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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Review: Notes to Self by Avery Sawyer

Be sure to check out my interview with Avery Sawyer/Laura Schaefer and enter to win your own copy of Notes to Self HERE

TITLE: Notes to Self                           AUTHOR: Avery Sawyer
PUB DATE: 11/20/11                        FORMAT: ebook
SOURCE: from author in exchange for my honest review

Two climbed up. Two fell down.
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.

THREE WORDS: Powerful, Beautiful, Touching

MY REVIEW: When I first began Notes to Self by Avery Sawyer, I never imagined how deeply and profoundly this book would end up moving me, but it did.

One windy night in Florida, 15 year old BFF’s Robin and Emily climb up an amusement park ride and end up falling. Robin wakes up, Emily doesn’t. Suffering from a brain injury, Robin has trouble remembering even the most basic things and cannot recall what happened the night of the accident, no matter how hard she tries. Returning to her “regular” life proves difficult as Robin is consumed with guilt over the fact that Emily remains in a coma and is ostracized by her peers. With only her friend Reno, her mother, and the notes she writes to herself to rely on, Robin must figure out just what happened that night and uncovers a few surprising truths she never expected.

I’ve found that the less Contemporary Fiction I read, the more it takes to impress me when it comes to this genre…well, Notes to Self has definitely impressed. Sawyer has written a breath-taking, heart-breaking, thought-provoking story.

Told from Robin’s perspective, Notes to Self is perfectly paced and executed. Being told from Robin’s perspective allows the reader to intimately and intrinsically experience the story being told.

Robin’s emotional journey throughout this book is so wonderfully written and explored. The emotions are palpable and believable, never overwhelming or not enough. There’s something absolutely stunning in the way Sawyer has infused so much humor, captivating heartache, beauty, and pain into one quick read.

Robin may be the main character, but her story isn't the only one being told. Sawyer has given life and a voice to the other characters as well, creating a very layered story.
Notes to Self will take you on a very emotional and powerful journey and will leave you thoughtful and hopeful.

Sawyer's characters are wonderfully compelling and realistic. Robin is easy to like and connect with. She's an engaging mix of vulnerable, smart, guarded, strong, and independent yet needy. She's very much stuck in that fragile place between desperately wanting to truly find oneself and simply terrified of what one may find, and Sawyer explores this with honesty and relatability. As a character, Robin grows and matures naturally and captivatingly so.

Emily and Reno make for two very different best friends. Reno is an easy character to like and fall for; he's sweet and genuine. We meet Emily briefly in the beginning of the book, but really only get to know her through Robin's memories, yet she's still a very dimensional and layered character.

Robin's mother is as equally compelling as her daughter. I love that her own emotional story and journey is not ignored or eclipsed by her daughter’s.

Relationships play an important role in this book. Robin really seems to define herself based on her relationships with other people- her mom, Emily, Reno, even her dad- and I was fascinated by how well this was explored. Each of these separate, yet connected relationships give readers a different, yet equally important, glimpse into who Robin is.
There is romance in this book, but I don’t want to give anything away. I will say that the romance is well written, believable, and not insta-love.

MY FINAL THOUGHTS: I loved this book! Notes to Self is a powerful and captivating book that will impress and move readers. A MUST read!

5/5 Cupcakes

Find the author: Website / Goodreads / Twitter 


Jackie M. said...

Oh, this sounds great! I'm the same way with contemporary stuff. I don't read it very often, but it seems like every time I do that I am blown away. Great review!

Kate @ Ex Libris said...

I'll add this to my list - great review!