Original Language: English
Publication Date: July 20, 2010
Page Count: 304
When swim team captain Zoey wakes up from a car accident with partial amnesia, she is torn between the boy she remembers...and the one she doesn't. There’s a lot Zoey would like to forget. Like how her father has knocked up his twenty-four-year old girlfriend. Like Zoey’s fear that the whole town will find out about her mom’s nervous breakdown. Like darkly handsome bad boy Doug taunting her at school. With her life about to become a complete mess, Zoey fights back the only way she knows how, using her famous attention to detail to make sure she’s the perfect daughter, the perfect student, and the perfect girlfriend to ultra-popular football player Brandon. But then Zoey is in a car crash, and the next day there’s one thing she can’t remember at all—the entire night before. Did she go parking with Brandon, like she planned? And if so, why does it seem like Brandon is avoiding her? And why is Doug—of all people—suddenly acting as if something significant happened between the two of them? Zoey dimly remembers Doug pulling her from the wreck, but he keeps referring to what happened that night as if it was more, and it terrifies Zoey to admit how much is a blank to her. Controlled, meticulous Zoey is quickly losing her grip on the all-important details of her life—a life that seems strangely empty of Brandon, and strangely full of Doug.
Jennifer Echols ‘Forget You’ features Zoey, swim team captain, all round nice girl who is dealing with more than the usual amount of teenage drama. Her father has left her Mother for 24 year old pregnant Ashley, and her Mother attempted suicide. To top it all off, she is in a car accident and loses all memory of the night and when everyone starts acting differently she is determined to know why. Her new boyfriend, Brandon, is barely around, her best friends, twins Keke and Lila, are constantly fighting and Doug, a boy who has visible hated her since his return from juvie in the 9th Grade, is acting like her boyfriend.
What happened that night?
Echols writes well, and Zoey’s confusion, over her Mother’s suicide attempt and her Father’s brusque treatment of his former family, is written with sincere and realistic emotion. The events leading up to, and of, the accident are curious and capture the Readers attention.
Unfortunately, that is where the appeal stopped. Zoey is selfish, over dramatic and fickle. Despite worrying about her Mother, there is little to no mention of her, expect her fear that people would find out that her mother was ‘insane’. Zoey says she has no experience with sex and decides to try it with Brandon after the incident with her Mother.
Sex then becomes an obsession. She wants to ‘go parking’ whenever she gets the chance, and after the accident, she finds herself admiring Doug and feeling the same way towards him. Acknowledging the drama in her life, Zoey uses sex as an outlet, but Echols uses it as a chapter filler.
The events leading up to the crash, from Zoey and Doug’s interaction at the football match, to their surprising interaction at her home the next morning, are gone from Zoey’s memory. Yet, as the events of the night unfold, nothing seems realistic. Doug’s attitude changes from sarcastic to adoring, his is admiring and scornful. No one, no matter how long they have or haven’t liked a person, goes from hating them to being in love with them.
When Zoey does learn things about the night, learns that she has been lied to, she has barely any reaction. She has a moment of pure drama, then relaxes and returns to her sex obsession. For a girl who lost her virginity a week earlier she is very pushy as she uses sex as a tool and a weapon.
My last critique of Echols is how she over does the voices of the male leads. Brandon is a player but he still thinks he is in love with a girl after a few days of sex. Doug is a love hate flip card, and is constantly revealing unnecessary information so that he and Zoey feel closer. Firstly, most teenage boys are not that emotive. They don’t tell their girlfriends very personal things after two days. Secondly, if you go to school with a boy, and are on a team with them, for years you know a few about him. His heritage for one thing; especially if everyone else knows it.
I couldn’t enjoy this novel, and when I finished I wondered if I had somehow missed an entire chunk. The space between the last chapter and epilogue leaves the reader floating and unsure.
Originally published: 12 January 2011 (Raiding Bookshelves)