Cover Image: Lies My Memory Told Me

Lies My Memory Told Me

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thank you Netgalley for the earc in exchange for an honest review!

while the synpopsis for this book is fun and the dystopian element seems promising, i genuinely could not get myself to power through the beginning. the enhanced memory concept was extremely compelling, but overall the entire exposition falls flat and it doesn't really motivate you to power forward. even when the book picks up it doesn't quite fulfill what i wanted.
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Nova’s parents invented Enhanced Memories where people can experience things from the comfort of the home.  Something seems off though. ARC from NetGalley.
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Nova’s parents invented Enhanced Memories, which is technology that allows you to instantly gain a memory, including learning a skill, traveling the world, or doing a dangerous activity. Now, people can live through risky activities, such as skydiving or doing drugs, without any dangerous consequences. Though Nova’s parents created Enhanced Memories, she doesn’t know the real impact of this technology on the world. Then, she meets Kade. Kade has an anonymous YouTube account where he does risky activities that are now obsolete since people don’t have to do them to have the experience. Nova and Kade have different opinions on the effects of Enhanced Memory, but she is still drawn to him. When people start treating Nova differently, she starts her own research into what Enhanced Memories, and her parents, are really hiding from her.

This story hooked me right from the start. Immediately, there were things in Nova’s life that didn’t make sense. When she was out with friends, there were people who would approach her, thinking she was someone else. Nova worked part-time in a nursing home with a memory care unit. There were some great practical uses of Enhanced Memory with those patients, since their memories could be saved before they were lost. However, as with all inventions that seem helpful at first, Enhanced Memory was used in harmful ways as well.

Nova was a senior in high school, but the storyline about her school got lost throughout the book. The story focused more on her part time job and her social life. It would have made more sense to have that school storyline continue, since she was still a teenager. I also would have loved to see a longer ending where there was more closure. I really enjoyed this story, and I would love to see what happens next.

Lies My Memory Told Me was a great new YA contemporary novel!

Thank you Inkyard Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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This book was a crazy ride! Interesting story, well executed! Why would we go out and do things if we can just experience them with the help of virtual reality? And how will this alternative reality shape our daily lives? What if someone can make you believe something happened to you if it, in fact, never did? Lies my memory told me touches on these kinds of subjects in a great way. It is probably best suited for middle grade readers, as adult readers may take issue with some of the plot holes. Overall a good read.
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This book was a tough one for me. I like the concept a lot. I think I was expecting vibes a little more like The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind? My favorite thing about that movie is the way they took the concept and examined it from many different angles. I feel like LIES MY MEMORY TOLD ME has a little bit of that in that it touches on several different ways Enhanced Memory technology could be corrupted or used to cause harm.

I had a hard time getting into the pacing, though. It felt like some elements to the story emerged really late– like the idea that there might be more to Nova’s history than she remembers. I think I wanted her to collect information and form a plan of attack a lot sooner than she did, and even when she did, her plan felt like, “I guess I’ll just go down this weird hallway and say I’m lost!” While I think that fit her quirky, compulsive character, I felt like it sapped some of the tension for me.

For most of the story, I felt like Nova’s emotional landscape stayed mostly in the sad/angry spectrum. I loved the relationship between her and Kade– and loved the way Kade brought her out of her grim feelings.

On the whole, I still think the concept of LIES MY MEMORY TOLD ME is really cool. I wish that I’d had deeper connection with the characters and the pacing of the story. I think readers who enjoyed THE FEVER KING by Victoria Lee might enjoy this one for its sci-fi thriller vibes.
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Brief Synopsis:  Nova is not your typical teenager.  She is the only child of two very important tech geniuses who have invented a way for people to access other people's memories and experience things they might never experience.  This new technology, known as Enhanced Memories, has "taken the world by storm" with new ways to help those with memory loss hold on to their most cherished experiences, safer ways to experience things, and more.  But, there is always a downside, and Nova is about to find out the darker side of EM. 

The premise of this book is absolutely fascinating.  As a mental health clinician who has seen the impact that Virtual Reality has had on treating a variety of different mental health disorders, I was immediately drawn to the idea of Wunsch's "enhanced memories".  Oh, the promise this book had for me. 

