Cover Image: In the Dark We Forget

In the Dark We Forget

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Member Reviews

Thank you to Net Galley for giving me this opportunity to read this book.
A young woman is found hundreds of miles away from her home on the side of the road.  The woman dosen't know how she get there or who would want to hurt her.  She is suffering from amnesia and her parents are also missing. So begins her arduous task of what happened to her and her parents. She eventually finds out what her name is.  Her mother won a substantial amount of money in a lottery.  Could her being attacked and her parents missing be a coincidence?
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There were a number of things I enjoyed in this book. I liked the premise, the setting and the unfolding of the mystery. I enjoyed seeing the Chinese Canadian family dynamics, dealing with workplace and domestic abuse and also being LGBQT inclusive. Quite refreshing.

What I didn’t like was the protagonist. Cleo is a self centered self absorbed bitch. Granted she has amnesia and can’t recall how bitchy she truly was, but enough of her old personality leaks through and I found it, at least for me, quite off putting. I would have read the story a lot quicker as the other elements in the novel were great but her character I eventually found very unsympathetic and unlikeable. And I found the ambiguous ending interesting. 

3 stars (would have provided a higher rating if Cleo was written differently or if her amnesia was better explained & perhaps with a clearer ending)
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A woman wakes up on the side of a highway with no memory of who is and how she got there. The mystery of her identity is solved pretty quickly: with the help of a local RCMP officer, she learns her name is Cleo Li and she has a younger brother named Cass. But then a bigger mystery arises: their parents are missing, last seen close to where Cleo regained consciousness, and their mom's winning $47M lottery ticket may have something to do with the disappearance. As the investigation progresses, Cleo learns of some recent strains on her relationship with her parents, and she has to figure out, how much does she really want to remember about what actually happened?

In the Dark We Forget is a twisty and fascinating mystery. I loved learning along with Cleo about who she was before the attack, and why someone may have motive for wanting to harm her. Cleo is an unreliable narrator, partly because of the memory loss, but also partly because she hides things from other characters and there are hints that she may also be hiding things from us, the readers. The ending, and particularly the last couple of pages, seem to hint at a final reveal, but then the book ends without actually confirming anything. I admit I'm not a fan of ambiguous endings in general, but this one in particular annoyed me. Given the languid, meticulous pacing and intricate detail of most of the book, something about the narration made the last few chapters feel vague and the reveals challenging to pin down. So when the final two reveals were told with such narrative distance that it's even harder to grasp what they actually meant, I just found it frustrating.

The book does shine in how it explores the Lis' family dynamics, and the experiences of being an Asian woman in Canada. I love how the author explores the instinctive trust and recognition of shared experiences between Cleo and Aoki, a Japanese-Canadian RCMP officer assigned to the case. Cleo feels an immediate comfort with Aoki even before she remembers her own heritage (Chinese). There are a few wonderful scenes exploring the racism the two women face, like when Aoki is assigned to be a liaison because of their "shared heritage" and Cass rightly snarks that he and Cleo are Chinese and Aoki is Japanese. Or when another RCMP officer asks Cleo about witnesses saying Cleo often had an angry tone when speaking to her mother, and when Cleo points out none of the witnesses speak Cantonese and may have misinterpreted the tone, the officer retorts, "Isn't Cantonese a tonal language?" which is a total misunderstanding of what 'tonal' means in that context.

Probably my favourite is how the novel calls out the stereotypes faced by Asian women. In an early scene, when speaking of other (likely white and male) RCMP officers taking on the case, Aoki tells Cleo,

Once any of those big strapping lads gets one look at pretty little Chinese you, they'll be falling all over themselves to help you. I mean, even I feel protective, and I should know better than to jump to conclusions. No, I mean it. They're conditioned to see us as vulnerable and helpless, right? That's how Asian women get...fetishized in our society. Demure and meek and all that. [6%]

Later, the dark side of this stereotype plays out in real time, when a suspect in Cleo's attack accuses her of faking sweetness and innocence and putting on a 'damsel in distress' act. First, it's patently untrue in that scene, where Cleo is in genuine distress at being in the same room with this person. But also, this is incredibly loaded language to describe Asian women, and when it happens, one can almost hear the echo of Aoki's words from earlier in the novel.

I also love the relationship arc between Cleo and her brother. It's complex, emotional, and messy... in short, just like a real family relationship, and I love how they pull through for each other even when they fight.

