Welp, I found another book people love for no reason! But this one isn’t just boring, it’s irritatingly stupid! Oh, and there’s depression and stuff in here, and it’s handled poorly. Yaaaaaaay!
(Note: Before we begin, I just want to point out that I don’t mean any harm towards those who are dealing or have dealt with depression in their lives. This book is just…you’ll see.)
Once again, I got sucked into this little gem because the description on the back cover looked promising. I really need to stop that.
In this case, if you believe the back of this book, you’re in for a story about people living in a society where some…therapy corporation thing (it’s very vague and has Unnecessary Capitalization) is taking people’s memories away. So these teens have to escape it, and it’s generally exciting-sounding. Well, at least it was to me in 2014.
That is not what actually happens in the book.
We start out with our heroine, Smalltown McReferencename. See, this story is set in Oregon or California or somewhere I don’t care enough to remember, so a bunch of characters have first/last names that are obvious references to towns in Oregon or California. This becomes glaringly obvious to anyone who has ever driven down the I-5 or even looked at it on a map.
Anyway, she’s sitting in her math class when this very emo girl starts talking to her. Then suddenly, BAM, therapy corporation thing (hereafter abbreviated as TCT) people come in and take the emo girl away. For you see, emoness is a disease in this world, and when a person becomes too emo, TCT people come in and take away their memories. Well, for people under 18, that is. Because apparently when you turn 18, your emoness magically disappears! MAYBE IT’S JUST TEENAGE ANGST AND PEOPLE ARE MAKING A BIG DEAL OUT OF NOTHING!!! DO YOU GUYS THINK THAT COULD BE IT?!?!?!?!
(To be fair, the book mentions that it’s also because of legal issues, but I somehow remember the second book ignoring that part. Because this is a trilogy. And I have the misfortune of owning the first and second books. Joy.)
Also, to these people, crying automatically means you want to kill yourself. I know Inside Out hadn’t come out yet when this book got published, but seriously? It’s healthy to cry. It lets you express your emotions without having to resort to self-harm or anything like that. In fact, between this book and Teardrop, you could even make the case that NOT crying drives you to emoness!
Onto the actual plot. Main girl’s ex-best friend came back from TCT and now she doesn’t remember anyone. So main girl, her irritating asshole of a boyfriend, and ex-BFF’s ex-BF all go to meet her, even though they know this will make TCT suspicious. As we will end up seeing many times over the course of this book, these characters have the “survival” instincts of lemmings. Sigh.
Ex-BFF obviously doesn’t recognize them, her ex-BF becomes emo and eventually commits suicide, and during all of this, we’re treated to one of the world’s shittiest romances between the main girl and her boyfriend. Most conversations between them go like this:
MG: “OMG! I DON’T WANT TCT TO MAKE US FORGET ABOUT EACH OTHER!”
BF: “Sure. I won’t let that happen. Yup, this totally isn’t thinly-veiled foreshadowing. What would make you think that?”
MG: “YAY! LET’S MAKE OUT/HAVE SEX NOW!”
Oh, and if you’re not convinced this book is emo yet, the boyfriend has a whole list of names tattooed on his arm. These are the names of various dead people he knew, including the main girl’s brother. And then when ex-BF guy dies, the boyfriend adds HIS name…by carving it into his arm with a knife. Because he couldn’t find any ink. Gee, I wonder if this couple will make it out okay by the end of this book.
As you could probably tell by the THRILLING plot twist I just presented to you last paragraph, the boyfriend goes emo. This results in him scribbling instead of doing actual homework, because all emo people do that. At this rate, I’d even expect Untitled by Simple Plan to be in there. Seriously, could you get a little more stereotypical?
The main girl wants to protect this asshole no matter what, so she tries to cover his emoness up. Meanwhile, she herself is dealing with being melodramatic. Example: She purposely burns herself on the stove just so she can cry in front of her parents. And her reaction? “OH, HEY! I LIKE THIS! IT’S A NICE CHANGE OF PACE FROM ALL THE PAIN IN MY LIFE!”
Please. Angst harder. Because this book clearly didn’t have enough of that.
