I Know You Remember by Jennifer Donaldson
Publication Date: October 8th 2019
Genre: YA / Thriller /Psychological thriller
Jennifer Donaldson is back with another twisted thriller perfect for fans of One of Us Is Lying and Gone Girl.
Zahra Gaines is missing.
After three long years away, Ruthie Hayden arrives in her hometown of Anchorage, Alaska to this devastating news. Zahra was Ruthie’s best friend–the only person who ever really understood her–and she vows to do whatever it takes to find her.
Zahra vanished from a party just days before Ruthie’s return, but the more people she talks to, the more she realizes that the Zahra she knew disappeared long before that fateful night. Gone is the whimsical, artistic girl who loved books and knew Ruthie’s every secret. In her place is an athlete, a partier, a girl with secrets of her own. Darker still are the rumors that something happened to Zahra while Ruthie was gone, something that changed her forever…
As Ruthie desperately tries to piece together the truth, she falls deeper and deeper into her friend’s new world, circling closer to a dangerous revelation about what Zahra experienced in the days before her disappearance–one that might be better off buried.
In her stunning follow-up to Lies You Never Told Me, Jennifer Donaldson once again delivers a propulsive thriller with a masterful twist, skillfully creating a world where nothing is quite as it seems.
*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to PRHGlobal for free copy. ***
I Know You Remember was suspenseful YA thriller that revolved around Ruthie and her lost best friend Zahra. It was about obsession, dysfunctional family, abusive parents and their addiction issues, friendship and jealousy.
Writing was addictive, it pulled me into story right from the beginning. Setting was fabulous. The story had that sad, heavy darkness hanging over it all the time and Alaska’s cold weather, trails through wilds and stories of predator attacks heightened those feelings. I loved that dark fantasy characters wrote in the book. That fanfiction story, Starmaiden and Lyr characters and bits of the world was fascinating.
Book was first person narrative told from Ruth’s POV. Her voice was believable, it felt real, made me see all characters the way she wanted. It started with Ruth at her mother’s funeral who died in hiking accident. She decide to go back to her hometown, Anchorage, to her dad’s home. She left the town 3 years ago after her parents’ divorce because of her alcoholic father. But now he was sober, married, and only relative left. On arriving back, she tried to contact her best friend Zahra all through weekends but couldn’t even find her at her home. I kind of felt sorry for Ruth and then on Monday, school announced terrible new, Zahra was missing.
Things turned dark and uncertain soon and fast. Ruth felt so much change in Zahra’s room at her home and personality. The Zahra people were talking about was not the same she knew. It was scary to see a drastic change in girl going from kind and lively to aloof and caught up in teen drama. I was worried for Zahra. I kept thinking what might have happened to her to cause this change, what happened to her after party, where she went and who might have hurt her. I was worried for Ruth who not just lost her mother but her best friend.
Ruth was determined and fierce girl, obsessed to find Zahra. And so she friendship with Zahra’s friends and tried to get to know people she was connected with. Tabitha, Zahra’s now best friend, was never sober. She was this rich and bitch girl who mostly lived alone in big house. Ben, Zahra’s ex-boyfriend, was volatile, popular guy but not everybody liked him. They had big fight the night she disappeared. There was rumor Zahra was cheating and then there was her grandfather, a famous pastor who was misogynist. No single character was reliable and likable except Ingrid. She surprised me. She was brave, smart, caring, and protective step-sister of Ruth. Though I didn’t appreciate her blind belief, she was most likable person in the book.
There were many elements in story– PTSD, social anxiety, drug and alcohol addicted parents, their ill-treatments and its effects on kids’ mentality and psychology, exploitation of religion and using it to gain power and control. All the big serious topic that gave so much to discuss over. I blame parents here for the all wrong thing happened in the book.
Climax was most interesting. Once I got to know characters, I knew where this story was heading. I had my guesses and when I reached climax, bingo. I thought I would give it 4 star because I could figure it all out at some point, but then came most shocking twist. I read in some reviews saying it felt like author decided to change the end all of sudden but I feel it was a clever. I felt like why I even tried to guess who the real culprit was! I couldn’t have guessed that twist. End was satisfactory but still mind-boggling.
Overall, it was gripping, thrilling, page-turner with brilliant twist and amazing setting. I surely recommend this book.
What do you think about the book and review? Have you read this book already or any book by the same author? Have you read YA thriller? Which one is favorite in this genre?
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