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Title: Things I Can’t Forget
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks, #3
Date(s) read: November 10, 2012
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Publisher / Book Tour (ARC)
Companion to Catching Jordan and Stealing Parker.
Kate has always been the good girl. Too good, according to some people at school—although they have no idea the guilty secret she carries. But this summer, everything is different…
This summer she’s a counselor at Cumberland Creek summer camp, and she wants to put the past behind her. This summer Matt is back as a counselor too. He’s the first guy she ever kissed, and he’s gone from a geeky songwriter who loved The Hardy Boys to a buff lifeguard who loves to flirt…with her.
Kate used to think the world was black and white, right and wrong. Turns out, life isn’t that easy…
Thank you to Sourcebooks & Xpresso Book Tours for sending me an ARC of this book!
Things I Can’t Forget, a companion novel to the Hundred Oaks series, was a very difficult book to read. While the tone is set quite differently from the first two books in the series, we get some of the same characters, and are introduced to a few new characters. The whole story is still very much Miranda Kenneally, but if you have aversion to religion or abortion, you may want to tread lightly.
I think one of the things I liked best about this story was the relationship between Parker and Kate. Not only was it great to see Parker so much in this story, but her and Kate had a different kind of friendship. I could see where Parker (as well as Kate’s friend, Emily) was coming from when she told Kate she was too judgmental, and I think that Kate really needed to realize that for herself, too — that it’s okay to live by the word of God, but sometimes when it comes to friends, you can’t just preach at them that their sinning, you must be compassionate as well.
Just like seeing so much of Parker was a treat, it was great to see other characters from the first two books, like Jordan, Sam Henry, Will, and Drew. It felt like a reunion from the other books and since I knew their stories, I was interested to see how Kate fit in with all of them.
This wasn’t the easiest book to read and I think the religious themes played a big part. The town that these characters come from is very religious. I mean, in Stealing Parker, Parker’s mom is shunned from the church because she’s a lesbian (something that is talked about in this book a bit). Drew also has a hard time because he is gay. To see a character like Kate — a character I found hard to identify with — be quite judgmental about peoples’ “sins” can be a hard read. I wouldn’t say that it was Kenneally preaching through the book, but it was more like Kate having to find a balance between her religion and life itself.
The romance in this book might not be as heavy handed as in the last two novels, but I have to say that the love interest in this book, Matt, was quite the guy. The thing I liked about him was that he was willing to go slow with Kate, knowing that she wasn’t going to just dive into a relationship like some other girls. He may have known her from the past, but he took the time to get to know this new Kate that he hadn’t seen for quite a while. The only issue I had with the relationship was that Kate seemed to be head over heels instantly and always thought of herself as sinning because of it. Maybe I had wanted more drama when it came to the romance?
Fans also might be a little disappointed by the lack of a sports theme in this book, but there is still some sporting. For example, Kate used to play soccer, but can’t anymore. Slowly, Matt gets her back into running, even if she’s a little slow at it. Personally, the whole summer camp aspect of the story was something I really liked, being a person who never got to go to summer camp. It was interesting seeing the new kids come each week, balanced out with the relationships between the counsellors, and the flashbacks to Kate and Emily.
Readers of the series will want to read this book, even if it’s just to see favourite old characters again. The religious tones may be a little too heavy handed for some, and there may be an overabundance of inner dialogue, but as in any Miranda Kenneally book, these things are there for a reason. I would recommend this if you love the series, but if you’re new to the books, I would suggest starting from the very beginning.
Q&A with Miranda Kenneally
Why did you become a writer? What (or who) inspired you to do what you do?
I’ve wanted to become a writer since I was eight years old. As a kid, I would write every day during recess – mostly crappy stories about families with 5 sets of triplets and 5 sets of twins and poodles that performed in the circus. It was awful writing, but I loved doing it.
What is the atmosphere like when you write – completely silent, or do you listen to music?
I watch TV when I write for the most part. My husband likes to watch sports and TV shows at night, and I like to sit with him, so I write while he watches TV.
I’m a musician and I feel most inspired to write in the springtime. Is there a certain season when you feel most compelled to put pen to paper?
I would say I usually do my best writing in the fall. I think that’s because I have too much to do in the summertime and I am usually cold in the winter and would rather snuggle up under blankets, drink hot cocoa, and read instead of write! I’d be interested to know why you like writing in the spring!
What book are you reading right now?
I just finished THE MOON AND MORE by Sarah Dessen. It reminded me a lot of ALONG FOR THE RIDE. I just started reading GOLDEN by Jessi Kirby. It comes out in May. I’m also about to start reading STAR CURSED, the sequel to BORN WICKED by Jessica Spotswood. That comes out in June.
Things I Can’t Forget is quite different from the first two books in this series. Are you worried readers might overlook this one because of its religious themes?
Very, very worried about it. But I trust my readership to give it a shot, and if people don’t like it, that’s okay. We all have different interests and tastes. But I hope that people will stick with it and watch as Kate grows to be a better and more thoughtful person. And I hope they will enjoy the romance with Matt. I think it’s super sexy hot!! To be honest, I haven’t been to church in 12 years, and I’m not much of a Christian myself, but I wanted to tell Kate’s story. She grows a lot and learns to understand other people’s beliefs. As a teen, I struggled with not understanding that “my truth isn’t everybody else’s truth.” I want people to be more accepting of others, so I felt I had to tell this story. This will most likely be the last book I ever write about religion. I’ve said all I need to say about being accepting of others’ beliefs.
When you’re not writing, what do you do in your spare time?
I like going out for Mexican food, watching movies, reading trashy books, gossiping.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Yes. 1) Write the absolute best book you can before trying to get an agent. 2) Don’t give up even if your friends and family aren’t all that supportive at first. 3) Read, read, read. You can’t learn to write well unless you know the market and what books in your genre are like.
Can you share any details on what you might be working on next? Any exciting projects in the works?
Yes! I am just finishing up my 4th book, RACING SAVANNAH, which is about a girl training to be a horse jockey at a high-stakes horse farm while dealing with her on-again/off-again relationship with the farm owner’s son. He is very sexy. This book is more like CATCHING JORDAN than my other books. You should expect to see some characters from CATCHING JORDAN and STEALING PARKER in this one. I am also about to start my 5th book that will come out in 2014, which I am now calling MARATHON OUIJA BOARD BOOK. That title will change, obviously. ☺ I think it’ll be about a girl training to run a marathon in honor of her boyfriend that died, while trying to get over his death. And there is a Ouija board involved! Look for certain characters from THINGS I CAN’T FORGET in this book.
About the Author
Miranda Kenneally is the author of CATCHING JORDAN, STEALING PARKER, THINGS I CAN’T FORGET (March 2013), and RACING SAVANNAH (December 2013). Miranda is the co-creator of Dear Teen Me. The Dear Teen Me Anthology was published on October 31, 2012. She enjoys reading and writing young adult literature, and loves Star Trek, music, sports, Mexican food, Twitter, coffee, and her husband. Follow her on Twitter or Facebook. Miranda is represented by Sara Megibow at Nelson Literary Agency.