Title: Notes to Self
Author: Avery Sawyer
Release date: November 2011
Genre: Contemporary YA
Two climbed up. Two fell down.My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
One woke up.
In the aftermath of a traumatic brain injury, Robin Saunders has to relearn who she is and find out what happened the night everything changed.
I was pleasantly surprised by Notes to Self! To say I had low expectations for this book would be an understatement, since I'd heard absolutely nothing about it and, even though I feel bad about, I'm always a little wary of self-published books. And even though it's far from perfect, I ended up really enjoying Notes to Self!
I loved the characters in Notes to Self - they're what make everything work. I loved Robin from the first page on. She's easy to relate to, and seeing how helpless she is after the accident is heartbreaking. Robin's best friend Emily is a good character, too - I didn't like her as a person, but I really liked reading about her. Robin and Emily's relationship is so interesting to read about - I love complex friendship stories like this one! Then there's the romance. The romance is cute, but I appreciate that the author didn't try to turn it into the main focus. I also loved the family dynamics - they're unique and interesting to read about as well.
The mystery aspect of trying to figure out what happened is also great. The brain-injury aspect is only okay, though, in my opinion. I found some of what Robin remembers and what she doesn't remember a little too convenient. The little details that are unnecessary for the story, like how to shower or how to open her locker, Robin doesn't remember, but she does remember every little thing about the characters - she can explain to us who's who, because otherwise the reader wouldn't understand the story. I get why the author made these choices, since she needs to show somehow that Robin lost parts of her memory but the readers still needs to get the story, but I just thought that was a little too convenient to be realistic.
***This paragraph is a little spoiler-y!***
I'm not a fan of the ending. At all. I'm sorry, but I don't like happy endings when they're forced. I want the story to develop in a natural way - a sad ending or a happy ending or an open ending all work, as long as it fits the story and is realistic. But the ending in Notes to Self does not develop naturally and does not feel realistic. I'm just not a fan of happy endings that seem forced, and that's the case in Notes to Self.
If you're worried about Notes to Self not being well-edited because it's self-published (like I was), don't be. The copy-editing is just as good as it is in any published book.
Notes to Self is a sweet coming-of-age story with some unique survivor's guilt and mystery aspects. It's a quick, enjoyable read that I ended up liking a lot more than I'd expected!