When sixteen-year-old Naomi Porter takes a header down the front steps of Thomas Purdue Country Day School, she loses a lot more than her pride. Although she remembers the ride in the ambulance to the hospital with James Larkin, and recalls that her blood ended up on his shirt, and even remembers that he assured the ambulance driver that he was her boyfriend, she's having a really hard time remembering anything prior to that. Anything, say, that happened in the last four years.
Awake and alert in the hospital with her dad by her side, Naomi knows that something's wrong. She knows her name, and she knows where she is. What she doesn't quite understand is that the last tangible memory she has happened when she was twelve. She can tell by the way her body feels that she's not twelve any longer. And then comes the first of many shockers: her parents are divorced. Oh, and her mother is remarried to her high school sweetheart, and they have a toddler named Chloe, who happens to be her half-sister. And she has a boyfriend named Ace, who conveniently enough is away at tennis camp. And her best friend, William "Coach" Landsman, is also the co-editor of the school paper, The Phoenix, a position she shares. And on and on the list goes, until all Naomi wants to do is scream.
In the course of a few minutes and one bump on the head, Naomi has lost four years worth of memories. She still knows she's adopted, she recalls her life up until the age of twelve, but everything between seventh grade and her current position as a junior in high school is a blank slate. For some, she's a girl to be pitied. For others, she's just another teen looking for attention. For herself, and her father, and her best friend, and her boyfriend, and the boy she begins to fall in love with, she's something else entirely -- an enigma, a girl without a past who must forge ahead to make her own future.
I truly enjoyed MEMOIRS OF A TEENAGE AMNESIAC. The tone of the story is a perfectly balanced mix of humor, seriousness, and the search for identity. There are moments that are sad, and even downright heartbreaking, mixed with scenes of hilarity. Ms. Zevin, the author of one of my favorite books ever, ELSEWHERE, has penned another story that will leave you wondering and thinking long after you turn the final page.
Reviewed by: Jennifer Wardrip, aka "The Genius"