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Before reading From What I Remember by Stacy Kramer and Valerie Thomas I didn’t know too much about it other than it was like The Hangover but for the YA crowd. I really liked The Hangover so I was intrigued. From the start of the prologue I was hooked, entertained and really curious to see how the characters got to that point. From What I Remember is mostly the story of Max and Kylie with some additions of their friends Will, Lily, and Charlie. With the perspective changing from chapter to chapter between Max, Kylie, Will, Lily and Jake.
Now if you know anything about me you know that I love books with multiple POVs. I just love getting into the heads of various characters and learning the full story. But with From What I Remember I think the story would have been better told if it had just been from Max and Kylie’s POV…especially since we spent most of the book in their heads with the others appearing sporadically and those moments didn’t do a ton to move the plot forward. Especially when we switched to Jake, Kylie’s brother. I really didn’t understand what he had to do with anything in the story. I get that as Kylie’s younger brother he was important in her family unit and helped shape her into the Type A personality that she was but his POV chapters just took me out of the story every time so I was glad they were always pretty short.
But when the story was about Max and Kylie I was in love. I really enjoyed seeing those two get to know each other even though their characters were such a cliche. The popular boy and the loner girl and how both have assumptions on how the other should behave and just how wrong they are. Its a plot seen over and over in many mediums and while it should be old and stale by this point it wasn’t. At least not in Kramer and Thomas’s version of the old story. I was really cheering Max and Kylie on which is so odd for me since the whole time Max had a girlfriend, Lily, and you know how I am not a fan of people who cheat. So I think that this book might have put a spell on me or something. I also enjoyed the scenes we had with Kylie’s friend Will. He was fun and witty and really was a boost that Kylie needed in order to live her life rather than bury her nose in responsibility. Though I still stand by what I said above and don’t think that we needed to see inside his head.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The pacing was solid and everything progressed at a believable pace despite the fact that the main events in this book take place over just a couple of days. The only issue I had with pacing was towards the end when Charlie and Lily head to Mexico….first it seems to take them no time at all to get from La Jolla to Enscenada (they leave around 5:30 and if I’m recalling correctly arrive around 6:30) and that doesn’t match with the google maps time of how far apart the two cities were (yes I googled it, i’m a nerd like that). Then the gang leaves around 7:30/8 and it takes them hours and hours to get to border? I don’t know it just all didn’t mesh inside of my head. Yes, I know there was THAT scene at the end but I don’t see it taking as much time as was lost…but maybe it did and I’m being far to critical. I get like that sometimes…its a flaw.
But the whole timing thing is really more my own personal issue and really doesn’t take away from the overall fun on the book. Once I sat down to read the pages just flew on by and it had me laughing and getting all heart achey at all the right moments. Kramer and Thomas really know how to write an engaging contemporary story and I am really looking forward to their next book. This is a book that I would recommend to any who like adventure and road trip books or books about self-discovery and friendship. From What I Remember might seem like a fluff sort of book on the surface but like an iceberg there is more to it below the surface then you can first see with the eye. So if you haven’t read this one yet then you’ll want to add it to your wishlist. You won’t regret it.