The promise of what could have been and the reality of how flat this book really fell for me are two starkly different things. There were so many times I wanted to DNF this book but kept on going hoping for the moment that would make it all worth it.  It never came.  Kade and Nova's relationship seemingly comes out of nowhere and the readers are led to believe that it's deep and powerful.  At one point, after little to no build up, Kade says something along the lines of,  "that's the problem, I just can't stay away from you."  Seriously?!  Ugh.  

I must admit, the parallel's drawn between people's addiction to EM and how quickly the world turns a blind eye to the negative impacts of the advancement of technology are really great.  The messaging and the theme were there, it just didn't land.
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Enhanced Memory, developed by Nova's parents, allow people to learn new skills almost instantly, travel the world, share memories, and learn anything. Nova feels this is a gift, even as Kade vlogs about the dangers of Enhanced Memory. He's afraid of her, though she's most comfortable with him, and over time Nova realizes that people won't meet her eyes, no one wants her to ask questions, and she has the nagging feeling that she's forgotten something.

It's a fascinating concept, and of course soon after we're introduced to it via Nova in the prologue. Of course, its benefits include learning new information or skills and safely experiencing things. There's so much stress on the benefits of using EM, but we see how much time her parents are absorbed in its development, and then the possibility of addiction is brought up. We also see how people aren't trying to develop new memories or experience the real world for themselves anymore. There's such fear of getting hurt, of experiencing loss, or fear or pain.

As the novel progresses, the mystery surrounding Kade's fears, her parents' behavior, and Nova's exposure to EM deepens. It's fascinating, and we really see the consequences of new technology as it evolves faster than people realize or laws can regulate. On top of that, Nova's own memory is suspect, and Kade isn't as unnecessarily paranoid as he seemed at first. I was drawn into the second half of the book especially because of this and loved how all the threads were neatly tied together at the end. This is a great book and really makes you think about memory, experience, and what matters most in life.
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** I received a copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.

Nova's parents created Enhanced Memory. A way to live big moment virtually through someone else's experiences. However, she finds herself falling on the backburner while her parents work away. Then she meets Kade who believes that the technology is detrimental to the world around them causing them to not live their own lives. Kade shows Nova that EM can be dangerous to everyone.

The commentary of becoming disconnected from technology is thoroughly pushed throughout this novel. However, that feels like the biggest picture of the book. Nova, our main character. often falls flat when the main action is happening. Big portions of her story feel very pushed back and forgotten. The possibility in this story is incredibly intriguing, but the writing makes everything fall flat. The pacing is my biggest issue. It felt very quick and there wasn't a lot of connection between any of the characters.

I do have students in my library who will like the concept of turning off technology, but I don't see it being a strong option.
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I enjoyed this YA sci-fi thriller. The concept of this was really interesting.  It was a cool take on some tropes we've seen before in other books and movies. I think the concept of a virtual reality technology that you can get addicted to is a very real conversation, as tech gets more and more available we are always on it.
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Lies My Memory Told Me is a YA sci-fi that features a future where Enhanced Memory can give people experiences based on other people's memories via a VR type head set. The technology holds promise to enhance lives and help educate people. For Nova, it can be a curse becasue her parents invented the headsets.

For the most part, I enjoyed this one. I think that teens will probably enjoy it a lot more than I did. I thought it was a good commentary on social media and how it is taking over our lives. Often to our own detriment. The story also deals with the subject of addition and how people can often ignore that it is becoming a problem. The twist was a bit predictable and I called it fairly early on. I did like the characters, especially Kade. He was the only one with any sense. But, the thing I liked the most was how the relationship between Nova and Kade ended up at the conclusion. It was kind of refreshing. I would recommend giving this one a try. It was a fairly quick read give it a try.
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Lie My Memory Told Me

Fans of Don't Look Deeper will love this similar sci-fi mystery in book form.

Nova's parents created Enhanced Memory, a new technology taking the world by storm.  Special disks share someone else’s memory, and the watcher can fully experience anything without any harm to their selves. As it becomes more and more popular, Nova's parents become more and unreachable as they disappear into their EM Machines. One day, Nova meets Kade a boy who calls her by the wrong name and likes to have real experiences instead of fake memories. This is the event that starts to truly change her life. EM isn't as benign as they appear neither is Nova's life.

I enjoyed the mystery setup for Nova. I had an idea even before the novel laid Nova's twist before us, but that made me love it more. The author had set up for the outcome and left bread crumbs along the way. You feel felt like a detective instead of just being along for the ride.

