Forget You by Jennifer Echols
Published: July 20, 2010 by MTV books
Source: purchased from local bookstore
There’s a lot Zoey would like to forget. Like how her father has knocked up his twenty-four- year old girlfriend. Like Zoey’s fear that the whole town will find out about her mom’s nervous breakdown. Like darkly handsome bad boy Doug taunting her at school.
Feeling like her life is about to become a complete mess, Zoey fights back the only way she knows how, using her famous attention to detail to make sure she’s the perfect daughter, the perfect student, and the perfect girlfriend to ultra-popular football player Brandon. But then Zoey is in a car crash, and the next day there’s one thing she can’t remember at all—the entire night before. Did she go parking with Brandon, like she planned? And if so, why does it seem like Brandon is avoiding her? And why is Doug—of all people— suddenly acting as if something significant happened between the two of them?
Zoey dimly remembers Doug pulling her from the wreck, but he keeps referring to what happened that night as if it was more, and it terrifies Zoey to admit how much is a blank to her. Controlled, meticulous Zoey is quickly losing her grip on the all-important details of her life—a life that seems strangely empty of Brandon, and strangely full of Doug. [goodreads]
This book has been sitting in my TBR pile for a few months now & for whatever reason I kept passing over it to read something else. Finally, I sat down last night to read a few pages.. which turned in to a few hundred pages! and I finished the book in less than 24 hours. Was this book the best I've read in young adult contemporary? No. But it was entertaining & the story kept me intrigued. Plus there was one seriously hot bad-boy that I did not want to close the book on! ha!
The story starts out with Zoey finding her mom almost dead, over-dosing from a bounty of sleeping pills. Zoey goes through the motions of calling 9-1-1, escorting her to the hospital, and even getting a cold shoulder from her father (who has left her mother for a knocked up 24 year old). While sitting in the waiting room, she notices a boy from school is there, Doug. The same boy who has been her enemy for the past few years all due to a mix-up about him going to juvie & not taking her to homecoming, as promised. Zoey is mortified & afraid that Doug will use this information about her mom against her & ruin the perfect image she has cast upon herself among her friends & swim team mates at school.
In the verge of losing all self control Zoey does what she does best, puts on a smile & acts as though everything is fine. She goes to the last beach party of the summer where all her friends are, including Brandon. Without even realizing it, Zoey finds herself in the backseat of Brandon's car & every bit of her in-control self has gone out the window. From there she manipulates her mind in to assuming that her and Brandon are now "boyfriend & girlfriend" and that what she did was acceptable. But that is not how reality plays out. It appears that Zoey begins chasing Brandon in an effort to keep the facade of their relationship in tact. It all comes to a crashing hault when she is confronted by Doug at a football game one Friday night, telling her that she needs to wake up & realize that Brandon doesn't care about her. His undertones also imply that he's worried about her actions & that she isn't dealing with what's truly happening in her life: her mother attempting suicide & being admitted to a psychiatric hospital. This is the last thing Zoey remembers before she wakes up in a crushed car, on the side of the road, & Doug is the one pulling her to safety. His softness & need to protect her confuses her & leads her to believe she must have hit her head pretty hard. In the days to follow, she realizes that she can't remember anything from that night. Not the accident, or the events leading up to it.
Zoey makes it her mission to discover those events & understand what has happened. It is her nature to control every situation, smooth things out, & make everything appear to be perfect. She has been taught her whole life that the most important thing is outer appearance. If she can make every look alright, then it must really be alright. Doug has different plans though. Plans that force Zoey to dig deep within herself & battle the demons she's been harboring for so long.
I really enjoyed the tug-of-war relationship between Zoey & Doug. It develops over time & comes across in a realistic manner. The struggles that this seventeen year old girl has to deal with will break your heart, though. I wanted to reach through the pages at times & give her a hug, telling her it will be alright. Zoey's humor & lightheartedness is what carries the story for me. When she's up against the world, she manages to throw out one liners that can make you smile. Yes, things are pretty awful & we want to just crawl in a hole & not come out.. but she finds it within herself to trudge forward. And when she can't, Doug is right there beside her to help her along the way.
Jennifer Echols is a superb young adult author. I will pick up anything with her name on it, especially after reading Going Too Far (see review here for it). She's very descriptive with her words & puts you right in the middle of the action. I tend to enjoy young adult lit that has dark undertones, with a bit of fluff. And that is exactly how I'd describe Jennifer Echols writing style: realistic with a soft landing.