Year Twelve is not off to a good start for Amelia. Art is her world, but her art teacher hates everything she does; her best friend has stopped talking to her; her mother and father may as well be living in separate houses; and her father is slowly forgetting everything. Even Amelia.
Thanks to Penguin for sending me a copy of this book for review. When I read the synopsis I knew that I was going to love this book – it sounded emotional and covers a range of topics that I don’t usually read about. And I did end up really enjoying the book and finding it a touching read.
Alzheimer’s is rare to find in books, specifically young adult books, so I loved that this book not only covered the topic, but it was a main focus. Seeing Amelia’s dad going through this and how it not only affected him, but Amelia and her mother too, was really hard and emotional. I’m glad that I was able to see Amelia’s perspective on the story as I feel she is a more relatable character to the targeted audience.
Another main story line in the book was Amelia’s friendship with Gemma and Gemma’s eating disorder. It is obvious from the beginning that Gemma has problems with her body image, but as the story continued I could see it getting worse and worse. This is another thing that isn’t talked about enough in YA books, yet is such an important issue to know about. Amelia and Gemma’s friendship is so strong at the beginning, and it is a shame to see it go through so many downs, but it’s something that every friendship goes through.
Furthermore, Amelia is in her final year of high school and with the weight of her father and best friend on her shoulders, her art teacher doesn’t seem to like anything she creates. I finished year 12 a couple of years ago and I found it challenging and stressful without having so much other stuff going on in my personal life, so I can’t imagine how Amelia found it. But she still managed to get through it in the end not despite everything that was happening, but in spite of it.
And on top of everything else, Amelia realises that she has a crush on the boy next door who has been playing chess with her dad since he was young. Although this isn’t a main story in the book, I still wanted to touch base on it. I loved how ‘Before You Forget’ focused on so many other topics and genres apart from romance because this is so rare in YA and sometimes you don’t need romance to make a book amazing and entertaining. However, Julia Lawrinson brought the beautiful Will into the story and made it look like something was going to happen between him and Amelia, but it never did – and I wanted it to so badly!
The ending is left very open and up to the interpretation of the readers to decide what happens after. I liked this because it left that touch of mystery and shows that even though the book is over, the story isn’t.
So I decided to give this book 4.5 stars out of 5. I was considering giving it 5 stars, but I feel like there were some aspects of the writing, specifically in the beginning, that I couldn’t connect with. Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone and think that everyone should read it!