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Lies My Memory Told Me

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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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This just didn't do it for me. The writing didn't keep me entertained, the plot was just a little too blah. I just couldn't get into it.

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Title: Lies My Memory Told Me
Author: Sacha Wunsch
Genre: YA
Rating: 3.0

Enhanced Memory changed everything. By sharing someone else’s memory, you can experience anything and everything with no risk at all: learn any skill instantly, travel the world from home, and safeguard all your most treasured secrets forever. Nova’s parents invented this technology, and it’s slowly taking over their lives. Nova doesn’t mind—mostly. She knows Enhanced Memory is a gift.

But Kade says Nova doesn’t know the costs of this technology that’s taken the world by storm. Kade runs a secret vlog cataloging real experiences, is always on the move, and is strangely afraid of Nova—even though she feels more comfortable with him than she ever has with anyone. Suddenly there are things Nova can’t stop noticing: the way her parents don’t meet her eyes anymore, the questions no one wants her to ask, and the relentless feeling that there’s something she’s forgotten…

This was just a meh read for me. Nova never felt like a real person to me at all. She just let things happen to her, and then was astonished. The other characters, especially Kade, felt like mere shadows of people, and there was just so much that felt unfinished. Even the ending was…lackluster.

Sacha Wunsch is a bestselling author. Lies My Memory Told Me is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Inkyard Press in exchange for an honest review.)

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What I Loved

I love the premise of Lies My Memory Told Me by Sacha Wunsch. Technology is rapidly changing and expanding, and people have become more and more reliant on it. A story about technology that lets you experience other people’s memories of places and activities doesn’t feel like that big of a stretch – just one or two steps past VR. I find this a very intriguing premise and loved exploring the downside to such technology.

This very slow-burn sci-fi thriller could have been a dicey reading choice for me as I have found that my patience with slowly unfolding stories is often shorter than it takes for the story to pick up in intensity and pace. This almost happened to me while reading this book. Still, just as my interest in learning about this new technology started to wan, the mystery is brought to the foreground, and everything about the story ramps up from that point onward.

The story is told in first-person narration through Nova, the daughter of the married couple who developed the EM (Enhanced Memory) technology. I loved that she is a teen who is not angsty or drama-ridden. This method of telling the tale is very effective as she is in the middle of all aspects of the story, including the many aspects of the technology. Third person narration would only have distracted the reader from many important nuances of the story.


Nova is well-developed and drives the story. She is afraid of so much and is so timid. I couldn’t help but feel sympathy for her and then rejoice when she starts taking chances and experiencing all that life offers. She grows exponentially as the story unfolds, and it is a remarkable thing to witness.

What I Wish

I would have loved more thrills from the beginning, but that’s a personal preference rather than a critique. I could see where this story could have been a jaw-dropping, action-packed thriller, but I also recognize that a change in approach would have changed the whole story in subtle and profound ways and respect the author’s choices.

To Read or Not to Read
If you are looking for a compelling sci-fi thriller that will make you look at technological advances in a new light, Lies My Memory Told Me is a book you will not want to miss.

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Lies My Memory Told Me is an interesting techno-mystery-suspense-thriller mix.

Nova's parents invented a technology called Enhanced Memories which enables people to access someone else's memories. This allows them to learn new skills, travel, have adventures, and a wide variety of other uses without leaving their current location and at no risk to themselves. You can also have your memories saved so they are always accessible. Use of Enhanced Memories has taken off like wild-fire, with an ever growing number of people spending more and more of their time using the technology.

Nova, a teenager, enjoys using Enhanced Memories as entertainment herself, but her enthusiasm dims as her parents continue to spend the majority of their time on or using the technology, spending little time with and barely acknowledging Nova. She meets a boy who is strongly opposed to the technology, calling it dangerous. How can that be? What do you mean? The more they talk, the more questions Nova has about it all. Is there truth to what her new friend is saying? With her parents becoming more disengaged with real life and acting stranger as time goe on, Nova sets out to learn the truth behind Enhanced Memories. Is the technology as risk free as it is advertised? Can Nova find the answers she's looking for without putting herself and others in danger?

