Cover Image: The Forgotten Memories of Vera Glass

The Forgotten Memories of Vera Glass

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This is my idea of what’s just about a perfect, well-rounded young-adult fantasy novel. Not only is the subject matter pitched perfectly for the YA market, but the tone and character voices are spot-on as well. I found the whole book as heartbreaking as I did philosophical in its ethical and logical musings. 

You can definitely see the influences of fantasy writers like C.S. Lewis and Phillip Pullman simultaneously in this work, which is an interesting juxtaposition. Vera, the female protagonist, strongly believes in God in a world where everyone has a magical aptitude, while she has many friends who are either ambivalent or even outright non-believers. There are also (as there is always) outliers in Vera’s high school who practice decentralized religions like witchcraft. 

You can’t help but feel a little bit gutted yourself as Vera and her friends lose more and more memories (if one can call what is happening something as succinct as “memories”) as the book moves on. You feel the harsh sting and emptiness they feel at not knowing what’s gone, but knowing that something is gone just the same. The world just doesn’t feel the same anymore.

Ultimately, when you reach toward the end of the book, Vera’s normally endearing hobby of solving logic puzzles for fun turns into a moral and ethical quandary as she tries to figure out how to undo whatever has been done. 

What I love about the end of this book is that it doesn’t tie everything up in a bow. Author Anna Priemaza could’ve gone that way: she could’ve chosen to go the happily-ever-after route and chosen to have us readers not taught a lesson. But I’m so glad she took on the challenge to actually put her foot down and lay out the implications for everyone regarding their morals, ethics, and the results of the demands and choices they made just before the end of the book. The book doesn’t end unhappily, but it doesn’t end on a sweet note, either. It’s like dark chocolate: deep, some sweetness, some happiness, but those bitter notes lingering on the back of your tongue.
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i feel like one of the biggest issues in this book was that the magic system made zero sense at most parts. like, they would try to explain it, but i think in the end it would make this book be more confusing then it needed to be, for what it was about and all of that. and i think that so much of this book and the magic system was never explored, which i think is a really terrible thing to do when you are already inventing one, so you should at least use it. 

another thing was that this book just was so slow. like, i feel like they were just not explained well and that it was so slow throughout this whole book. like, i think that a lot of this book took so much time to get so much happen and it was just kind of a mess. and i think that there was so much happening yet nothing at all. like, i think it could have been really cool if it had a plot that wasn't rushed, yet so slow. 

but, i do think that it was cool that we could kind of see that the friendship vibe between the two of them. like, i think it was a cool way to kind of see that we got to see all of the different friendships from them and that they got to be in together. like, i think it was really cool that we got to see these different friendships and i think it was just really fun, since i think friendships are always something that i always love in books, especially YA.
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Cover Story: Lost in the Woods

I get what this is going for — like there are bits of Vera that are missing — but it honestly looks more like she’s exposing her neck to vampires. The nondescript background could be an actual picture taken in Edmonton, but there’s no specificity and the cemetery’s only a minor setting. However, I do think this general idea could work, although I’d have Vera shown like she’s fading away from Thanos’ snap to more obviously represent the forgotten memories.

The Deal:

Something is very wrong, and Vera Glass doesn’t know why. But she feels it, though — like something is missing. Or maybe even someone. When she discovers that she’s not the only one who’s experiencing this phenomenon, Vera’s determined to figure out what’s happening. But how is she supposed to do that when she can’t even remember what she’s looking for?

BFF Charm: Yay

Yay BFF Charm
There’s a lot to love about Vera: she’s caring, kind, and super environmentally conscious. (Plus, she’s a Doctor Who nerd, which might be a bonus if that’s your fandom.) But she’s also not a flashy protagonist. For a girl who exists in a slightly magical world, she’s actually very grounded. Vera isn’t a Katniss; she’s the girl who reads about Katnisses, which means she’s probably more like the typical reader than any fantastical heroine. Still, Vera’s extraordinary in her own right, for her unwavering dedication to the people she loves, as well as her determination to solve a seemingly impossible problem. (It’d also be super convenient for us to hang out since we live in the same city!)

Swoonworthy Scale: 1

There’s only a tiny sliver of romance, which comes about in an unexpected way. But this is very much not a kissing book.

