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The Memory Key Hardcover – March 3, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Lora Mint's mother died in a car accident five years ago, and the pain of losing her hasn't diminished. Worse, Lora's memories of her are fading, even though she has a Memory Key, because the Keys aren't meant to preserve memories perfectly, just mimic the brain's ability to remember. Her mom was a top scientist at Keep Corp, the morally questionable company that developed Memory Keys to combat the widespread Alzheimer's-like Vergets Disease. After Lora's key begins malfunctioning, she suddenly has crystal-clear memories of her mother—memories that make the teen wonder whether the accident actually ended her mom's life. Now she must sort through her past to discover her mother's true fate, before Keep Corp fixes her Memory Key and takes away her perfect recall forever. Liu has crafted a relatively mild story with elements of mystery, corporate and government conspiracy, romance, and friendship. The narrative moves along at a quick enough pace that even reluctant readers will stay engaged. Lora is a mostly likable protagonist, though her emotional reactions sometimes feel out of step, and her BFF Wendy adds comic relief and a voice of reason. While plot points tend to work out a little too conveniently and the message about the importance of privacy borders on preachy, readers will be itching to reach the conclusion. Give this one to teens looking for suspense sprinkled with a little dystopia, lacking violence or mature content.—Kelsey Johnson-Kaiser, La Crosse Public Library, WI
“Paced like a spy thriller, this novel is a terrific read for reluctant female readers; they will identify with Lora and the terribly difficult choices she is confronted with.” (Booklist)
“A fast-paced mystery with a touch of romance.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA))
“Readers will be itching to reach the conclusion.” (School Library Journal)
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After reading some of the bad reviews that this novel received, I have a question for the general reading public: are you supposed to "like" a novel's main character? Are you supposed to find their actions or their treatment of others commendable, or similar to your own; are you supposed to "like" them? If your main criteria for deciding whether a book is worthy of reading or not is that you either do, or do not "connect" and "like" the main characters, just stop leaving reviews. Are there readers out there who are capable of reading critically? Ms. Mint is a spot on portrait of a certain type of teenaged girl. And no, I don't like her. Nor are you supposed to. Nor are you supposed to think she treats her beaus appropriately, or correctly. I mean, really?
Somewhat dystopian novel, following the story of a teenage girl as she deals with personal, ethical and emotional dilemmas. The Memory Key has very interesting and dynamic relationships between the main character and the people surrounding her. It creates a fascinating grey area in which nothing is quite as simple as one would like it to be.
There are some books that you just cannot connect with, no matter how much you try. Sadly The Memory Key is one I'll have to add to that list. No matter how much I tried to get into this story, to make myself care about the whiny brat of a MC, I couldn't. The city could have blown up in the end and killed off every last character but I probably would still have been yawning, desperately trying to muster up a few scraps of emotions to pretend like I gave a damn.
I never quite understood the point of this book. Lora, the MC (whose name I had to go and look up despite finishing this book only last night), seemed to randomly get the idea that her mother's car accident, and resulting death, was more than just an 'accident' and then just run with it. It was ridiculous and unbelievable, but Lora seemed to know more than the audience did and planned a million daring adventures to prove it. She clutched at straws and managed to pull all these amazing connections together despite the whole thing making no sense. I still don't get why the things that happened in this book actually happened or how. I still don't understand the need for so many lies and manipulation when it was, seemingly, a pretty hastily organised conspiracy that unraveled at the hands of a 17-year-old.
Not only that but I wanted this story to focus more about the dystopian world it was set in. A viral form of Alzheimer's called Vegrets has plagued the world and the cure to it is these devices known as memory keys - which are virtually chips in your brain that record memories and thus "cure" Vegrets. I loved this idea! I loved that it didn't seem too far off - because despite not believing that memory keys are our future, I like entertaining the idea that these dystopian worlds could possibly, one day, truly occur. Of course with the upgrade of technology comes further moral debates about the notions of privacy - similar even to what we are currently discussing in the contemporary world - so I loved that aspect of The Memory Key.
What I didn't love was the characters. Like I mentioned before, I never came to care about any of them. Lora, especially, was not the sort of character I admire. She seemed to always be angry at someone. I understand that her situation was less than ideal and she had a lot on her plate, but it doesn't give her the free pass to lie to her father, to scream at her best friend and call her a bitch, or do any of the other things she did. One of my biggest pet peeves in books is toxic friendships, and while I wouldn't quite label Lora and Wendy's friendship as 'toxic', Lora's inner monologue about Wendy's flaws and how much she hates her was enough to make me scream.
Oh, and the romance! Boy oh boy, do I need to say that love triangles do no work again? Well, actually I do. Liana Liu, love triangle do not work! I didn't like Tim or Raul. I didn't like the way that Lora treated either of them. I didn't like the way that Tim treated Lora. And while Raul was nice, we all knew he was a distraction and he really didn't need to be in the story.
Overall, my main problem with this book is how little I cared about it - the plot, the setting, the characters, the romance... *yawn*. Lora wasn't the MC for me. The love triangle was unnecessary. The dystopian setting could have done with some more fleshing out. This isn't something I'd recommend to anyone - even hardcore dystopian fans - and I don't look forward to the sequel, if there is to be one.
It is a Dystopian, but it doesn’t feel like a dystopia. It’s as if it could be happening in your town, with your family and friends.
As much as it is science fiction, it’s equally real. And this type of dystopia, the more believable one, scares the daylights out of me.
This world in The Memory key, a future world where a progressive form of Alzheimer’s has spread throughout most of the population and is only controlled with a device implanted inside your skull, is terrifying. It could happen. Something like this could happen today.
And that’s probably why I loved this book so much. It was realistic in a way that wasn’t overdone. It was subtly real.
Lora (LOVE HER NAME. OMG) is a likable character, even when it is hard to like her. She has some tough decisions to make and you just have to sit back and hope she makes the right choice.
Along with her father, her best friend, and an array of interesting characters, there is always something going on. It isn’t like other books I’ve read that have meaningless story fillers to pass the time between important events. Everything was important events. It all mattered.
I love all the flashbacks, even though sometimes it was hard to tell that Lora was having a flashback.
I loved that the romance wasn’t the main focus. It was backstage to the main event, and that’s okay.
I got caught up in the politics and the medical world and needed to figure out the mystery!
A quick, easy read that definitely made me think outside of the box. The Memory Key isn’t something I will forget for a long time. As interesting as it is puzzling, this is a book to pass on to everyone!
Most recent customer reviews
Quick & Dirty: Yet another dystopian read centered on a corrupt government with hidden agendas.Read more