Asshole boyfriend eventually gets taken away. Instead of rejoicing like many normal people, main girl decides to be emo enough for both of them. She skips school to drive around and stuff, then tries to drown herself or something like that. Hey, girl? Whatever happened to doing everything in your power to not get taken away by the good ol’ TCT? You don’t even have all that much time until you turn 18, which you pointed out to us at the beginning of the book. I get that you’re upset about your boyfriend, but you’ll move on from him. You’re a teenager. This is normal.
Then the TCT comes to take the main girl away, which she’s somehow surprised about, probably because she doesn’t seem to have many brain cells. I’m just surprised that it took so long for them to go after her. And then they only happened to do that because her parents stepped in and called!
We end Part 1 of this book (because there are multiple parts, you know) with the main girl stuck with TCT due to her own stupidity. Congratulations, girl! The one thing you absolutely didn’t want to have happen just did! GOOD FOR YOU.
I guess I should clarify something quickly here… This girl’s logic is mind-boggling. She doesn’t seem to want to die, but she doesn’t want her memories to be erased, but she doesn’t want to go through the effort of keeping up appearances so she doesn’t get taken away. And because all adults are one-dimensional and bad in this story (oh hey, maybe that’s why they’re never emo), she can’t go talk to anyone, which I guess I should be blaming the TCT for and not the girl, but whatever. Or maybe we should blame everything on the crappy writing and call it a day!
Part 2 involves the main girl being drugged to oblivion so she loses her memories. Also, there’s something about sexual assault in there, because of course there is. And the second love triangle guy shows up, because of course there’s a love triangle, too! This guy has a stupid name! And he’s vague! And the book can’t decide whether or not he’s evil! Yay! Oh, and everyone at TCT is obsessed with the main girl’s relationship with her asshole (ex-?)boyfriend! BECAUSE OF COURSE THEY ARE.
Honestly, I completely skipped Part 2 when I reread this thing (come to think of it, WHY did I decide to do that?) because I just remember it being so BORING.
Moving on to Part 3! Main girl has lost all her memories of who she was before, she has a TCT guy “assigned” to follow her around like a stalker, and everyone’s drugging her, because drugs are the solution to everything!
only they’re not Her wardrobe has also been replaced with stereotypical “preppy” gear. TCT does this to all their patients. And this, my friends, is why you do not use My Immortal as a legitimate source for what depression is like.
Main girl goes to the place all TCT victims hang out, and she immediately befriends the girl who was her ex-BFF in the first part. This girl is dating a guy she used to date before the ex-BF from Part 1. The main girl also almost gets (back) together with a guy SHE used to date before asshole boyfriend, only for said asshole to show up. Hmm, I don’t remember there being a giant neon sign with flashing lights that read “PLOT CONVENIENCE!!!”, but I might have missed that little part. Who knows?
Anyway, main girl feels a “connection” (read: insta-love) with good ol’ asshole, but he’s described as being a “troublemaker” and could get her sent back to TCT for more memory loss. Because in case you forgot, every single person in this book is obsessed with this couple’s relationship!!!
The next several chapters alternate between main girl discovering things the audience already knows and main girl sneaking off to make out with asshole boyfriend again. Snore. Oh, and there might be a subplot with vaguely maybe-evil guy and some miracle pill that restores memories, but who cares about that? Let’s have MORE asshole boyfriend in here!
The book ends with some cliffhanger about our happy couple driving away from TCT, which they couldn’t do in the first part for some reason! I’m not entirely sure why, but maybe it had to do with their extreme emoness!
So yeah. If you want a story involving the real effects depression can have on people, this is not the book for you. If you want a story with a creepy dystopia that still seems realistic in our world, this is not the book for you. If you want My Immortal in actual book form, only with better grammar and as a YA dystopia novel instead of a Harry Potter fanfic, you’ve found it! 😀
Other specific idiocies in this book include the lack of logic employed throughout the story, the sheer amount of things that happened due to plot convenience (NOBODY CARES ABOUT YOUR “TRUE LOVE” WITH THAT DICKHEAD, YOU IDIOT), and the fact that a program that was anything like the one in the book would actually catch on. Because it did. And in a stupidly short amount of time, too. Did I forget to mention that? Oh, silly me…
Also, if you guys like my book rants, please let me know. I doubt I’ll be making them a regularly-scheduled thing, but I’ll be sure to keep that in mind whenever I come across a particularly special little gem like this one.