Talky Talk: Unsettling

This book quickly establishes the central problem and teaches its reader to pay attention to anything that might be amiss. There was even a moment that caught me off-guard and made me audibly gasp like a scandalized Victorian lady. (STAKES, there are plenty!) It’s the kind of book you’ll want to reread to catch all the details you missed or didn’t even realize were clues, which is also why I’m trying to reveal as little as possible so you can experience it yourself.

Bonus Factor: Aptitudes

Open book with moving pages in front of a glowing blue sphere and twinkle lights
Everyone in Vera’s world has a special ability known as an aptitude. It’s colloquially regarded as magic, even though it can be explained by science. Aptitudes can manifest as early as infancy, but there are only 72 different ones and they can vary widely, from perfect memory recall to sweetening magic. (It’s possible to get a dud, is what I’m saying.)

Bonus Factor: Knights and Knaves

Two knights in full armor spar with swords
Vera loves logic puzzles, as do I — in theory. In reality, they just tend to make my brain hurt.

Bonus Factor: Faith

Hands pressed together in prayer
Contrary to obnoxious and attention-seeking examples, it’s completely possible for science and faith to co-exist. The Glass family are Christians, with both parents working at the Aptitude Research Institute and the kids all named after notable scientists. Christianity isn’t synonymous with being close-minded, and Vera’s also well aware of the hypocrisy that exists when people aren’t exactly practicing what they preach.

Relationship Status: I Will Remember You

I went into this book with high hopes, and thankfully it delivered. It was riveting, exhilarating, and even a little heartbreaking. Safe to say, I won’t be forgetting it anytime soon.
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This story was so utterly unique and entertaining! I am not quite sure what route I expected the book to take, but it wasn't what I ended up getting- but in the best possible way. Let's talk about what I loved, and what left me wanting a bit more.

What I Loved:

►I mean, the whole entire premise? What if someone you knew, someone you loved, maybe someone you shared DNA with, suddenly vanished from existence? You wouldn't remember them, so you wouldn't technically know, but maybe you'd feel like something was... amiss. There is a bit of a hole where your loved one was, only you can't quite define it, because again, they don't exist. It's so thought provoking and mysterious, I could not stop reading, frankly!

►I enjoyed Vera and her friend group. They just seemed like so much fun to be around, and like genuinely good people who would be so fun to hang out with. I understood why they loved each other, and it was easy to see why someone would feel pain at their absences.

►The twists were amazing and kept me guessing throughout. Honestly this is why the book was so compulsively readable; I had to know what was going on! Would these people be gone forever? Would Vera even know she's lost people?

►Obviously, incredibly high stakes. This too made it so readable- the stakes were enormous! I mean, full humans could be wiped off the face of the Earth, but even worse than that, no one would remember them ever existing. Kind of terrifying, no?

What I Didn't:

►The ending felt quite rushed. I mean, look, questions were answered. I just found it to be a bit of a letdown that after such an exciting book overall, the ending seemed a little easy and underwhelming for me. Not a dealbreaker at all obviously, considering I liked the book, but maybe be aware for your own expectations.

Bottom Line: So unique and entertaining, I was completely invested in the outcome of this one!
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"Witches in a graveyard. Holes in my happiness. Questions that need answering."

An achingly beautiful story of loss and the lengths we'll go to for the ones we love. 

In Vera's world, everyone has a little bit of magic, such as the ability to unlock doors or turn on lights or sense what others need to hear. But when someone taps into deeper magic, things start to go very, very wrong. Vera's lost someone, but she doesn't know who it is. Instead, she feels a person-shaped hole in her heart. She and her best friend Riven try to solve the mystery, but meanwhile, people keep disappearing. The reader realizes it, but the characters don't realize their loss, until the moment they do. 

The first few chapters introduce a LOT of characters, but you're going to want to stick with this one. Once people started disappearing, I was hooked as Vera and her friends fight to find out what's happening. I loved how unexpected the final answer was. 

This book felt contemporary, but the magic provided an interesting twist to Vera's high school experiences. It was woven into the story well, with Vera's parents working at an institute researching the magical aptitudes. 

The ending was perfect. I'll be thinking about this one for a long time. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the advance review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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This was great! 

The plot surprised me. The characters were well written, with good quirks. 

