Media Type: Print Book (ARC)
Title: The Memory Thief
Author: Bryce Moore
Publisher: Adaptive Books
Pages: Hardcover; 256
Release Dates: September 20, 2016
March 2017, everywhere else!
Content Screening: Nothing of note
HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who love fast-paced adventure with a good moral base.
Inside Out meets a modern Something Wicked This Way Comes in this evocative middle grade novel that explores the power of memory and family.
Twin brother and sister Benji and Kelly wander off at the local county fair after witnessing their parents argue. When Benji runs into a group of bullies, he escapes into a tent called The Memory Emporium, where he meets a strange old man inside named Louis. The old man shows him a magically vivid memory of a fighter pilot, in the hopes of getting Benji to pay to see other memories Louis has collected from people over the years.
Benji quickly realizes the ability to take memories could help his parents stop fighting with each other, and he asks Louis to teach him how to become a “memory thief.” But Louis isn't the only person with the ability to show and manipulate memories. There's also the mysterious Genevieve, a Memory Thief with much more nefarious motives.
Benji learns how to manipulate memories himself, but having that power comes at a cost to his family, and possibly to his own mind as well. Genevieve’s powers get out of control as she steals more and more memories from people in town—including Benji’s sister, Kelly. Benji must learn to use this newfound power, as he is the only one able to stop Genevieve.
Well now, this was fun! I'll spare you my standard spiel on how important I think MG fiction is, and just tell you straight out that this book is going to appeal to a lot of young readers. It's intriguing, fast-paced, and actually rings true to real life despite its premise. What if you could share other people's life experiences? Would you take that opportunity? What if you could actually take memories away from people? Is that okay, if they won't remember and it might improve their lives? So we come to the complicated web of morality that Benji must face, all while still being a kid.
It should be known that I have a soft spot for male protagonists in MG fiction, because I truly think we need more of them. Benji is the perfect example of an impressively drawn main character. At the heart of it all, he's simply a young boy who is motivated by his desire for his family to be happy again. Which means, of course, that he doesn't quite stop to think of what the consequences of his choices might be. After all, it's for good reason. Right? Then Genevieve comes into the picture and shows Benji that the power he hoped to use for good, can also be used for nefarious purposes. There's so much wrapped up in here. The importance of family, the concept of honor, dealing with deception, and even a healthy does of conflict resolution. Definitely a lot for a young reader to soak up, and yet it's all tied up in a perfectly action-packed story line.
Honestly, that's all I can really say without accidentally spoiling anything. This is a quick read, that's really enjoyable to get lost in. In my opinion, it's just about perfect! I have no doubt in my mind that there are a lot of young readers out there who are going to have a blast devouring this. Rest assured though, that The Memory Thief is one of those books that easily transcends age groups. If you, like me, love reading MG? This book definitely deserves a spot on your reading list.
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.