The Forgetting Book Cover
The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron
Scholastic Press
September 13 2016
Every twelve years the city of Canaan descends into the bloody chaos of the Forgetting, a day of no remorse, when each person's memories are lost unless they have been written. Your book is your truth and your identity, and Nadia knows exactly who hasn't written the truth. Because Nadia is the only person in Canaan who has never forgotten.
Adapted from : GoodReads

I struggled a lot when it came to giving this book a grade. While The Forgetting had all the right pieces to make it a favourite of mine (I’m a sucker for science fiction and this one delivers in a surprising way), I found the pacing to be waaaaaay too slow.

I almost didn’t finish it because for the first 200 pages or so, I didn’t care. I didn’t care that Nadia was developing a friendship with Gray, I didn’t care about the city or what the big deal about the city fence was. It felt a little Hunger Games-ey without the fast pace and action. I couldn’t connect. When two major characters got together, my first reaction was “Ehn.”

I tried to care. I really did

That being said, because I’m me and I find it almost impossible to leave a book unfinished (it’s almost a compulsive thing), I continued on. I will say, I’m glad I did. As soon as the science fiction pieces started coming into play, my interest returned. Suddenly I cared about the couple that I hadn’t before. Suddenly I was rooting for Nadia and feeling her pain. The people who had had their memories taken got more page time and their plights were felt. Things were getting interesting, high stakes, and could go in any direction.

Then the pace picked up. Things happened fast and I was devouring the pages faster than I could properly read them. I had to stop myself, go back and re-read sections at times. I finished the last 150 pages in one sitting. It was a good final 150 pages.

So what’s the deal with the pacing

I’ve seen this a lot where an author spends so much time setting the scene that by the time we get to the action, the reader still hasn’t connected. I firmly believe that if you want a reader to engage with your character, you need to let us watch their actions under pressure. See them in the thick of it. What do they do when their options are limited, when their hands are tied? Having them sit around and hum and haw about their future isn’t exciting and it doesn’t tell us anything. They’re living a boring life and we’re reading through it.

Perhaps it’s just that I like a little more action in my books, and I’m sure there are people who will find this type of pacing perfectly suitable to their reading needs, but I need more. I think that in the case of the Forgetting, some parts could have been condensed or omitted completely to allow for the majority of the book to be in the exciting part of the plot. Maybe the book just needed to be shorter.


The future for this story

The end is left open, so the author could pick it up again if she chooses to. Now that things are established, perhaps a second novel would progress faster, but if the pacing is what it is in The Forgetting, then I don’t think I’ll be picking it up.

It’s disappointing, because this book had a lot of potential, and the story/world does too, but by dragging your readers along so slowly, you lose their interest.

Now, I do think it’s important to note that on Goodreads, The Forgetting has a pretty good score of 3.98 (at the time of this review’s publication), so it’s not a bad novel. And indeed, it just may be that it wasn’t for me. I definitely do not think that my review above should dissuade you from reading the book if the premise seems interesting to you. The slow beginning may very well be worth it for the payout at the end. That is one opinion you’ll have to make for yourself dear readers.