Author: Stacy Kramer & Valerie Thomas
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: May 15, 2012
Number of Pages: 462
Source of Book: Bought the hardcover on the recommendation of Jen (@mentortexts)
KYLIE: Tijuana WHAT? I should be putting the finishing touches on my valedictorian speech. Graduation is TODAY, and is this a wedding band on my finger.FROM WHAT I REMEMBER... is a mash-up of a John Hughes movie and The Hangover. I really enjoyed it, and I'm sure pretty much everyone of my generation that grew up with these types of high school drama movies will too; I'm just not sure how it will connect with this generation of teen readers.
MAX: It all started with Kylie's laptop and a truck full of stolen electronics. Okay, it was kind of hot, the way she broke us out like some chick in an action movie. But now we're stranded in Tijuana. With less than twenty-four hours before graduation. Awesome.
WILL: Saving Kylie Flores from herself is kind of a full-time occupation. Luckily, I, Will Bixby, was born for the job. And when I found out she was stuck in Mexico with dreamy Max Langston, sure, I agreed to bring their passports across the border -- but there's no reason to rush back home right away. This party is just getting started.
LILY: I just walked in on my boyfriend, Max Langston, canoodling with Kylie Flores, freak of the century. Still, I can't completely hold it against him. He NEEDS me. It's even clearer now. And I'm not giving him up without a fight.
I liked so much about this book, and really enjoyed reading the story told from multiple perspectives, but there one quirk that made it a little tough for me to get into right away was all the pop culture references which could date it too quickly, but after about 100 pages, that changed and then I was so hooked that I didn't want to stop reading. The characters I was supposed to dislike, I did. The characters I was supposed to like, I did. The characters I was supposed to change my mind about, I did. The characters I was supposed to cheer on, I did. The characters who were supposed to surprise me...well, that's where things didn't go quite that way for me with all of them. I did feel that it was a little predictable in some ways, but in other ways was unpredictable. However, it could just be that I'm getting really good at reading those foreshadowing clues, or they were pretty obvious because of the idea and style of the story, but either way, it was still fun to read. Basically, FROM WHAT I REMEMBER... is pretty much a takeoff on teen movies, but it doesn't take itself too seriously. I mean, any book that begins each chapter with a quote from a movie, which proceeds to be the lesson for that chapter, is pretty open about telling you that it's going to follow a pretty standard movie-like story arc.
The multiple voices telling the story made it that much more interesting and entertaining, and for the most part, each voice was pretty distinct in its tone. Max and Kylie are the big stars of this book, though, and I felt for them and enjoyed their discoveries. Their one night in Mexico was so sweet with all of their conversations and opening up that it made me root for them to figure it all out and be there for each other. That being said, there were a few secondary storylines that I've not seen so often and were a pleasant surprise to me. Namely, Will as the out gay best friend, who is still working through some issues and actually trying to find himself (which may not be as he appears to show it in the beginning), and Jake, the little brother with Asperger's. I actually felt that Jake's few chapters, when we saw into his mind and thinking, were some of the strongest of the whole book.
I cheered for Kylie's graduation speech at the end (and wanted to snag some takeaway quotes for my classroom walls), and rooted for everything to turn out as it did. FROM WHAT I REMEMBER... is an enjoyable ride of a story. It has some mature scenes that make it not so much a younger middle school book, but I'd be interested to hear what some older teen readers think of it. I would pair it with DITCHED: A LOVE STORY by Robin Mellom, which it, in fact, reminded me of quite a bit, and at the end found a sneak peek for in this book, so I'm not the only one thinking they'd be a good fit!
FROM WHAT I REMEMBER... would make a great beach/summer read. I'd love to hear your thoughts if you read/have read this one!