The memories being forgotten got a little confusing as you get farther in the story since as the reader you remember what and who is missing from Vera’s life. 

I’m glad it gets figured out and Vera is happy again, but it was a little fast in how it happened.
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This is such an interesting premise for a book and the mystery of what is causing people to disappear kept me interested through the whole story. That said, the book otherwise felt very flat to me; the pacing was slow, I wanted a little more information about the book's magic system, and the characters weren't the most interesting. Particularly Vera herself, I just didn't really find her likeable even though there wasn't anything I particularly disliked about her either. Though I did find the way she and her friends talked about how they weren't like other teens because they went to youth group instead of partying a bit off putting. There are plenty of teens that don't experiment with drugs or alcohol, probably many who would otherwise relate more to Vera because of this, and the characters keep stating its so odd. I also was a little disappointed in the ending, after the rest of the book being so slow it felt very rushed. Overall this book was definitely not my cup of tea.
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When I first began reading this book, I immediately became confused at the progression of the plot. The story started slow with a lot of explaining about the world Vera is from. In this world, each person develops an aptitude which is a special ability almost like magic, except in this universe they believe it is a branch of science. Learning about these different aptitudes will have you wishing you had one too! Between light magic, color magic, shadow magic and unlocking magic, it’s hard to decide which one you would hope to have! There’s even intuition magic where some people are able to anticipate just what others need. With the disappearance of her brother, the book takes a mysterious turn and it honestly took me awhile to realize exactly what was happening. But once you figure it out, the puzzle pieces will start to connect. As time goes on, Vera continues to feel an emptiness pulling like a weight in her heart, the problem is, she just doesn’t remember what she is missing. This book will be one you will want to read again once you have figured out the mysterious forgotten memories of Vera Glass.
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The Forgotten Memories of Vera Glass by Anna Priemaza, 304 pages. Amulet Books (ABRAMS), 2021. $19. LGBTQIA
Language: PG (3 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content: PG13; Violence: G
Vera feels an unexplainable sadness. Everyday things like spaghetti and the number four make her cry, but there isn’t any reason for her pain. All Vera knows is that she isn’t the only one feeling it, which means it can be fixed, and nothing is going to stop her from figuring out how.
Magic is prevalent in Vera’s world, but the experiences of the characters with mental health are applicable for us in our magicless existence. Priemaza has expertly crafted a world that feels real to readers because of emotional connections despite the differing circumstances. After the emotional ride I went on with Vera, I could only sit and stare at the last page for a while. My heart broke and hoped with hers, not knowing how anything would turn out but praying for a happy ending -- for both her world and our own. The mature content rating is for innuendo and mentions of sex.
Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen
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What would happen if people you knew suddenly didn’t exist and you could not remember them ever having been in your life, but you became depressed because you knew something significant was missing? Then multiply that with each new person disappeared from your life.
Such a cool concept, isn’t it? Anna Priemaza’s story has that happen to teen Vera Glass, whose small and super tight circle of friends begins disappearing, and she knows something is missing, can’t figure out what’s missing, but wants to cry because of “the whole in her heart”, which is a great way to describe grief.

Did I like this book? Sort of. I liked Vera’s friendship with Riven, and I loved how much her circle of friends cared for each other. I liked that the setting was Edmonton; I’m always happy when a Canadian town or city is featured in a sci-fi or fantasy story. 
I was less enamoured of the writing which, though competent, did not engage me, and I found myself skimming pages at a time to get to the next plot point. Despite the things I liked in this book, overall I was underwhelmed.

Thank you Netgalley and ABRAMS Kids for this ARC in exchange for my review.
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This was very skillfully done! Although readers kind of witness a "plot twist" right at the very beginning, it only serves to build the tension in the narration as we witness Vera trying to make sense of what's happened. We know what she's lost, but it doesn't "ruin" the mystery because we still don't know why or how. 

I absolutely loved the thought of everyone having their own affinity, and the debate of magic vs science, the study of mutations, all of it! I love how the author included Vera's Christian faith, but also included several other viewpoints and respected the validity of all of them. 

I was very, very impressed with this book and I can't wait to read what the author writes next!
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Something is missing in Vera's life, but she can't put her finger on what. The absence has left a hollow space inside her that seems to grow by the day. When Vera discovers that she's not the only one feeling this way, that's proof enough that something much larger is amiss. Vera and her best friend Riven know they must do something before it's too late, but too late for what? How do you fix what you don't remember?

