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.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.