The Forgetting is one of those books that seems like a mashup of like 5 different things. Divergent, The Giver, Alive, The Purge.
The Forgetting takes place in the city of Cannan. A self-sufficient city surrounded by high walls where no one goes in or out. No one except for Nadia, who sneaks out during curfew to explore the surrounding countryside. Every 12 years the citizens of Cannan undergo a process called the Forgetting, where everyone loses their memories and things start anew. The only way that any knowledge is retained about the past is through journals, written and archived so people can figure out who they were before the Forgetting.
Nadia is the only one who remembers what happened before the last Forgetting. And it was awful. Think the Purge. Everyone knows they are going to forget so close to the Forgetting people go insane: destroying other people’s books, rape, murder, hoarding. They can do horrible things, and no one will remember, so why the hell not?
But Nadia remembers, and because of that she doesn’t feel like she belongs in her community or even in her family. Nadia has two sisters, Lilia and Genivee, who she works together with to take care of their mentally unstable mother. She doesn’t get along with Lilia, who is convinced that Nadia is not actually her sister, but Genivee is the classic adorable, precocious little sister.
Nadia’s life is disrupted however, when Gray, the resident charmer, catches her sneaking over the walls and demands that she take him with her. Thus begins Nadia and Gray’s eventual friendship and their quest to read the First Book. The one that might explain what happened before the first Forgetting.
Nadia is an good heroine. She is resilient and resourceful, but she is also very withdrawn. She barely speaks, even to her own family. She takes a lot of risks and does her best to keep those around her from getting hurt. She is hard not to like.
Gray is a decent love interest, has a great backstory and does his best to support Nadia. It’s telling, though, that he is most appealing near the end, when he loses his memories. Gray is literally the first boy that Nadia gets to know, so its one of those romances that just feels inevitable. It’s not so bad; it’s not going to melt a heart of ice or anything but it’s decent.
The villains of The Forgetting get a few plot twists of their own, and well-thought out motivation. They don’t feel like cardboard cutouts and they get more interesting the more the book goes on. Unfortunately, it’s hard to say more about them because spoilers.
The thing that stands out most about this book the genre-mashup. It is a dystopia, and it is sci-fi, but it doesn’t hit you with those elements right out of the gate. It’s a journey to figure out just how much the Forgetting really screws up the city and its people. There are no clear haves and have-nots. You get to discover how deep the corruption goes, along with Nadia, as the story goes on. As for the sci-fi elements, they aren’t immediately apparent but they really sets The Forgetting apart from your usual dystopia books.
There is a lot of plot I can’t talk about when it comes to The Forgetting because of spoilers, but it’s a decent read. The characters are well-flushed out. The concept is amazing. The execution is decent, and it is an great example of well-paced story-telling.
This is one of those books where no one is going to hate it. You’ll either love it or like it. With that in mind, you can’t go wrong with picking up The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron.