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The Forgetting, by Sharon Cameron: Review

In the city of Canaan, seemingly peaceful life is overshadowed by the Forgetting—the terrifying phenomenon every twelve years in which everyone loses all memory of who they are. To the people of Canaan, memory is everything. They record their lives in the books they carry with them at all times so that, after the Forgetting, they may continue from where their pasts ended. Those without books are without memories. Those without memories are nothing.

Nadia the Dyer's Daughter is different. For her, memory carries a very different weight. As she challenges the laws by venturing beyond the walls and forging an alliance with Gray the Glassblower's Son, Nadia's desire for answers guides her closer to the truth: that the city of Canaan is not natural . . . and neither is the Forgetting.

This is an interesting and absorbing science-fiction/fantasy/dystopian read. The primitive, "pre-tech" setting has a fantasy feel—characters wear tunics, write with pen and ink, and go by such quaint, medieval names as Nadia the Dyer's Daughter, or Gray the Glassblower's Son. The dystopian element is a really intriguing plot layer—a city confined by walls with no origin, a council of leaders with a suspicious agenda, not to mention the "Forgetting" that occurs every twelve years and facilitates chaos, confusion, and unseen corruption. The story gets rolling quickly and keeps rolling to the end, building speed as it goes in keeping with Sharon Cameron's skillful style.

Content Notes: As far as mainstream YA fiction goes, The Forgetting is on the cleaner side of the spectrum, with no explicit profanity or sex, and positive emphasis on truth and family. One sentence near the end reveals a male character's unrequited feelings for another; innuendo is scattered throughout along with some passionate kisses, one of which is almost taken too far before the characters consciously restrain themselves—more than can be said for a lot of mainstream YA, so . . . 3 1/2 stars out of 5!

Overall, I was locked into this story from beginning to end and enjoyed sampling more of Sharon Cameron's vibrant, intricate work.

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