Author: Miranda Kenneally
Release date: 1st April 2013
Genre: Contemporary YA / Romance
Target audience: 13+
US Publisher: Sourcebooks
Things I Can’t Forget is a contemporary story set in a Southern American state – I think it was Tennessee. The story takes place over the course of one summer. It’s a story of faith: in God, in yourself to make the right choices, and in love.
Kate is a strong believer in God. She has always gone to church with her parents and worked hard to follow the teachings she learned there. But when her friend Emily becomes pregnant and then decides to have a termination, Kate finds herself torn. She supports her friend but she cannot forgive her for ending the baby’s life. This summer Kate has her first proper job. She’s going to be a Camp Counsellor at Cumberland Creek. But when she arrives, she’s withdrawn and broken. Her friendship with Emily is at breaking point and she can’t reveal the secret that burdens her. This summer she will question everything, discover things about herself she never knew and find that love is the greatest gift you can ever receive.
I found this book so easy to read and a really honest portrayal of teen life. I think the fact that the author chose to tell the story from Kate’s viewpoint was a brave choice. Some people may have asked: why are you telling Kate’s story? Shouldn’t you be telling Emily’s story? The real story here is the girl having to choose whether or not to have a termination. But they’d be wrong. Kate’s story is an important one to tell. I think young people do begin to question life, deeper meanings, their family faith and search for their own understanding of the world. I think an event like that happening to a close friend would challenge you emotionally and physically. It would undoubtedly challenge your beliefs. It was fantastic to see a YA novel explore faith and beliefs. It’s not something you come across often and I for one found this so interesting as well as enjoyable. All great books make you walk in someone else’s shoes and this book did just that.
I did not find this book at all preachy. Kate does cling to her beliefs and judge other people who don’t follow them. But that’s an important part of her journey. The author was right to explore it in this way. Kate’s journey isn’t easy. It involves a lot of soul searching and heartache. But there is humour and joy in this novel – the friends Kate makes at camp uplift some of the darker personal moments.
Things I Can’t Forget is meaningful, romantic and emotive. A recommended read for anyone who wants a summer romance with a twist or who wants to read a novel where personal faith is at the heart.
Source: Personal copy bought at Peters Booksellers