I'm not sure what the intended audience for this book is meant to be, but I think it would be a hit with middle-schoolers and teens. Doesn't quite check all the boxes for this adult reader, but it was still an entertaining read.

My thanks to NetGalley and Inkyard Press for allowing me to access an ARC of this novel which is scheduled to be published on 10/19/21. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and are freely given.

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Overall rating: 2.5/5 (rounded to 3)
Short Chapter rating: 3/5

This book started out really interesting and I was intrigued by this idea of enhanced memories. It’s about Nova a 17 yr old whose parents invented the technology who starts to feel very alone as her parents stop connecting with her, and she meets Kade who starts to get her thinking the enhanced memories are bad for you.

As I think about this story, not a lot actually happens. It stays very surface level and didn’t get to the level of information needed to make it great. I think had the author gone deeper into her parents or this company and created a true villain and more action (more suspense), I think it would have made the story stronger. I felt myself getting a bit bored. Even with all the details coming together in the last few chapters, it felt rushed and made it a bit chaotic. Unfortunately, it felt a bit flat for me.

I would say it’s ok.

Is this book for you? If you like YA, sci-fi/tech stories, then give this book a go.

Thank you Net Galley for the advance reader copy in exchange for my honest review.

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This book is great! Would definitely recommend. Thanks so much to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.

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With a slow build to a quick resolution, this book will appeal to science fiction lovers and those who have questions about the trajectory of our dependence on social media.

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This story is definitely a ride you don't want to get off of. The lies my memory told me is about a memory machine that let's people live through others memories. Which is actually kind of terrifying to me because with the way technology advances I could see this actually happening. The whole premise of the story was really intriguing. It starts at a pretty steady pace and the story flows really well. I definitely found it hard to put down.

As for characters this is where I feel like it lost a star. The main character, Nova, tends to be a little too self centered at times. She gets pushes people to do what she wants and tell her things she wants to know even when they don't want to. But when she doesn't like what she hears she acts childish. It really annoyed me to be honest. Thankfully the other characters and the plot redeem that aspect a lot.

Overall this is a really good novel. I enjoyed a lot of it. I really like how it makes you think about how technology effects our lives and how it can take it over people's lives.

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This psychological YA novel focuses on Nova and her parents, who created a special and unique technology that allows its users to experience anything they want using others memories.

Going in to this I knew it was a young adult novel, which I used to devour a little over five years ago, but hadn’t been into any lately. I thought the premise of this sounded really neat, so I decided to give it a go, but was ultimately let down. It was too immature feeling and the excitement/allure of the Enhanced Memory technology was a disappointment.

Thank you to Netgalley and Inkyard Press for my copy.

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The first half was slow and almost read a bit amateurish. But the second half was great and I began flipping through much more quickly! However, even though the second half was written much better and with more suspense, I felt that topic could've been delved into a bit deeper with more complexity. This may be because I personally have a read a lot of other books and seen other shows about the topic of "downloading" and/or "saving memories" and uploading them. For someone else, especially teens, this may seem a lot more original and therefor just great as is. I'll certainly recommend it to my teen library patrons!

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📚 Book Review 📚

Lies My Memory Told Me by Sacha Wunsh is a debut book by this author. Nova’s parents created a program called Enhanced Memories (EM) that would allow people to live out experiences by watching different memories of other people. Nova realized that her parents are spending more and more time with this program and less and less time with her. When she meets a new friend, she starts to realize she feels so comfortable with him that she feels as if she knows him during their first meeting. Their relationship makes her start to question EM and feel as if something is off.

Things I liked:
📋 The first half of the book was intriguing and kept me reading for more.
📋 I enjoyed the concept of the book because it was something outside of the ordinary with a love story included.
📋 I believe this book discussed addiction in a very healthy way.

What I wished:
📋I felt like the end of the story was difficult to believe.

