Monday, October 14, 2019

MMGM- The Memory Keeper

It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Always in the Middle and #IMWAYR day at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. It's also Nonfiction Monday.

Camiccia, Jennifer. The Memory Keeper
October 15th 2019 by Aladdin
E ARC provided by Netgalley

Lulu lives with her parents, younger brother Clay, and grandmother Sue in San Francisco. Family life has been rough since the death of a toddler sister when Lulu was three, but her grandmother's presence has been a stabilizing one, and the grandmother is the only one Lulu has told about her secret. Lulu has Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory, and can remember every detail of her entire life. She has mentioned specific facts about events in the past to people at school, and has gotten a poor reaction, so doesn't want anyone to know. Now, her grandmother is beginning to forget things. Lulu starts to realize how bad things are getting when her grandmother can't find her car in the mall parking lot, and is determined to hide this memory loss from her parents, lest her grandmother move to a senior facility. In order to help her grandmother remember, Lulu liberates a journal her grandmother has promised her. To her surprise, it is in a foreign script that she and her friend Olivia figure out in Cyrillic. Having been told her grandmother was from France, Lulu wants to figure out the mystery of her past. Max, whose father owns the riding stable where the girls take lessons, offers to help with some of the searching on the computer, and he also manages to hack into his uncle's government database, where he finds a file on the grandmother, complete with redacted pages! The grandmother has contacted an old friend, Yakov, and between talking to him and getting more stories from her grandmother, Lulu is able to piece together the real story. She also must find a way to tell her parents about her own memory, and convince her parents to spend more time with her and her brother.
Strengths: The chapters start with a little bit of information about the functions of the brain, which is fascinating. It helps that the snippets are also very short, so they don't stop the flow of the narrative. Even though there is a lot going on, this was well written enough that I was able to remember what happened and keep the characters straight, which isn't always the case! The San Francisco setting is fun, the inclusion of horse riding, as well as girl drama, will draw in readers interested in equestrian matters, and the mystery surrounding the grandmother's past intriguing.
Weaknesses: I'm never a fan of the grieving parent trope, but at least the family was getting better. Making the grandmother's past a little less complicated (the romantic twists and turns got a bit much) would have made this a more manageable length, but it wasn't bad.
What I really think: Definitely buying, since it will appeal to readers who ask for mysteries, problem novels, and books with horses. The cover will ensure steady circulation.

Ms. Yingling


  1. I can always count on you to introduce me to great new middle grade books, Karen. I have to add this one to my list. While I struggle with books that depict grieving parents, I'm glad to hear they're getting better in this one. Have a wonderful reading week!

  2. I've added this one to my list. I like the idea of the nonfiction bits at the start of each chapter, and am looking forward to reading the rest of it too.

  3. This sounds like an interesting book. Always looking for good mysteries.

  4. Glad you enjoyed this one. I'm featuring Jennifer and her agent on my blog today and giving away an ARC.

  5. I have been hearing a lot about this book. It sounds terrific. I will put it on my TBR list. Thanks for your review.