REVIEW// The Unhappening of Genesis Lee by Shallee McArthur

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

The Unhappening of Genesis Lee by Shallee McArthur
by Shallee McArthur
young adult dystopian
★★★★★

Advanced review copy received from Sky Pony Press
Expected publication: November 18th 2014
Seventeen-year-old Genesis Lee has never forgotten anything. As one of the Mementi—a small group of genetically-enhanced humans—Gena remembers everything with the help of her Link bracelets, which preserve memories perfectly. But Links can be stolen, and six people have already lost their lives to a memory thief, including Gena’s best friend.

Anyone could be next. Which is why Gena is less than pleased to meet a strange but charming boy named Kalan who claims that they’ve not only met, but that Gena knows who the thief is.

The problem is, Gena doesn’t remember Kalan, she doesn’t remember seeing the thief, and she doesn’t know why she’s forgetting things— or how much else she might forget. As growing tensions between Mementi and ordinary humans drive the city of Havendale into chaos, Gena and Kalan team up to search for the thief. And as Gena loses more memories, they realize they have to solve the mystery fast.

Because Gena’s life is unhappening around her.
The Unhappening of Genesis Lee is one of the best sci-fi books i've read this year. The world building was so detailed and intricate without being too over the top. I love how it wasn't exactly explained straight out because the plot just seamlessly unfolds all the answers to the questions you might have at just the right moment. Genesis Lee's world would have been a huge confusing mess if it was written in a wrong way, but Shallee McArthur didn't disappoint.

After the war, scientists invented a drug that would supposedly help PTSD victims store their traumatic memories in a place in their mind where in won't bother them anymore. Things didn't go as planned and people started going crazy because of the experiment and it started to affect their reproductive systems, starting the rise of the Mementi- humans who remember everything perfectly and can share memories with other Mementi through the slightest touch. The Mementi store their memories in Link beads that they wear as accessories on their arms, necks, and for the very daring- hair. The loss of a single link bead can lead to the loss of two years worth of memories.

When a person called the Link Thief begins stealing people's beads, fingers started to point at The Populace- the normal humans whose brains haven't been genetically altered by the drug, causing an even greater strain between the two groups. Interestingly enough, I never found myself favoring one group over the other. The author writes the story in a completely objective manner and shows us both sides of the conflict.

Remember when I said that The Mementi can share memories through touch? Well, reading this book was like having Genesis remove her gloves and grasp my hand, skin to skin. I felt every fiber of emotion she was going through- the fear she felt in that alleyway with Cora, the helplessness when Cora lost her memories, the pain, the anguish, the confusion, the butterflies in her stomach when she started to fall for Kalan, and the ache in her heart whenever she forgot about his existence. I feel her soul when she gets panic attacks, I feel her soul when her parents force her to be something she's not, I feel her soul when she falls in love over and over again- for the same guy. 

Genesis isn't the main victim in the book's mystery, but she's stuck right in the middle of it and this is clearly HER story. However, the supporting characters didn't lack strength in their core at all. They were equally as strong and as fluid, especially Kalan. The charming preacher boy's son who is idealistic and brave. Imagine falling inlove with someone, and finding out that they feel the same way, only to have them forget you the very next day. Their romance tore me apart and completely crushed me on the inside. 

The Unhappening of Genesis Lee isn't just emotional- it's fast-paced and thrilling, throwing twists at you that you never would have expected. Couple that with seamless world building and strong characters to back a complex unique plot and you're sure in for an adventure of your own.

Buy from: Amazon // The Book Depository
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