The Memory of Forgotten Things

288p. S. & S./Aladdin. May 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481478656.
Gr 5–8—Sometimes our lives are not what we expect them to be. Zhang explores what it would be like to live an alternate version of our lives; one that we would wish for. Sophia has a few precious memories of her mother, including a joy-filled memory of the cake her mother made for Sophia's 10th birthday. Unfortunately, the memory can't possibly be real; her mom died when she was six. Nevertheless, Sophia holds on dearly to these remembrances of what seems like an alternate life in which her mother never died. A real event, an upcoming solar eclipse, might provide a chance to leap from one place in time to another. Sophia, along with friends D.J. and Luke, think they might be able to use the eclipse to travel to alternative lives where their tragic losses and hurts never happened. The idea of an alternate universe is popular and very appealing to the target audience for this book; tweens are looking for a way to fit in and to create a world of their choosing. Although the conclusion is not as polished as the rest of the story, the writing more than makes up for it. Zhang's prose is lyrical and the plot unique and intriguing.
VERDICT A heart-tugging and mind-bending exploration of time and possibility.

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