Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Book Review: The Unhappening of Genesis Lee by Shallee McArthur

Rating: ****
Genre: Science fiction mystery
Pages: 238
Series: Stand alone

Genesis Lee is many things-dancer, science geek, panic attack sufferer-but the core of her identity is belonging to the Mementi. Thanks to 2084's cutting edge technology, the Mementi can store their memories in objects called Links, unlike the Populace who choose the keep them in their heads. The Mementi can remember every day, every joy, every heartbreak-unless the Links get stolen.
When Gena meets Kalan, a Populace boy, he claims they've not only met before, but that Gena knows who the Link thief is. But for the first time in her life, Gena's memory is drawing a blank.
When the Link thief attacks her best friend, erasing the last two years of their friendship, she's willing to do whatever it takes to get both of their memories back.
But teaming up with Kalan isn't so easy. Tensions between the Mementi and Populace run high, and Gena just might have happened into a forbidden romance-if her memory of Kalan didn't keep rebooting every time she met him.
TUOGL is a complex story-science fiction world, mystery plot, and romance woven in throughout-with an equally complex protagonist. Gena is a sister and a daughter, so sometimes she has to put family first. She's a dancer, so sometimes her upcoming recital takes center stage. She gets panic attacks, so sometimes she has to tune out of the chaos and action of the plot and get a grip on herself. The threat of the Link thief can never completely wipe away her worries about her personal life. Sometimes the different fragments of her identity get jumbled and crowd each other out, but over all she feels extremely real.
The science behind the Links is fascinating and well researched, but at times bogs things down. The average reader can't keep up with Gena's enhanced brain. Thankfully, neither can the non-Mementi characters, and her explanations to them double as well needed info dumps on the reader's behalf.
The Unhappening of Genesis Lee changed the way I look at memory, the role it plays in forming our identity and interactions, and it's certainly a book I'll remember for years to come.

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