So this is a really cool premise, and there's a very minor magic system in the book as well. I liked that there wasn't a long drawn out explanation of the magic, we are just dropped right in. I was interested enough in the plot to finish the book, even though I had some issues with the book. There is no subtlety here, you are hit over the head again and again. There's a theological component, which is definitely not my bag. I cared almost nothing for the characters, and the dialogue was cheesy and clunky. Still, I wanted to know how it ended. So, I guess I was hooked regardless of my problems. Maybe this one was just too young for me? I definitely think it will be a hit with readers, 16 and under. Thank you to Amulet Books and Netgalley for the chance to review this advance copy. 
2.75 stars rounded up
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*DNF @25%*
This has a cool sounding premise, of a girl who knows something is wrong with her memories and sets out to find the truth, but this didn't keep my attention. It's a very slow book with just day to day stuff of her and her friends at school and her home life. There's hints of something being wrong but just knowing that isn't enough. The suspense of what's wrong never felt like it was executed well. Plus Vera's voice is just so plain and honestly kind of forgettable that I didn't care to keep going...
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The concept of this book is very unique, it's not quite magical realism but not quite pure fantasy, but whatever it is, it is good. The friendships in this book were great and felt very true. There was something missing, something that needed tweaking, something I can't define that would have made this book better for me. But since I can't define it, it could be a me problem and not a book problem.
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The Forgotten Memories of Vera Glass is a stunning sci-fi thriller, where the suspense doesn't come from figuring out the mystery, but wondering whether the main character will. It is truly remarkable the way the Priemaza has created a narrator experiencing lost memories in a way that the reader can see the inconsistencies and gaps, but the character cannot. Masterful, suspenseful, edge-of-your seat - but also a slice of life study of grief and loss. This book is hard to describe, but impossible to forget.
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Loss creates holes in hearts, except you have the memories, the history. What if you were only left with the grief and loss, the hole in your heart? What would you do?

“The Forgotten Memories of Vera Glass”addresses the holes in the heart of Vera Glass, her family and friends. Through a wide range of world and faith perspectives, Vera and her friends unravel the mystery that no one wants to touch, let alone acknowledge. 

With grace notes of ethics, religion, secrecy, crossed lines, Anna Priemaza skillfully draws us through Vera’s days as a new reality develops with each person fails to exist.. The voice is real and accessible, although lagging in sections. Time spent blaming one group for the potential losses could have supported the resolution instead. 

An intriguing concept presented in real life teen thinking laced with religious perspectives,  “The Forgotten Memories of Vera Glass” offers young readers a look at loss, gifts. and dilemmas wrapped in a mystery.
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Okay this book was an interesting ride from the start. I couldn’t stop because I needed to know what was going on. Symbolic, magical, but definitely a more YA read than adults. It was unique if not a tiny bit cliche at the same time. 

I received from NetGalley for an honest review.
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What a completely unique premise for a story!  I was hooked all the way till the end wondering what was causing the forgotten memories.  I appreciated there wasn't a lot of time given to the fact that everyone has an aptitude, that would have taken away from the eerie, lovely, tale.  I didn't put this book down, read it in one sitting, that is how captivating it was.
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This book was not what I was expecting! It was fascinating, clever and will keep you turning the page. 

I was kindly provided an ebook by the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review of this book.  The book is scheduled to be released on November 9, 2021.
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Okay, first I just want to say holly hell that was such an intense ride! I don't know exactly what I expected from this book before I read it but it definitely wasn't that (and I mean that in the best way possible). Recently I have become a real sucker for magical realism and this book 100% delivers. I'm not going to lie, there were parts of the book where I was confused and I thought I was missing something important, but I have a feeling that was done on purpose? Vera and Riven have  this big chunk of memories missing so if I'm not mistaken, I think they author was trying to put us in their shoes WHICH I ABSOLUTELY LOVE. So many times I give books lower ratings because they were too "tell-y" and not enough "show-y" but after reading Vera Glass, I am going to be upset if they don't make be feel like I am actually in the thick of it with the main characters. This book was definitely really complicated and it may not be everyone's cup of tea, but if you think it is, highly recommend it.
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