Title: In the Hope of Memories
Author: Olivia Rivers
Publisher: Red Sparrow Press
Pub Date: March 16, 2016
Format: Kindle eBook
Genre(s): YA, Contemporary
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Synopsis from Goodreads:
Right before dying of a rare heart condition, Hope Jackson sets up a scavenger hunt across New York City using her graffiti art. The directions she leaves her four closest friends are simple: Solve the clues hidden in her art, and they’ll solve the problems haunting their lives.
Together, the four teens take to the streets of New York to complete Hope’s scavenger hunt and fulfill her dying wishes. But in order to unravel the clues hidden in Hope’s graffiti, her friends will have to confront their personal demons head on.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
“She gave me the same thing she’s always given me. Hope.”
I’m a little over the scavenger hunt trope in YA books, but I had some hope (pun intended) for this story. The scavenger hunt was a great way to bring together the lives/stories of such different people who were all suffering in their own way. It made sense to give them all a common goal to work towards, while each had to confront their own personal demons to get there. I just wasn’t a huge fan of how it was all executed.
In a sense, I really appreciated that each character had so much conflict going on in their lives. It’s chaotic… but it’s also realistic. That being said, it was a tad bit dramatic (and quite difficult) to read about several characters with chaotic lives. As an empath, this story was emotionally draining. I was feeling so much for each person’s plight, that there was nothing left of me to feel anything for the actual story. Does that make sense? I hope it does.
Regardless, I really love the author’s writing style. In fact, it’s quite similar to how I write my own stories, so I think that played a huge part in how much I enjoyed reading it. It was conversational, fast-paced, and did a good job of portraying the many different perspectives involved.
Like I said earlier, there was a lot going on but it was all very important. I won’t go into detail about each person (because wow, you might as well read the book yourself if you want to dig deeper into the drama) but I will talk about my favourites–namely Aiden and Sam. Aiden is a gem. He is honest, earnest, and so easy to care for. Sam, like Sam says, is just Sam. And I love them for that. You don’t come across non-binary characters often.
This might be an unpopular opinion but Hope was my least favourite character (even though she’s dead and all). I just couldn’t understand the purpose of her character being put on such a high pedestal. In the first couple of pages we learn that she was incredibly talented, incredibly beautiful, incredibly kind, destined for great things… it was like she was this omnipresent golden child that ruled all of their lives–even more so through this scavenger hunt. Apparently there was nothing wrong with her except for the fact that she was burdened with an incurable illness that eventually took her life at a devastatingly young age. It was so extra. Something about that didn’t sit right with me. But like I said, I’m sure it’s an unpopular opinion.
All in all, I know many readers will enjoy this book. The writing is great, the premise has a lot of potential, and the character development is spot on. However, the teen angst was too much. I felt like I was watching every single episode of a teen drama in one sitting. Imagine five seasons worth of drama crammed into one episode. That’s the best way I can describe it. Anyway, I love me some angst, but this was just too many sad stories wrapped up into one. I hope you love it more than I did.