Release date: October 19, 2021
Trigger Warning: addiction


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**I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

Sara Wunsch's debut does not disappoint. Nova parents designed Enhanced Memories as a way to help memory patients. It has since become common place for people to use EM's in place of actual experiences. People can now "download" others memories through the use of EM's, allowing them to learn a new skill instantly, travel the world without leaving home, and experience adventures without risk of injury.
Then Nova meets the mysterious Kade, who refuses to use EM's and posts his real experiences to his anonymous vlog. As Nova gets closer to Kade, and sees her parents using EM increasingly, to the point of ignoring her and everything else, she begins to question the safety and usefulness of this new technology.
Nova has questions: Why does she feel like she is forgetting something important? What is happening to her parents? Who is Kade, really? Are Enhanced Memories safe?
With Kade's help, Nova searches for the answers.

I cannot wait to put this psychological mystery page-turner in the hands of my students. I believe they will love it as much as I did.

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I had a difficult time rating this one. It’s not a bad book at all, but I didn’t wow me as much as I expected it to.

Nova was a well-written protagonist. She was instantly relatable despite being the daughter of two celebrity scientists. Her (partially self-imposed) social isolation and awkwardness at the beginning of the story made her instantly likable and endearing.

I did struggle to get into the book at first, and I think that was partially because of how Enhanced Memory was explained. Nova literally watches a video consisting of interviews where people are talking about EM, which I thought was a little odd considering her parents invented it. I understand that the videos were supposed to be foreshadowing, but it really took me out of the story.

I also think that this book tries to fit into too many genres (sci-fi, mystery, suspense, psychological thriller) when it should just be the YA thriller that it is because the writing is perfectly YA.

Overall, it was a fun read that I would recommend to my friends who enjoy YA novels that avoid the typical tropes and cliches.

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When Nova's parents created Enhanced Memory, a technology system that let people experience the memories of others as if they were their own, the world was irrevocably changed. Now people learn new skills with a single memory, or travel to faraway lands from the comfort of their own homes. In the two years since, Nova is certain that Enhanced Memory is a gift to the world. Her opinions begin to change, though, when she meets Kade, a vlogger who decries the recreational use of Enhanced Memory and urges users to take caution. Suddenly, Nova's life seems to be falling apart: her parents are obsessed with memories, her friends don't think Enhanced Memory can be dangerous, and she's beginning to have strange headaches...

There is one thing that I (usually) don't take relish in while review-writing, and it's giving bad reviews. I fully believe that every book has a reader somewhere, and acknowledge that authors often put their hearts and souls into their novels. But I don't have another way to say this without beating around the bush. This book is bad. I had high hopes for it when I requested an arc, and was excited when I was approved, but it didn't take me long to realize that if I didn't feel obligated to read this, I would've given up right away. 1 star.

There are so many things I want to say, and so many half-formed thoughts that I want to share, yet I'm struggling to put them together in a cohesive, concise way. I guess the easiest way to do it would be to say: There was nothing particularly outstanding about Nova. Even as our sole narrator, Nova manages to be the very definition of bland. She has no discernable personality--everything that I might say about her is what she's told us about herself, instead of letting readers figure out who she is. Her actions don't match with the way she describes herself, and she's surprisingly and painfully ignorant, to the point of offense, in some cases. (Like someone saying that Enhanced Memory could be addictive, and she's like ???? "but it's not cocaine." Also, I'm paraphrasing.) Unfortunately, her supporting cast is no better. They're little more than amorphous cardboard blobs.

Furthermore, the writing was just lacking for me. I couldn't help but feel like there was a serious lack of flow within the storyline. It is choppy and often hard to follow, with scenes that did not feel necessary. Nova's narration was awkward and inauthentic. Many conversations were excuses for info-dumping, or explaining seemingly obvious things to our clueless heroine. And, while I'm being nitpicky, there are way to many filler words. An example: "this is like ____ or something/anything.) I couldn't help but wonder if it was a result of the author trying to authenticate the teenage voice, but I must say that it was distracting.

And lastly, it felt like the story didn't know what it wanted to be. Was it a low science fiction? Was it a psychological thriller? Did it want to produce dystopian vibes, or did it want to be more contemporary? The plot felt rather aimless, any twists could be seen a mile away, and the ending was rushed.

