Published July 12, 2016
St. Martin’s Press
Wow!! This was a fantastic book. It gets all five stars! And if I could steal some stars from somewhere I would give it even more!
I really don’t even know where to start with this one. It’s one of those books that makes you think hard about everything you are reading. Quite often I can read a book and my mind will be on other things while still enjoying the story. But not with this book. I was focused on everything I was reading.
However, there are some parts that were extremely emotional and disturbing to read. I did have to put the book down a time or two especially when reading about the details of the attack. Although it was upsetting and there was a lot of detail, I didn’t feel like the author was trying to sensationalize anything. It was graphic but I really feel the author just wanted to try to show the reader what Jenny went through.
After she was brutally attacked at a party, Fifteen-year-old Jenny Kramer undergoes an experimental treatment that is supposed to rid her of memories of the night she was attacked. However, this doesn’t work at all like the doctors, Jenny and her family hoped it would.
There will be unexpected consequences for everyone involved….
**There may possibly be some very minor spoilers ahead**
The treatment has to be given within hours of the trauma for it to be effective. The parents are told that every minute that passes can reduce the effectiveness. This doesn’t give the family very much time to think things over, let alone speak to a psychiatrist or anyone else for more information or a second opinion.
At first, Jenny’s parents don’t agree on whether or not to give her the treatment. However, her mother pushes for it and her father eventually gives in. Because the treatment has to be done right away, it causes concern for the police and her father. Because if Jenny has no memory of what happened, she won’t possibly be able to help the police find who did this to her.
“if she couldn’t remember, how could she help them find this creature? How could she help put him behind bars, where he would get what he deserved?”
Jenny’s parents had been told it was a miracle treatment – to have the most horrible trauma erased from your mind. This did not end up being the miracle for Jenny. Unfortunately it didn’t completely rid her of the emotional and physiological memory of the assault. So what was removed from her mind lived on in her body and soul. Causing horrible depression and anxiety.
Dr. Alan Forrester is a psychiatrist that the family hires to help Jenny regain her traumatic memories, to return what was taken away by the drug. This psychiatrist works with other patients who have suffered after undergoing the so-called “miracle treatment”. He also runs a support group for these patients.
While the psychiatrist works with Jenny, her family begins to unravel. Her father feels that he failed as he was not there to protect her. He becomes crazed with trying to find out who did this to her. Police don’t have a lot to go on and the mother is dealing with things in her own way. It was very interesting to see how this all played out among the family.
There’s a lot going on in this novel but I found it was easy to keep up. Though we don’t know who the narrator is for the first while, there are some good clues and so when we find out who it is, it’s not a compete surprise.
I can’t imagine being given the opportunity to literally erase an event from my memory, traumatic or otherwise. I have no idea how I would react….unless I was in a position where it would be an option. I feel that prior to reading this book if I had suffered a horrible trauma I may have jumped at the opportunity. But honestly after reading this book, I’m not so sure.
But I can also understand the pull. A pill that can make you forget something so horrific? A pill……instead of years in therapy. It might sound good at first. But I guess we should know by now that nothing is that simple. Trauma cannot be cured by taking a pill. But when a doctor is telling you that it will work, that it has to be done now or never? It might be a very difficult decision to make. I’m sure I would desperately want to believe it would work.
This book had quite a few OMG moments, that I did not see coming. Of course I had some ideas about what was going on and what had happened but for the most part I was way off. Some moments snuck up on me, leaving me stunned. But I would eventually gather my thoughts eager to get back to the story to see what was going to happen next.
Very well written, this was a great psychological suspense novel. With an amazing plot and great characters. I was hooked from the start right up until the very satisfying ending. I can’t wait to read more from Wendy Walker.
***The author does clarify in her note that the drug treatment in the book does not currently exist (entirely). Scientists have in fact used drugs to successfully alter memories and alleviate the emotional impact with similar drugs and therapies described in this book. They are still looking for a drug to erase the memories completely. Originally intended to potentially help soldiers with things like PTSD. However, apparently it has already made its way into the civilian world. And as the author says it’s likely extremely controversial.
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