I loved the new release Forget Me Not written by Alyson Derrick and beautifully narrated by Natalie Naudus. I had pre-ordered the audio because I enjoyed the last book (She Gets the Girl) that Alyson Derrick co-wrote with her wife Rachael Lippincott.
Forget Me Not is a sapphic YA romance about two 18 year old young women (Nora and Stevie) who make a pact to run away from their small ultra-conservative town. Right before they do though, Stevie has an accident and a traumatic brain injury wipes away the last two years of her memories. The two year timeframe is very consequential since it’s the period when Stevie first started to recognize the issues within the town, came to terms with her sexuality, met and fell in love with Nora, and then decided to run away with her. All of those memories are now gone.
Nora and Stevie had also been forced to keep their relationship a secret from everyone, so now Stevie needs to slowly piece together that part of her life. The writing coupled with the narration makes you viscerally feel Stevie’s frustrations and Nora’s overwhelming sadness of being forgotten. Nora’s daily entries in her journal are gut wrenching, especially the quote she references from Haruki Murakami “If you remember me, then I don’t care if everyone else forgets.”
It’s an important story that explores the sense of isolation and fear that queer youth experience living in small rural towns. The author Alyson Derrick (like her character Stevie) also grew up as an Asian American queer kid in a small ultra-conservative community so she recognizes those challenges and dedicates her book: “For the queer kids living in a place like Wyatt. Hang in there it gets so much better.”
Stevie and Nora’s journey is so full of emotion and the narrator Natalie Naudus perfectly captures the wide range of feelings. Forget Me Not by Alyson Derrick will leave you with joy and hope, but just be prepared to sob along the way.