One snag in the character development piece for me is that by Cass's own admission, Cleo's personality seemed to have done a complete 180 after the attack. From her conversations with Aoki and Cass, it seems implied that she can choose to keep this new and improved version of herself moving forward. Which, fine, that'll be nice. But it also felt unrealistic to me. People in her workplace literally feared and hated her before the attack, because she was super shady in her dealings. And while the attack may have rocked her enough to make her a bit more open about her vulnerability, it seems unlikely that whatever caused her behaviour before the attack would have gone away completely. It seems more realistic that we would have seen more glimpses of that side of Cleo throughout the novel. There were hints of more assertiveness in her, to the point that Cass sometimes calls her out on reverting to old Cleo, but nowhere near the level that would inspire such dislike, so even with her slip-ups, she still comes off being like a totally new person.

Still, overall, this was an entertaining novel. I wish the ending had been less ambiguous, and that Cleo's personality development had felt more realistic, but I loved the family dynamics and explorations of Asian women's experiences.


Thank you to Harper Collins Canada for an e-galley of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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💫 In The Dark We Forget 💫 
By Sandra SG Wong
Publisher: Harpercollins (June 21.2022)
Genre: Thriller 

It’s dark. It’s cool. You find grass and branches in your hair. You’re outside. But why are you there? How did you get there? And what is your name? 

The book opens up exactly that way and what follows is the discovery of the why and how the young woman finds the answers. There are twists that the author takes the reader on that make you question every member of her family. And also want to shake the narrator because they do questionable things. There’s also a level of arrogance in the MC that added to the suspense and frustration for the reader. 

I thought the opening pages were catchy but the story was a bit slow for me. One I liked reading but not one I’ll remember in a few weeks. 

Recommend it for readers who don’t read a ton of thrillers or don’t like to be scared within the pages. This was more of a mystery with an unreliable narrator.  3.5 ⭐️
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There are so many unique aspects of this book that I loved. This was the first book that I’ve read by this author and I did enjoy it. I’m hoping there is a sequel because I need to know more! I’m not crazy about the amnesia storyline. However, this book was still great.
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Cleo, waking up from unexplained amnesia, then learning her parents dissappered. Piecing together what happened to her family and at the same time trying to remember everything from the time she lost her memory and the kind of life she had with her parents.

Twist and turn with the story that involves mysterious dissappearance, winning a lottery ticket, a family member who might have a connection with all what's happening around.

Overall, I would say an interesting delivery of the story.

Thank you at Harper Collins Publishers for the E-arc.

3.5/5 stars
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When a woman wakes up with amnesia beside a mountain highway, confused and alone, she fights to regain her identity, only to learn that her parents have disappeared—not long after her mother bought a winning $47 million lottery ticket. 

As her memories painfully resurface and the police uncover details of her parents’ mysterious disappearance, Cleo Li finds herself under increasing suspicion. Even with the unwavering support of her brother, she can’t quite reconcile her fears with reality or keep the harrowing nightmares at bay. As Cleo delves deeper for the truth, she cannot escape the nagging sense that maybe the person she should be afraid herself.

With jolting revelations and taut ambiguity, In the Dark We Forget vividly examines the complexities of family—and the lies we tell ourselves in order to survive.
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✨Book review✨
In the Dark We Forget
By Sandra SG Wong

What would you do if you woke up in the woods, on the side of a remote forestry road, with injuries, and no memory of what has happened to you? 
For Cleo, that is what occurs, and Wong weaves her gripping tale in this thrilling page turner, as her story unfolds.

This was a great book, which kept me wondering what would happen next. It was suspenseful and surprising, and I couldn’t set it down!

What I enjoyed the most, is the fact that this story takes place in my own backyard. With scenes taking place in various Alberta and British Columbia locations, I could really appreciate the intricate writing details Wong delivered. 
I was able to close my eyes and envision the sheer terror and panic that Cleo was experiencing. This book touched some very sensitive issues, such as abuse and trauma,that some people may find hard to read about, however, I really feel they were handled appropriately, and added to the authenticity of Wong’s writing style. Not sugar coated, just raw and real.

Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Thank you so much to @harpercollinsca  @netgalley and @sgwong8 for the E- ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

This book drops June 21st and it’s an absolute must add to your reading stack this summer! 