The story itself is great sci-fi. It tells you a lot about current life through the lens of fantasy. The moral implications of Enhanced Memories aren't cut and dry. The book looks at the good this technology does. But it also critiques how it could harm society. This complexity gives the book a richness that is transparent and makes you think 

Repetition slowed down some as the book went along. Filling space instead of keeping the atmosphere taunt. This, luckily, gets better about halfway through the book I believe.

The ending is too quick. The epilogue hurries along with the story. Typically I get tired of franchises, but there is so much here that Sacha Wunsch could have dived into. I wish the epilogue had been a sequel and we saw more in real-time what happens to Nova and the company that makes EMs.
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i enjoyed reading this book, I thought it had a great psychological mystery feel. The characters worked and I enjoyed going through this plot.
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Thanks to Net Galley for the ARC. This had some great ideas. It started strong and it was smart to have this in first person so we learn as Nova learns.  However, it is pretty obvious from the jump what is going on and then it sort of unravels at the end.  I know it is a YA book and teenagers are capable of doing lots of things, but not all these things.  There is one point where Nova and Kade are caught, dead to rights in a place where there should clearly not be two teenagers and yet, the other person just nods and lets them go because Kade is charming. Really? Also, the “boy he sure his hot with his shirt off scene” was out of place and unnecessary. This isn’t that book.  

I see why people like it. I really do.  It just landed flat for me.
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A YA thriller with an intriguing premise, this one failed to hit the mark for me in terms of execution. The issue is with the protagonist, Nova, who doesn’t realize until very late in the story that she herself is a central character in the drama. Because of this, she appears for most of the story to be an observer… and a fairly dispassionate one because she doesn’t believe there’s actually a problem until it starts to affect her personally. This sets the reader at something of a remove to the action and makes it difficult to really feel engaged with the story.

I’m fascinated by the concept of Enhanced Memory as a parallel to social media: most people believe it’s benign and even beneficial (I use Facebook to keep in touch with distant friends and family!) but don’t see there’s a dark side until it touches them personally (have YOU lost someone to a rabbit hole of conspiracy theories?) And because of this, I think the story wraps up too neatly. Yes, Nova and Kade exposed that the makers of Enhanced Memory were doing terrible, illegal and non-consensual things to harvest memories of unwilling subjects. But I don’t believe that in and of itself would be enough to change things for the better in the way it’s ‘told’ to us happens in the last few pages of the book. EM is too recent an innovation: and memories being duplicable, even if the duplicates are less immersive than the original, there are too many living people with real memories they’d be more than willing to sell for a decent enough payout. The timeframes have been compressed for the sake of making Nova still a teenager, basically, and I don’t think it quite fits together.

An intriguing concept, but an unreliable narrator and too much exposition along with timeframes that don’t quite gel means this one misses the mark somewhat. Three stars.
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Are you in the mood for a new psychological thriller? I know I have been looking for a good one recently, which led me to Lies My Memory Told Me, written by Sacha Wunsch.

Every day new technologies arrive and change the world as we know it. The latest change came from Enhanced Memory, where people can share their memories with one another. It has allowed for an unprecedented level of sharing and exploration.

Yet, it comes at a cost. At first, Nova was willing to overlook the costs of her parent's invention, but once Kade opened her eyes, she couldn't stop seeing the warning signs. Now she's struggling to find the truth and can't help but feel like she's forgetting something important...

As I mentioned earlier, Lies My Memory Told Me is an ideal book for scratching that craving for a psychological thriller. It didn't end up as dark as I expected – surprising, given the hints of memory and loss.

However, it did keep me occupied the whole way through, so I can hardly complain about that! In fact, it was almost refreshing. Lies My Memory Told Me dealt with some unique, fascinating, and complex concepts. Yet, it does so in reasonably approachable ways.

I think that more backstory on Kade and Nova could have been helpful, as I never really felt a genuine connection to their characters. Though maybe that was just the mood I was in? Sometimes it can be difficult to tell.

On the bright side, the second half of the novel made up for that lack of connection tenfold. There's so much going on, and it was more than enough to keep my brain busy, especially as new ideas got added into the mix!
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The Review

The author did a fantastic job of building the tension and suspense of this YA Sci-Fi read! The story starts by integrating this futuristic new mythos and technology into the settings of this narrative, and it really highlighted the highs and lows of advancing technology in our own world and the way virtual worlds and experiences have slowly begun replacing the real-life experiences this world has to offer. 

