Monday, June 9, 2014

Mini Review: (Don't You) Forget About Me - Kate Karyus Quinn

My mini review of (Don't You) Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn, a young genre bender (mixing elements of horror, magical realism, and contemporary) about a girl with memory problems who lives in and must learn more about Gardnerville, a paradise-like town hiding a grim truth, in order to discover herself and cope with her grief, published by Harper Teen on June 10, 2014.
(Don't You) Forget About Me - Kate Karyus Quinn | Goodreads

Welcome to Gardnerville.

A place where no one gets sick. And no one ever dies.

Except...

There’s a price to pay for paradise. Every fourth year, the strange power that fuels the town exacts its payment by infecting teens with deadly urges. In a normal year in Gardnerville, teens might stop talking to their best friends. In a fourth year, they’d kill them.

Four years ago, Skylar’s sister, Piper, was locked away after leading sixteen of her classmates to a watery grave. Since then, Skylar has lived in a numb haze, struggling to forget her past and dull the pain of losing her sister. But the secrets and memories Piper left behind keep taunting Skylar—whispering that the only way to get her sister back is to stop Gardnerville’s murderous cycle once and for all.



  • My experience with Kate Karyus Quinn's stories has been that they are always unpredictable. I think that I might know where the story is headed, but I forget that her stories are so unique and weirdly creative. Even if the plot has a typical structure (rise & fall action plot + climax), I don't know how she plans on resolving the various issues until I'm actually reading her resolution.
  • Kate Karyus Quinn also seems to be one of those rare authors whose work is very consistent. If you liked Another Little Piece, you'll probably like this. If you found ALP to be too confusing or thought it veered off into strange directions, you might think the same of Don't You Forget about Me. Both books are written in a similarly dreamy, twisted way and feature similar characters and romances. Reading this book made me think, "Ah, here's a Kate Karyus Quinn romance. Here's a Kate Karyus Quinn protagonist. Here's the atmosphere that Karyus Quinn creates."
  • Don't You Forget About Me also has themes similar to those in Another Little Piece. Again there's the coping with grief twined with self-identity issues. There are characters with secrets, characters whose secrets make for interesting backstories that also feed into the dreamy, twisted atmosphere. There's a hint of romance that pushes along the themes and the plot as the protagonist learns to hold her own in her evolving world, which is one of the most creative I've read (and makes me wonder how Karyus Quinn comes up with her ideas). And again Quinn amazes me with her beautiful writing and atmosphere, and if you're looking for your next unique YA read, check out Don't You Forget about Me.

21 comments:

  1. I did like Another Little Piece, even though it was strange and creepy and twisted. Or maybe that's why I liked it. I'll definitely be reading this one…I do like how unique and creative her books are. Great review! ~Pam

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  2. I've really been wanting to read a Quinn book. I've heard good things about Another Little Piece, and I do like books with a bit of a haunting atmosphere. But I am a little intimidated, too. Perhaps if I listened to them I would enjoy them more.

    Great review!

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  3. I haven't read this or Another Little Piece, but it sounds like I'd be a huge fan of the author's work, if only I'd give it a try. I love the way you describe this, the dreamy quality, the uniqueness, the unpredictability. Those are all things that scream that this is a "Jen" book. I'm going to have to make time for my review copy and then pick up the other book, too. Great review, Christina!

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  4. I've been seeing this around lately on GR and many blogs, and I am very intrigued by its premise. I love that the story is weirdly dreamy and unique on its own, and it features a creative world building and characters. Plus, the whole mystery/secrets aspect has me curious about this book's ending. I definitely need to check this one out. Glad you enjoyed this Christina! Fabulous review! :D

    ~ Maida
    Literary Love Affair

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  5. Well, you definitely summed up your thoughts on (Don't You) Forget About Me much better than I did! ;) I actually really liked this one, even though the beginning was a little too boring for me to enjoy it fully, but I agree 100% with your review. Kate Quinn is definitely one of the most unpredictable authors ever, and she also comes up with the most original stories! What I liked more about this book, compared to her debut one, was that this was much easier to wrap my head around -- it was more straightforward. Another Little Piece required a bit more thinking to fully understand its concept... which I've forgotten by now.