#booksofhcc #harpercollinscanada #harpercollinscanadainfluencerprogram #netgalley #inthedarkweforget #sandrasgwong #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #canadianbookstagram #canadianbookstagrammer #canadianauthor #canadianpublisher #canadianbooks #albertabookstagrammers #albertabooks #bookreview #bookrecommendations #thrillerreads #thrillerbooks #bookinfluencer #bookcommunity #canadianbookcrew #addthistoyourtbr #readthisbook #bookrecs #bookratings #bookfollow #letsbebookfriends
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i really enjoyed the author's details and writing style, especially paying attention to all surroundings, real places well described.
enjoyed the plot, altough the middle part i felt dragged a bit on.
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Intellectually stimulating, explosive, Compelling, griping, exhilarating & intense!  This story brought out all the feels & the emotions! On top of all that this phenomenal Asian Canadian author has had the courage to write about many topics that need much more light shed on them, due to the general public's lack of knowledge (with knowledge comes not only understanding but hopefully compassion, caring & acceptance) so I for one thank you Sandra!
In the dark we forget, is this a reference to what Cleo's mother did to her, how her father was to afraid to stop it?  The behind closed doors and all deal? Or subjectively could this be in reference to  how we as a society treat people who have emigrated to Canada?  (and I'm ashamed that this is true I wish with all my heart that it were not) I would love to sit down with Sandra SG Wong and ask her about the title of the book because it's the first thing that drew me in, but then her amazing, flowing, dramatic, precise writing style hooked me in chapter one and boy did I hang on with everything that I had right till the end of the epilog!
I absolutely loved the issues that were brought up in this book such as the way Asian Canadians are treated and or looked upon in society (which is disgraceful), how the female children are treated in an Asian family (I can't imagine how damaging that must be to self esteem & mental health) LGBTQIA issues in general are an iffy topic because it's hard not to offend people and I think this author had to be brave to write about how the Asian community reacted years ago as well as how they react now and it was brilliant to show both sides of how that made the siblings in this story feel, what it was like being disowned also how hard it was to explain not having your parents at your wedding.   There were a lot of twists & turns in the story that were shocking, dramatic & heart wrenching and of course I just wanted more more more.  I would recommend this book to anyone who dislikes injustice, prejudice or racism that enjoys a good on the edge of your seat mystery or psychological thriller.  I sincerely thank @NetGalley, @HarperCollinsCa and @S_G_Wong for THE ARC of this fantastic book.
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"In the Dark We Forget" is a slow burn that seems to rest somewhere between mystery and thriller. Who is Chloe? Is she hiding something? Does she really not remember who she is? Who can be trusted?

There were many things I like about this book, such as the setting, the premise, and the clean writing. I also enjoyed that I wasn't always rooting for the main character - I am a sucker for an unreliable narrator, especially one that keeps secrets from the reader.

I would have liked this book to pick a lane in terms of genre, however. It was too dialogue-driven and slow-paced to be my ideal thriller, but didn't contain enough of an "aha!" reveal to qualify as the kind of mystery I personally enjoy.  I would recommend this title for readers who like family-based dramas and "forgotten-identity" reads. It is also a book I'd suggest for readers looking for a uniquely Canadian setting and perspective.
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Sandra SG Wong:  In The Dark We Forget book review:

Thank You to Harper Collins, Canada, for an ARC of this book.

Closing the eyes and asking the darkness to reveal where you are and who you are.
There is no answer when the mind has shut down the reality that was born with
Unknown trauma.
The story tells the journey of a woman who has experienced unexplained memory
Loss.  She is taken to the RCMP, who in turn took her to the hospital to find out the
Severity of her injuries.

The situation that she is in, causes some behaviour manners that might not be her true
Reading and learning about cultures different from my own is interesting and eye opening. 
Chinese, and all Asian as well, have been discriminated and looked down, even in this story,
By some law officers.  
I am getting an impression that RCMP was not too eager to help Cleo in her case, except 
Aoki, who tried to follow the process set by the RCMP procedures.  I felt that she was not 
Happy that she could not do more for Cleo.
Cleo, an angry individual.  Brought up with parents who wanted the best for her, in a way that
Was emotionally damaging.  Belittling and complaining was Cleo’s experience of motherly love,
Which was not helped by the father.