The character arcs here held the biggest twists and turns in the narrative. The protagonist, Nova, evolves into such a complex and emotionally invested hero in this YA world, and the twists not only in her story but in her relationships were shocking to read. The heart and emotional pull of this narrative came in the exploration of the morality of technology, and what truly defines our identities as well. 

The Verdict

Highly entertaining and a great balance of suspense and world-building, author Sacha Wunsch’s “Lies My Memory Told Me” is a must-read YA Sci-Fi read of 2021! The shocking finale will have readers truly invested in the characters and their arc, and the only critique I can offer is that the Epilogue in this book feels a bit rushed, and leaves enough room for world-building and mythos to have hope the author will revisit this world again someday.
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I was provided an ARC via Netgalley, all opinions are my own.

I enjoyed this YA sci-fi thriller.  The concept of this was really interesting.  I really liked the Enhanced Memory idea where you can experience things you've always wanted to try, but were never able to for whatever reason from the comfort of your own home.  It was a cool take on some tropes we've seen before in other books and movies.   I think the concept of a virtual reality technology that you can get addicted to is a very real conversation, as tech gets more and more available we are always on it.  I know it is a conversation we have in our house all the time.  We are always on our devices for some reason school, work, leisure, etc.  When is enough enough?  How do you know if you are addicted or just using it to escape the stress of life?  Can you tell the difference?

This follows Nova, daughter of two prominent inventors who helped launch the Enhanced Memory technology.  This technology has taken the world by storm providing people with experiences they may have never otherwise had.  It also helps patients struggling with memory loss to preserve their memories before they are gone for good.  Nova sees firsthand how the memories help the patients at the home she works at after school, however she also sees some of the effects the memories can have when they are used too often.  She also discovers that there is a dark side to the memories, and they can be as addictive as getting your next hit of a drug.  As she begins to uncover the darker side of Enhanced Memories through her new friend Kade, she realizes that her parents may be wrapped up in something ugly.  Her parents become more and more neglectful and more protective of their work and the memories they bring home to test.  She starts to realize that Kade may be onto something with his “make real memories” philosophy and that Enhanced Memories may not be 100% safe.  I don’t want to give much more away as it will spoil key points of the story.  
At first I felt like Nova’s character development was a bit lacking, but as the story progressed, I realized that her character development was spot on.  She was introverted and cautious throughout the story, but as things progressed she started to take more risks and come out of her shell a bit.  After the reveal, which happens nearly at the end of the book, her character development makes a lot more sense.   The development wasn’t lacking, she was looking for something that was missing.  It takes her quite a while to figure things out, but once she does things start to fall into place and it all starts to come together.  

I felt like the pacing was off on this book, there is alot of explanation about why Enhanced Memory was so great, but you know something is off about it.  Then the ending felt a bit rushed.  The reveal and conclusion was only a few chapters and I felt like that could have been given a bit more time,  We spend a lot of time going through Nova's day to day life in the beginning, but I wanted more of the action and suspense that came toward the end.  This doesn’t really get into the hard science of how the technology works.  The descriptions of the tech are all pretty high level, so this will appeal to a broad audience that enjoy both science fiction and thrillers.

This is age appropriate for young adult readers, I think even mature middle grade readers would enjoy this.  There is no graphic violence or sexual content.  The main characters do kiss, and there is mention of pornography but it is not described in any detail and the conversation is quickly diverted away from that topic.  If you don’t enjoy hard sci-fi but you enjoy a thriller that isn’t scary or creepy I’d give this a read.  

I would say if you liked Ready Player One, Warcross, Ender's Game I think you'd really enjoy this.
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Lies My Memory Told Me by Sacha Wunsch is a young adult science fiction thriller. The story is set in a time in the future when the invention of Enhanced Memory has happened and the world has been taken over by the technology. Enhanced Memory is a virtual reality type of experience where a user feels they have done the activity in the program they watched.

Nova has grown up in the shadow of Enhanced Memory with her own parents being the ones that had created the tech that brought it to the world. Nova’s always been proud of her parents for what they did to help everyone in the world but her parents have grown more and more distant burying themselves in their work.

