The Memory Trees
Author: Kali Wallace
Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal
Release Date: October 10, 2017
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
The Memory Trees is a dark magical realism novel about a mysterious family legacy, a centuries-old feud, and a tragic loss that resurfaces when sixteen-year-old Sorrow returns to her mother’s family orchard for the summer.
Sorrow Lovegood’s life has been shaped by the stories of the women who came before her: brave, resilient women who settled long ago on a mercurial apple orchard in Vermont. The land has been passed down through generations, and Sorrow and her family take pride in its strange history. Their offbeat habits may be ridiculed by other townspeople — especially their neighbors, the Abrams family — but for the first eight years of her life, the orchard is Sorrow’s whole world.
Then one winter night everything changes. Sorrow’s sister Patience is tragically killed. Their mother suffers a mental breakdown. Sorrow is sent to live with her dad in Miami, away from the only home she’s ever known.
Now sixteen, Sorrow’s memories of her life in Vermont are maddeningly hazy; even the details of her sister’s death are unclear. She returns to the orchard for the summer, determined to learn ore about her troubled childhood and the family she left eight years ago. Why has her mother kept her distance over the years? What actually happened the night Patience died?
Is the orchard trying to tell her something, or is she just imagining things?
The Memory Trees is a fascinating new young adult novel full of magical realism and fantasy. The story may not be wholly unique, but the author adds in wonderful details to make it her own and set it apart from the other books like it. One thing I have to point out is the writing style. It's done in the third person, which is my least favorite. I like to have personal connections to the main characters, and this perspective never allows that to happen for me. It always feel like something is lacking, and that puts a damper on my reading experience. That being said, I liked the rest of the book very much and I think the author did a fantastic job of mixing old and new, family stories and memories and everything in between.
One aspect I really enjoyed was the focus on the women of the family throughout the story. Most novels show patriarchal societies and families, so this was something fresh and different - and I loved it. Another part that I liked was the back and forth between past and present. We get to know a lot about Sorrow's family and ancestors, including all the secrets and lies that have stayed hidden for so long. I don't do spoilers, so I don't want to go too much into the plot, but I liked how the author spun the tales of the different women and how everything intertwined. I found the characters to be mostly well written with distinctive personalities and traits that made them realistic. Some of the secondary characters were sort of flat, but since the story didn't focus on them too much, it didn't really bother me. I definitely recommend this book to fans of YA fiction, fantasy, paranormal, contemporary, and magical realism.Kali Wallace studied geology and geophysics before she decided she enjoyed inventing imaginary worlds as much as she liked researching the real one. Her short fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, F&SF, Asimov's, Lightspeed Magazine, and Tor.com. Her first novel, Shallow Graves, was published by Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins in 2016. Her second novel, The Memory Trees, will follow in 2017. She lives in southern California.
Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/The-Memory-Trees-Kali-Wallace/9780062366238?ref=grid-view&qid=1507015817411&sr=1-7
(1) signed hardcover copy of THE MEMORY TREES by Kali Wallace (US Only)
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