All in all, this is an interesting story, and will make some adjustments in attitudes towards
Our fellow citizens.  Especially for those who do not necessarily fit the thoughts and manners of 
White generation.  We do have a lot to learn, and this story is a very good example of the differences in our society.  I recommend this book highly and have no problem giving 5 stars.
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Thank you Harper Collins Canada, Killer Crime Club  and Net Galley for the ARC of In The Dark We Forget. This book covers so many topics - a look into the Canadian Chinese community, domestic and workplace abuse, and LGBQT - all tied up as a psychological thriller. Approached from a different point of view, the protagonist has totally lost her memory. Lost memories, lost parents and the search for who she really is takes Cleo on a not so pleasant journey. Often dark and always questioning In The Dark We Forget takes us down a path most of us would not want to travel.
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Thank you very much to Harper Collins Canada for an advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  This is my very first ARC.  Overall I enjoyed the book.  I will not recap the synopsis as that can be easily found and read.

I loved the setting in Field, BC. I have been to Takkakaw Falls many times and I always stop to see the confluence and the spiral tunnels.  The story moved at a fast pace, which I always appreciate.  Wong has some social commentary throughout the book, which was all on point.  As far as it being a “thriller”, I’m not so sure as I didn’t believe Cleo, the protagonist, was in imminent danger.  I think it would qualify as more of a “mystery”.  There were several things in the story that requires suspended disbelief, for example the RCMP travelling from Kelowna to Edmonton, and Cleo’s relationship with Naomi (this was hard to accept).  Also, I had a tough time wrapping my head around Cleo not sharing the identity of her attacker when her memories came back, it took her approximately the last 1/3 of the book before she shared this information.  Wong ticked as many boxes as possible regarding the race of her characters (this pulled me out of the story) as well as ticking a few LGBTQ+ boxes.  The ending is ambiguous which is not the case for a traditional mystery.
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Thank you for the advanced copy

This book drew me in right from the start. It spoke of the family dynamics when you are an immigrant family and want to try to maintain your roots and yet live the western world

Was thrilled with all the Canadians references
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I’ve made it a priority this year to read more books written by Canadian authors. I’m excited to have found Sandra SG Wong, an up-and-coming Chinese-Canadian crime writer. Her most recent book, In The Dark We Forget, is listed on CBC’s Canadian fiction must-reads. 

Can you imagine waking up on the side of the road (yes, your cheek on the pavement!) on a deserted mountain highway, confused, alone and not knowing who or where you are? You have no wallet and no cell phone. 

After fighting to regain her memory, ‘Jane Doe’ discovers that her parents are missing after they’ve won $47 million in the lottery. Readers will follow this woman through every step of the process as she struggles to uncover details of her identity. 

I was hooked right from the beginning. Was it curiosity? A skilled writer? Both? Regardless, I followed along as if the woman in question was me and I was fighting to regain memories. I was clenching my teeth, sitting on my leg (and it was tingling from numbness), and oblivious to everything around me….completely absorbed in this tale! 

I loved that my hometown was mentioned in the book as well as many places that I’ve travelled to in my province. It was refreshing to read about a Chinese protagonist in a crime novel and I appreciated the nods to her culture, the tension-filled family dynamics, and the added stress a huge lottery win and mysterious disappearances brought to the narrative. Even as I settled down after the final twist and read the last sentence, I still wasn’t convinced that I knew what happened. This will be with me for quite some time and I’ll definitely read another book by this author. 

I was gifted this advance copy by Sandra SG Wong, HarperCollins Canada, and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.
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ARC Kindle Copy from Review from Net Galley, HarperCollins Canada and Killer Crime Club.

I received a free, advance copy of this book and this is my unbiased and voluntary review.

A woman wakes up with amnesia in a deserted mountain highway.  She is confused and alone as she tries to regain her memory as she soon remembers her parents disappeared after her mother won a huge lottery.  Is it coincidental or is it?

Slowly she starts to remember bit as she becomes afraid as nightmares start to consume her.   Soon she wonders if she should be afraid of herself instead.

A gripping turns of the page as we watch the intricate of family dynamics and the lies we tell.
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I want to thank NetGalley and Harper Collins for my eARC in exchange for my honest review. I loved the beginning, it held me through the middle, for me, it wrapped up way too quickly at the end.  I find that it was important to work in how we are brought up, the cultural differences affect us so much. Was this enough for what was billed a psychological thriller? Not for me.
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