Nova doesn’t mind helping in the house or spending so much time alone but when she meets Kade she begins to question the technology her parents invented. Kade is a rebel and wants to really live life, not just experience it through Enhanced Memory. Nova also sees some things at her job at the memory care home that make her question just how Enhanced Memory functions so she teams up with Kade to get to the truth behind the tech.

Lies My Memory Told Me is actually a debut novel by author Sacha Wunsch and for me I enjoyed this one well enough. I did think it could have used a bit more editing to keep from repeating some things in it but overall the story was likable. The idea behind living through virtual means isn’t exactly new and the twists weren’t overly surprising but I found the story one that was solid enough to keep the pages turning and flew right through the book. When done I would rate this one at three and a half stars and would be interested in seeing what this author came up with next.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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Thank you to the publisher, Inkyard Press, and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Nova is the daughter of two scientists who invented Enhanced Memory, a technology that has taken the world by storm and changed the lives of people everywhere. A form of memory sharing, it makes it possible to experience anything, from learning new skills, to traveling the world, to partaking in the most dangerous of adventure sports in a completely risk free manner. Nova has always considered it a gift that has made people’s lives better, until she meets Kade, a critic of the technology who claims that there are serious long term effects to using it. He runs a secret channel where he creates videos of real experiences and seems almost paranoid about staying under the radar. While Nova initially dismisses his words, the more she pays attention to things around her, they begin to feel out of place, as she begins to have a feeling that she has forgotten something very important.

I’ve had this ARC for a couple of months now, and had set it aside to read closer to the release date, but I was pretty nervous to pick it up because of the mixed reviews I started to see. Having read this however, I’m quite confused about the lower ratings and negative reviews this is getting because I rather enjoyed it. The writing itself was average but the concept of Enhanced Memory was a fascinating one and I love reading about futuristic technology like this. But the more intriguing aspect of the story was the question of morality that hung over it all, making the reader question, right alongside Nova, how right was it to use this technology and how far were they willing to go to get the memories needed for it, particularly as she started to discover the shadier side of how it worked and what could be done with it.

Nova was a good protagonist and seeing through her perspective how her thoughts on the EM technology change as she learns about how different each person’s experiences are was very interesting. Nova’s parents, on the other hand, didn’t feel like real characters at all, just people there for the purpose of the plot. I’m not sure how intentional it was, but this largely contributed to the ending falling flat, and a little more development on their arcs would have helped a lot.

Admittedly, this was a little predictable after the 60% mark, but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book at all. What didn’t work for me however, was how quickly everything was resolved in the end. It wasn’t a pacing issue since the same brisk narration was maintained right until the end, but revealing a conspiracy of the scale that it turned out to be should have been much harder than what Nova needed to do. Also, while it did tie up all the important points, I didn’t feel like it was a complete ending – an epilogue of some sort would have been a really good inclusion.

Overall, this was a fun, fast-paced read with a unique story concept, appropriate for both middle grade and YA. It’s definitely a very different kind of novel, kind of a mix of a mystery and a psychological thriller, and if you’re a fan of either, I would definitely recommend this book!
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Set in a sort-of-dystopian near future, LIES MY MEMORY TOLD ME follows Nova, whose parents created technology that allows people to immerse themselves Enhanced Memories - I envisioned it as kind of like virtual reality, but you’re experiencing real memories and have no control over what “you” do during the memory. Nova is proud of her parents and the technology they’ve created, and all seems well -- until she meets Kade, who is opposed to EM and has an anonymous video channel where he highlights real experiences, like skydiving or ice skating or any of the things people now find too dangerous to engage in. Her relationship with Kade causes her to question just how EM technology impacts society as a whole as well as individuals. I was intrigued by this concept, and the book does pose interesting questions about what can be done when technology goes “too far.” However, overall the book fell a bit flat for me. I couldn’t really connect with any of the characters, and at times the foreshadowing was so blatant and overpowering that you knew well in advance what was going to happen or what a plot point would be in the future. I think this might be an instance where a younger YA reader would enjoy this more than I did. 

LIES MY MEMORY TOLD ME is a really intriguing thought experiment that raises interesting questions about whether and when the use of technology can be to the detriment of society, and what we can do to stop it from running amok. This would be a good one to put in the hands of younger YA readers and those transitioning from middle grade to young adult.

RATING: 3 stars

**Disclosure: I received an eARC of the book from the publisher for purposes of this blog tour. This review is voluntary on my part and reflects my honest rating and review of the book.
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