If Naomi had picked tails, she would have won the coin toss. She wouldn’t have had to go back for the yearbook camera, and she wouldn’t have hit her head on the steps. She wouldn’t have woken up in an ambulance with amnesia. She certainly would have remembered her boyfriend, Ace. She might even have remembered why she fell in love with him in the first place. She would understand why her best friend, Will, keeps calling her “Chief.” She’d know about her mom’s new family. She’d know about her dad’s fiancée. She never would have met James, the boy with the questionable past and the even fuzzier future, who tells her he once wanted to kiss her. She wouldn’t have wanted to kiss him back.
But Naomi picked heads.
While it is populated by some somewhat American High-School staple characters, her best friend for instance, is a bit on the wacky/geeky side, her main love interests are a ‘jock’ and a ‘bad boy’ (at least suspected of being), but they are genuinely likable people, and bring so much more to the story than their stereotypes, and the ending (whilst I won’t spoil it here) is hardly the most original and most readers will see it coming – possibly even cheer for it. (But here again, Zevin, makes it work, by leaving it ambiguous enough that the reader can decide for themselves, exactly what happens).
But, it’s not the destination, that matters here, this is about identity and the journey Naomi takes as she comes to terms with what she was ‘was’, ‘is’, and ‘will be’, essentially, deciding whether to either piece together her old identity or recreate another. Of course, what happens is a mixture of the two, and then her full memories come back…
Ultimately, I didn’t find it a 5 star read (I never felt it was un-putdownable), however it was one in which I still spent a very enjoyable Sunday afternoon reading, and after turning the final page, I could set it to one side and say, “Yeah, I enjoyed that.”
Buy, Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac, from Amazon.