Mini Review: Unremembered by Jessica Brody

Jessica Brody

Farrar, Straus, & Giroux
Released March 5, 2013
320 pages
YA / Science Fiction

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When Freedom Airlines flight 121 went down over the Pacific Ocean, no one ever expected to find survivors. Which is why the sixteen-year-old girl discovered floating among the wreckage—alive—is making headlines across the globe.

Even more strange is that her body is miraculously unharmed and she has no memories of boarding the plane. She has no memories of her life before the crash. She has no memories period. No one knows how she survived. No one knows why she wasn’t on the passenger manifest. And no one can explain why her DNA and fingerprints can’t be found in a single database in the world.

Crippled by a world she doesn’t know, plagued by abilities she doesn’t understand, and haunted by a looming threat she can’t remember, Seraphina struggles to piece together her forgotten past and discover who she really is. But with every clue only comes more questions. And she’s running out of time to answer them.

Her only hope is a strangely alluring boy who claims to know her from before the crash. Who claims they were in love. But can she really trust him? And will he be able to protect her from the people who have been making her forget?

From popular young adult author Jessica Brody comes a compelling and suspenseful new sci-fi series, set in a world where science knows no boundaries, memories are manipulated, and true love can never be forgotten.

I love fish out of water characters, especially those that have no idea how to act in modern society. While Unremembered’s Sera is highly intelligent and athletic, she doesn’t get social niceties or have a single memory to rely on. There is something strange about Sera from the beginning when she tells the rescuers that the year is 1609, and she becomes more unique and out of place as the story moves along.

Unremembered is an easy book, fast paced and moving swiftly from one plot point to the next. Sera’s internal monologue can get a little overbearing at times with the barrage of doubts and confusion muddling her narration of actual events, but once Zen shows up to balance out her paranoia and fill in several of the blanks in her background, the story really gets going.  It’s this background that really makes the book special. Sera is your generic model-perfect teenage girl with crazy abilities, but when placed in a world of secret scientific experiments and memory wipes, she becomes more.

Using flashbacks via an external memory drive (literally a drive filled with Sera’s memories) allows for the character to become more than just a perfect shell, but it is Zen that really makes her come alive. Despite only being on screen for short periods of time, he makes Sera interesting by representing her past, her future and all the crazy question marks that follow her around. He isn’t really a three dimensional character, more of a place holder of what could be, but he’s adorable and the token adoring boyfriend that comes in to save the day, only to get beat up and need to be saved by the girl.

I’m not going to spoil one of the more interesting twists, mostly because had I known what was coming, I may have not enjoyed Unremembered as much as I did, but also because if I think about it too hard, there’s the potential for the standard giant plot holes that come along with certain science fiction tropes and will make my head hurt. There’s just enough scifi in this book to keep my attention, but not enough to turn off people who don’t like science fiction or the exposition that usually comes with it.

Unremember is the start of a series that has a lot of potential with a shady bad guy fronting an even shadier conglomerate and a worthy pair of teen protagonists that will inevitably attempt to bring them down. While the fast-paced nature of the story allows it to be entertaining, it sets up far more interesting ideas and plotlines that I’m excited to follow in the follow ups down the road. What the characters may have lacked in originality, the world building made up for in interesting ideas and clever plot twists.