardy Boys to a buff lifeguard who loves to flirt…with her.
Kate used to think the world was black and white, right and wrong. Turns out, life isn’t that easy…
I’m a big Miranda Kenneally fan, so I have been super excited to read Things I Can’t Forget. I read Catching Jordan and Stealing Parker in one sitting each, but I didn’t have that experience with Things I Can’t Forget. I was having a difficult time connecting with Kate because she and I are so different. Thankfully, as Kate grew as a character, I grew more invested in the story and ended up really enjoying it.
Things I Can’t Forget is much different from Catching Jordan and Stealing Parker. It’s not nearly as light-hearted and it’s much more about faith and religion than the other two. I’d also feel comfortable placing it in the New Adult category since Kate is getting ready to start college and is trying to figure out who she is, what she believes, and what she wants to do with her life. Miranda Kenneally has taken each book up a notch in terms of sexuality and religion, so I’m curious to see what she has in store for us in her next book, Racing Savannah. Things I Can’t Forget isn’t overly sexual, but some of the scenes and descriptions border on what I’ve read in New Adult novels. I like how she handled the sexuality because it fits with where Kate is in her life and her beliefs. She’s testing the waters and growing as a person. Kate’s discovering what she’s okay with, what her limits are, how to discuss this maturely, and how it all ties in with her religion.
I didn’t grow up as religious as Kate, so it was difficult for me to connect with her, however I have students right now who remind me of her quite a bit. Things I Can’t Forget is more serious than Kenneally’s other books, but I can see it benefiting teens who are like Kate and teens who are different from Kate. Teens who have grown up like Kate might connect with her and enjoy reading about someone so connected to her faith, while teens who aren’t as connected might read this and be able to better understand their friends who are like Kate.
Kate’s working with a girl named Parker, and silly me didn’t realize it’s Parker from Stealing Parker until almost 70% into the book. I don’t know if that was a blonde moment or what, but it made me feel dumb. Anyway, I was happy to see Parker because we get to find out how she’s doing and what’s happened to her since the end of Stealing Parker. I have a couple students in class right now who will probably want to read this for that reason. We get to see Jordan from Catching Jordan as well, which is equally as cool.
Besides not really liking Kate at the beginning of the story (This eventually changed. I even teared up a bit for her towards the end.), my big qualm with the book is the writing. As opposed to Kenneally’s first two books, the writing in Things I Can’t Forget felt rushed. Some of the dialogue is choppy and difficult to decipher who is speaking, and some of the sentence structure is too simplistic. Parts of the book just didn’t read like they were edited thoroughly enough or like an author who’s already written and published two books had written them. I’m not trying to be harsh or overly critical, but I know Kenneally’s signed on for at least a couple more books with the publisher which makes me wonder if she really was rushing while writing this (the next book is due to release in December).
I do think it’s a good book with a solid story that has a place with teen readers. I’m looking forward to hearing my students’ reactions because I have many who are looking forward to reading this.