Title: From What I Remember...
Author: Stacy Kramer
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
The only reason I found myself reading From What I Remember… was because I was desperately in need of a contemporary fix after devouring paranormal novels the past few days. Thus, on that account, From What I Remember… proved to be exactly what I needed – mindless entertainment. In all honesty, this novel brings absolutely nothing new to the pool of contemporary fiction written over the past few years. It features the same goody-two-shoes female protagonist whose family life sucks, the same jock love interest who is actually a lot deeper than he is given credit for, and the same over-dramatic jealous girlfriend who stands in the way of these two unlikely lovers. Yet, From What I Remember… managed to throw in a few twists, add a little bit of originality, and was written with spunk that I just could not put it down. In other words, it may not be thought-provoking or particularly unique, but it was definitely a lot of fun.
Kylie, one of the five scholarship students at her prestigious private high school, wakes up on the morning she is supposed to be delivering her graduation speech in Mexico, a good five-six hours away from home. She also happens to wake up next to Max – gorgeous, athletic, and entirely too popular to belong in the same social outcast group she does. Kylie, who has a hangover, only briefly remembers what happened the night before and how they somehow managed to land themselves in
Mexico. Yet, before she can question the extent of what went on between them, Max’s girlfriend, Lily, and best friend, Charlie, show up along with Kylie’s gay best friend Will. From What I Remember… is told in medias res, going back to when Kylie and Max’s crazy adventure began and continuing on to their future adventures, lessons, and love.
I’ll admit it: I was ready to put this book down when I realized there were more than three different POVs. In fact, there are five. Normally, I would have run away screaming by now, pulling out my hair and giving this a 1/5 Star rating, but for some reason, I’m not. Why? Well, I actually liked the multiple POVs. For once in my life I actually enjoyed a novel with more than two or three different perspectives. Even if the POV changes had not been named, I would have definitely recognized each character’s voice for their own unique characteristics. I loved the manner in which this story was told and although Kylie and Max’s perspectives take up the majority of the novel, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Will, Lily, and Kylie’s brother’s perspectives as well.
As I’ve mentioned before, the plot of this novel isn’t very different. Instead of waking up in the same town though, this protagonist wakes up in a different country. Yet, despite that, I think From What I Remember… did manage to bring in something new. For one, it focused a lot on delving into the mind of a homosexual teenager – a slowly emerging genre of literature. Furthermore, this novel managed to be an expose on the social differences that separate teens due to their financial situation. No child is responsible for how much money their parents make or have, yet it plays a huge role in defining class stereotypes. Kramer tears these walls down, allowing us to get a closer look at the messed up lives even rich children face. Yes, this has been done before, but I liked the manner in which Kramer managed to convey these messages.
In addition, I loved this cast of characters. Kylie and Max’s relationship was slow-to-build and very sweet. Plus, I liked how both of them were able to make the most of their situation and grow from their experiences. I felt as if their growth was rather rushed and unrealistically quick, but I’m still glad we got to see the repercussions of their actions on their lives. Furthermore, there is no Missing Parent Syndrome in this book! I’m not saying their parents are hanging around everywhere (or even in
Mexico with them), but they do get their fair share of space in this novel through the perspectives of these teens. I liked seeing how their lives were directly impacted by those of their parents and those consequences were extremely important to note in my opinion as well.
Overall, From What I Remember… was a lot of fun to read. Although this was a novel that lacked originality and re-iterated many of the age-old themes and mantras that teens have come to recognize from contemporary novels, this story still managed to hold its own through a few subtle changes and rather exemplary writing of multiple perspectives. I wouldn’t outright recommend this novel – especially not for those searching for a provocative contemporary read – but if you’re looking for something easy to read, fun, and relaxing, then you should definitely pick this one up! :D