(An aside, because I have to say this but don't know where to put it in this mess of a review: if it's only been two years since Enhanced Memory became a thing, why is everyone acting like they've never done anything remotely dangerous, like ice skate or go to a concert???)

Of course, the version I read is still an arc, so some of these things may be improved upon or edited in that time frame. But at the same time, some of these things are going to be difficult if not impossible to edit in such a short time frame.

Posted to Goodreads 9/21/2021

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Before we get into the bulk of the review, I want to say a quick thank you to both NetGalley and the publishers over at Inkyard Press for giving me an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Lies My Memory Told Me is about a girl named Nova whose parents invented the technology of Enhanced Memories. With Enhanced Memories, you can experience skydiving or bungie jumping or any other number of exciting adventures without the risk. And as Nova’s parents sink deeper and deeper into EM addiction, she meets a boy who wants to have real experiences again. As she gets to know Kade, he opens her eyes to a problem that just might be lurking inside her very own mind. This book comes out on October 19th and is available for pre-order now.

That premise is what made me request the ARC. But I have to say that the execution wasn’t well done. The writing felt basic and juvenile. I know this is written with YA readers in mind, but I would have felt this way about the writing as a young adult myself. The book was also pretty repetitive and it got pretty old pretty fast. I know that Nova and Kade need to have conversations about their differing view points, but I feel like it can be done without arguing the same points over and over. It also felt like the plot was predictable. I knew pretty much the answer or the twist the whole time which made it a little less satisfying at the end.

I did enjoy the technology and the whole premise of what that could turn the real would into. It felt a little like the tech from Hank Green’s A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor. And I like the idea of people wanting/needing an escape so badly that they lose sight of the real things that matter. This book also brings up questions of identity and the sense of self. I wish we could have gotten more of that from Nova as everything was unfolding. I did like the way it ended on the idea that people may say you only have two options from here, but Nova knows that there are really three and she chooses to take that third one.

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Published on August 27, 2021

Nowadays, Netflix’s hit TV show Black Mirror doesn’t seem like a distant warning of technology’s danger. Robotic dogs have taken over, and biomedical tech has become a worrying issue of ethics as of late. There’s no denying our reliance on technology. Still, more than ever, the advances we’re making are starting to look more and more like an episode of Black Mirror.

And this is where Sacha Wunsch’s upcoming YA thriller “Lies My Memory Told Me” comes in. Enhanced Memory, technology allowing for anyone to experience or learn anything without any risk, is the hottest tech on the market. Users can travel the world, learn a new skill, or go zip lining without even leaving their couch–what’s not to love? Nova doesn’t mind EM all that much–her parents created the tech, and she sees the good in it, although the work seems to be taking over their lives.

Then Nova meets Kade–an enigmatic risk-taker who was formerly addicted to EM tech and runs a secret vlog recording real experiences. Despite their growing connection, Kade seems almost afraid of Nova. Unanswered questions, witnessing strange treatments at her job, and the feeling of forgetfulness lead Nova down the rabbit hole into the secrets of EM, her parents, Kade, and herself.

More than this being a cautionary tale of technology, “Lies My Memory Told Me” is a story of the human experience and the risks we’re willing to take to feel more. Yes, Wunsch’s Enhanced Memory tech perfectly aligns with the rise of the smartphone. Still, there are elements of current biomedical tech and its gray areas. Although a YA novel, Wunsch articulates the ethical and moral issues of Enhanced Memory without dumping high-brow, philosophical rants.

Throughout the novel, layers are pulled back on EM’s permeance in society and its effects on users, but with little suspense. With just a tad more suspense and danger, “Lies My Memory Told Me” could’ve been just as thrilling and nerve-wracking as a Black Mirror episode.

Even with the big reveal–an intriguing one nonetheless that definitely took me by surprise–there was too little build-up to the climax. The secrets revealed are more of a footnote than the monumental moment it could’ve been with the right amount of suspense sprinkled throughout and emphasis on the big reveal.

What makes for an intriguing read on the dangers of tech and the human experience is that it lacks the punch it could’ve landed. Nevertheless, “Lies My Memory Told Me” will transport you into a spectacular Black Mirror episode.

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