    Oh well. Kate's one author whose books I'll always want to read. <3

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  6. Personally, I think that there is still a chance that people who didn't like Another Little Piece will like this too because it did seem a lot easier to get to for me :) I absolutely adored about books (even if I prefer Another Little Piece) and I am so so glad to see you did too! :)


    I have a theory though, I think Kate either has magical powers or she sold her soul in exchange for beautiful writing skills. I can never seem to get enough of her works. They are both so beautifully written and Kate always manages to surprise me which makes me so incredibly happy! :)


    Fantastic mini-review, Christina! :)

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  7. Lovely review. This definitely sound like something I'd enjoy. I love unpredictable, weird YA. I actually haven't read ALP yet but I plan to, and this one grabbed me too. Well, the cover grabbed me, but the synopsis kept me. :P

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  8. I definitely need to pick up a book by Quinn soon, I've heard amazing things about her writing and I adore books which keep you on your toes with endless surprises. I'm glad that you enjoyed this Christina!

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  9. I have read some great reviews about this book, so I definitely need to pick this up asap! I love that the writing here is weird and creative at the same time, and that we get great characters and a little romance in the story. Plus, the whole premise sounds very intriguing for this. My kind of read! I'm glad you enjoyed this, Christina! Fab review! :D

    ~ Maida
    Literary Love Affair

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  10. I haven't read her other book, but I saw this one on Edelweiss and decided to go for it. I must say that it takes time to get used to her writing. It's all a bit weird at the moment. I can't wait to see the evolving world, because everyone talks about how unique it is :)

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  11. Hahaha, this ("I did like Another Little Piece, even though it was strange and creepy and twisted. Or maybe that's why I liked it.") is basically a summary of my feelings about her books. Plus the writing because that will always be awesome. I hope you enjoy Don't You Forget about Me!

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  12. Oooh, that would be a good choice. I imagine, with the right narrator, the dreamy atmosphere can really come to life in the audiobook. At the same time, though, you might get confused when some of the twisty things because you'd be like... wait... what? Hmmm, well, I do hope you'll get to pick up a Quinn book soon & enjoy it :)

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  13. I really do think you'd like this book, Jen. The atmosphere, unique story, the unpredictability -- really and truly, I do think this would be a Jen book. I'd suggest this book over Another Little Piece, and I hope you'll have time soon to read it :).

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  14. Hahaha, what, that can't be true because I had such a hard time writing this review and kept thinking: this isn't long enough. Have you even said anything about the book that would convince people to read it?

    Anywho, the beginning was a bit boring - and I did get kind of confused with the forget-me-nots, but then things picked up and we both enjoyed it :).

    "What I liked more about this book, compared to her debut one, was that this was much easier to wrap my head around -- it was more straightforward. Another Little Piece required a bit more thinking to fully understand its concept... which I've forgotten by now."



    ^-- Agreed. I think the concept for this book is also more or less explained in the synopsis - you learn more about it, but it doesn't come as too much of a surprise. ALP has that added "bruha" witch and heart stuff that personally took me completely by surprise when I read it.

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  15. lol I feel like you'd actually enjoy this one. Read this over ALP because ALP is a bit less straightforward. BUT at the same time, I think that this isn't 100% a CJ book. (Okay, I said the same of Shadow and Bone, recommending it to you and then being like oh no, what if she doesn't like it ahhhhhh....). I'll have to wait and see what you think of this.

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  16. Oh, definitely! I think I wouldn't wish that of any author - saying that their next book won't appeal to fans of the first... I think that ALP was a little less straightforward than DYFaM, but I figured that the people who had also tried and disliked ALP might be less forgiving when reading DYFaM :).


    lol she has very beautiful writing. she's an author who I feel like I learn a lot from and will probably continue to expect great things from because of these two great novels. I'm glad you enjoyed DYFaM and ALP (am curious about why you prefer ALP :O), and I hope you continue to enjoy her work :)

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  17. You know you want to read this book soon, Jasprit! Don't You Forget about Me is more straightforward than ALP, and both definitely keep you on your shoes, so I'd recommend you start with DYFaM if you do get around to reading a Quinn book :)

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  18. Hahha, it does. And DYFaM is a bit slow in the beginning, with the forget-me-nots and trying to place what exactly happened, buuut I hope you do get used to the weird, dreamy writing ;) and the world turns out to be what you'd like.

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  19. Haha, you know my tastes well. :P I do like weird books. (And then I loved it like you knew I would before you started doubting yourself, of course.) I'll have to wait to. TBR wtf.

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  20. I remember reading Another Little Piece some time ago... It was such of a bizarre, unpredictable, and strangely compelling book, and I am so excited for (Don't You) Forget About Me! I do love those Kate Karyus Quinn protagonists, those Kate Karyus Quinn atmospheres, and those Kate Karyus Quinn romances :P And I am so interested in the world Quinn invented in this novel-- it sounds so mysterious and creative!

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  21. I haven't read this yet, nor have I read Another Little Piece, though I do have that beauty on my shelf. You definitely have me intrigued about this author's writing now. I'll be sure to check it out. Great review, Christina! :)

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