The Memory Jar is a book about secrets. Secrets that could potentially ruin the life of the seventeen-year-old narrator. It is told in a non-linear format, jumping between the past and the present as the narrator tries to piece together what happened to her and her boyfriend. Taylor and Scott are the picture perfect teen couple. Then an accident on a snowmobile changes everything. Scott is in a coma and Taylor cannot remember the entire events of the day. She knows she is pregnant and now has an engagement ring; but she is not sure if she is happy about either.
The plot of The Memory Jar had a lot of potential – teen pregnancy, a terrible accident, a coma boyfriend and more. However it tried to throw in too many other elements such as a weird girl and mysterious text messages. The writing seemed chopped up at times, as the sentences and chapters were very short. It seemed to hamper the plot as it did not flow well. The pacing was very good, it encompassed a few days well and I did enjoy the non-linear story telling. Elissa Janine Hoole can really build a world. Full of sensory touches, I could feel the cold and the vibrations of the snowmobile. The emotions were a little flat to me. Taylor skipped around so much with what she wanted and how she felt that there was no real cohesion to the emotional arc. The characters varied wildly. I really liked Scott’s little brother, as he was a great connector of tidbits of emotions and people. Taylor was so all over the place it was hard to connect with her. The mothers were fine but added little to the story, and the addition of a college friend of Scott’s was just not a good match. She did not seem to fit the rest of the story and seemed to be there just to add one more plot twist that was not needed.
The Memory Jar had potential, it just fell a little flat to me. In areas that could have had a great deal of tension, there was none, and other areas had too much trying to happen at once. Elissa Janine Hoole can create a very real world and that helped me enjoy a plot that seemed thrown together at times. With short chapters, multiple narrators and the non-linear timeline, The Memory Jar attempted to mix too many writing devices together to create tension and instead it created a mishmash of ideas. Now, The Memory Jar was not a bad book, it just could have been much better with some more focus.
I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.