Audience: Young Adult/Teen
Genres: Psychological Suspense, Romance
Every night when she goes to sleep, 16-year-old London Lane forgets. In the morning, all she has is a note telling her about a day she can't remember—and about all the days before that. But while her past is a blank, London "remembers" the future, getting glimpses of times to come in the lives of herself and those around her. She knows that her classmate will be accepted into a good college, that her best friend Jamie's love affair will end tragically—but has no idea what she wore, did, or said the day before. With the help of her mom, Jamie, and her detailed crib notes, London has managed to live a relatively normal life, keeping her condition a secret from everyone else, even her doctors. But when London starts experiencing disturbing visions she can't make sense of, she realizes it's time to dig into the past she keeps forgetting and perhaps even discover why her brain resets every morning at precisely 4:33 a.m. Especially now that she's met Luke, the boy who she can't see anywhere in her future but still turns up in her life, day after day.
The premise of this novel grabbed me immediately, and Cat Patrick's deft writing—somehow managing to juggle the complexities of London's condition without becoming repetitive or confusing me hopelessly—kept me glued to the story. I raced through this one in one sitting, inhaling every bit of it despite the need to suppress a certain level of disbelief. Patrick skillfully hands you clues to the mystery of London's condition, while offering several subplots, including a a spat between London and Jamie and family secrets—which later tie in to the main plot nicely.
I especially enjoyed the relationship between Luke and London (although their paired names make them sound like soap opera characters). Their romance is a bit rocky, but all the stronger for it. There is even an element of mystery to the relationship as readers wonder why Luke seems to single out London straight away. Is it simply normal attraction, or is there something else behind it? Plus, there are the unique challenges brought by London's condition, lending the book a sort of 50 First Dates appeal. Luke is a sweetly adorable guy next door, vulnerable, sensitive, sometimes awkward, and a little weird. London is equally likeable though not without flaw: she can be stubborn and a little slow to forgive, but she's also fiercely loyal, funny, and charmingly offbeat (but not in an overdone, clichéd way). Her entire personality doesn't center around her condition, an accomplishment for which I give Cat Patrick props.
All in all, Patrick does an admirable job of piecing together London's past and her future without tying everything up too tidily. Many readers will hope for a sequel, but Patrick claims she's happy with the book's ending and no sequel is planned. (There is, however, a movie in the early stages of development.) In my opinion, there's just enough for readers to draw their own conclusions. However, I was left wondering a bit more about the practicalities of London's condition, and also a bit bothered by the suddenness of some of the twists at the end (oh, my, were there twists). One thing, which I will not reveal due its spoilerish nature, bothered me in particular.
I would recommend this book to all YA readers who enjoy a combination of romance and mystery/suspense, especially if they like just a touch of the paranormal for flavoring. If this sounds like the book for you, we have a copy up for grabs in our Fall Giveaway Event! Library copies are on order.
Final note: Did you notice the two covers at the beginning? The prettier, more romantic ARC cover (left) was changed to the cover on the right—which I think does a better job of evoking the novel's suspense element—for the final publication. Which do you prefer?