Each night at precisely 4:33 am, while sixteen-year-old London Lane is asleep, her memory of that day is erased. In the morning, all she can "remember" are events from her future. London is used to relying on reminder notes and a trusted friend to get through the day, but things get complicated when a new boy at school enters the picture. Luke Henry is not someone you'd easily forget, yet try as she might, London can't find him in her memories of things to come.
When London starts experiencing disturbing flashbacks, or flash-forwards, as the case may be, she realizes it's time to learn about the past she keeps forgetting-before it destroys her future.
Haunting, compelling, and a bit bizarre, Cat Patrick's first novel put me very much in mind of the Wake trilogy. London is used to dealing with her strange quirk, and apparently seeing the future is enough to explain to her each day why she remembers nothing of her past. Every night she makes notes about the day and reminders for the next day, because her "memories" are all of things that haven't happened yet.
So what does it mean that she doesn't "remember" Luke from the future, even though her notes say they've met?
The timeline aspect of this novel is a mind-trip. Please see the previous paragraph - there's no easy way to explain chain-of-events when the reader knows only what has happened, and London knows only what will happen (plus whatever reminders she's left herself), and neither knows exactly what is happening! Okay, that last part isn't strictly true, but watching London unravel the mystery of her "memories" and the condition that caused them definitely takes an open mind.
And for that, I really enjoyed reading it. I began by saying it reminds me of Wake, just because of the surreality of knowing what shouldn't be known. Forgotten has that same disconnected feeling, and I couldn't put it down because I was so caught up in that world.
My only reservation has to do with London's character, and only because I can't quite imagine what knowing the future is like: London takes on faith of her notes that Luke matters to her. She can't "remember" him existing tomorrow, or next week, or next year. Which means every day she basically meets him anew...she doesn't even know what he looks like before she's seen him or a picture of him! (Fifty First Dates, anyone?) Anyway, it was just a small questioning for me, and it's really only there because of the amazing premise of the novel. So not that big a deal.
The Final Word: Prepare for a crazy ride and don't plan on putting it down.