The Memory of After
Genre: Supernatural, Young Adult
Publication Date: September 3, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Source: Received from Lenore Appelhans for review.
Synopsis: Since her untimely death the day before her eighteenth birthday, Felicia Ward has been trapped in Level 2, a stark white afterlife located between our world and the next. Along with her fellow drones, Felicia passes the endless hours reliving memories of her time on Earth and mourning what she’s lost-family, friends, and Neil, the boy she loved.
Then a girl in a neighboring chamber is found dead, and nobody but Felicia recalls that she existed in the first place. When Julian-a dangerously charming guy Felicia knew in life-comes to offer Felicia a way out, Felicia learns the truth: If she joins the rebellion to overthrow the Morati, the angel guardians of Level 2, she can be with Neil again.
I received this book from the author from a first-reads giveaway on Goodreads, but after reading all the negative reviews of the book, it took me a few weeks to get the courage – and make the time – to start reading this book in particular. Then after I did start readingThe Memory of After, it took me about a week to get through the entire book. Personally, I believe it’s a feat that I didn’t just DNF this book. I even recall this conversation in school with one of my classmates about this book. This is literally how it went:
Classmate: What’s that book about?
Me: Some boring thing.
Classmate: Then why’re you reading it?
Me: ‘Cause I got it for free.
I don’t mean to demean the book or anything by saying that; it’s just what I felt. I don’t remember liking anything about the book though, so I really do mean it when I say that. For starters, there was a faint plot in the background about these good angels trying to stop the bad ones from preventing humans from going where they’re supposed to after they die, but honestly, it was all blocked out by Felicia’s need to find Neil again. That was probably the most annoying part of the book. Even with the power to save all of the human race and help them get to whichever heaven is real, she only helped (if you can call what she did helping – I’d call it bumbling) because she believed she was getting closer to finding her boyfriend. If that’s not shallow, I don’t know what was.
Really though, I had no idea why she missed her life anyways. Her boyfriend was a total Christian-a-holic. In real life that’s actually a great thing (I’m one too!), but in novels that have nothing to do with the Salem Witch Trials…just no. I also noticed that throughout the book, Felicia kept lamenting the loss of her best friend Autumn. That was probably the part of this story I really didn’t get: Autumn was even shallower than Felicia. From the first memory of Autumn, I had this nagging sense that she wasn’t your usual best friend. Autumn and Felicia’s friendship was more like that of a cheerleader and her cronies, only with Autumn wanting to be the cheerleader, and Felicia unintentionally being the top girl. That’s definitely something I would not miss if I’d moved on to Level 2.By far the weirdest part of the book was the boys. Usually I end up being confused between both of them because they’re both so great, or I become rock solid stuck on one guy (usually the hot, arrogant one). Though in this book I was definitely confused between the two guys, it wasn’t in a good way. First there was Neil, Felicia’s relatively steady boyfriend, the one who I think came after Julian. He sang in the church choir; everyone loved his voice. He was oh-so-religious, and obviously did not go well with Felicia. Unfortunately Felicia never got that. I don’t get how, but she never understood that she and Neil were like 2 sides on different
coins. Luckily, judging by the blurb of the second book, it seems that Felicia is eventually going to get the hint, so yay for that. Julian, on the other hand, is a whole different matter.
Even though I never found myself too attracted to him, I was definitely leaning more toward him than Neil. For one, he would be the “hot, arrogant” male of the novel, even though that’s not how I would describe him. What really bugged me was that all throughout the book Felicia kept mentioning how Julian had betrayed her and you expect him to have tried to blow her up or something, and then when we finally found out what happened, it’s obvious that there was something bigger going on and that Julian most likely did the right thing in the scenario he was in. I really cannot get over how self-centered the girl is. Still, this in no way means that I love Julian, only that he’s not as evil as Felicia leads us to believe he is. Julian had lots of faults, more than many of my usual awesome book loves: he was a hacker and acted like it was nothing, and he was way too confident in himself. It might just be a mask he hid behind, but it sure was an ugly one. By the end of the book though, when comparing both males, I was for sure Team Julian.
As gorgeous as the cover is, and as thankful as I am that I got another book to add to my bookshelf, I can’t be truthful and say that I’d recommend this book to anyone. The plot was poor as were the characters, and I even ended up disliking the ending, which never happens. The only surprise I felt after reading The Memory of After was that there was one specific reviewer who said that Lenore Appelhans combined all the most looked-for YA elements of novels into this book. My mouth was literally dropped open; I was amazed that I hadn’t accidentally swallowed any flies.
Rating: 2 1/2 little fishies!