Sunday, February 19, 2012

Notes to Self

Notes to Self by Avery Sawyer (Smashwords, 2011); review e-copy provided by author.

Robin's memory of the accident that caused her traumatic brain injury (TBI) is hazy, which is normal.  She climbed to the top of the sling shot ride with her best friend Emma.  It was windy. Emma seemed a bit crazed and reckless.  She asks Robin a question: What do you think will happen to us?  Then Robin's in the neurotrauma center of the hospital waking up and in horrible pain, but Em is still asleep.

Granted, the brain injury of self-(re)discovery is quickly becoming a standard trope of YA fiction, but to me, at least, it's genuine and authentic.  Sawyer's take is fabulous--starting with how she conveys Robin's confusion about language as she wakes up and has to figure out what words mean again.  Robin's attempts to remember the accident as she deals with more quotidian tasks such as showering move the plot along.  She writes notes to help herself--beginning with a list of steps for showering retrieved from Google!  The notes quickly become more introspective as she attempts to sort out the relationships in her life, most notably with Reno, a boy who was once her best friend, but who pushed for something more, which Robin rejected.  There's also her estranged father, her ambitious mother, and an aunt who writes her letters. The novel's setting in seedy non-Disney Kissimmee, Florida, suits the story well.  Highly recommended for teens, 13 & up. Mild sexual situations, language, drugs, alcohol.

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