October 11, 2020 , Sun
Review: Forget This Ever Happened by Cassandra Rose ClarkForget This Ever Happened by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Published by Holiday House
on October 6, 2020
Pages: 336
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3.5 Stars

Sometimes there's a town called Indianola.
And sometimes there isn't.
Summer, 1993. Claire has been dumped in rural Indianola, Texas, to spend her whole vacation taking care of mean, sickly Grammy. There's nothing too remarkable about Indianola: it's run-down, shabby, and stifling hot, a pin-dot on the Gulf Coast.
Well, there is one remarkable thing, she discovers. Something otherworldly.
But if you leave Indianola, you forget about it... and if you stay, you have to live with it every day.
Because there's a confluence of energies at Indianola, a fissure in time and space, a gap in reality. Nothing is as it seems. And unless Claire can figure out this town--the talkative lizards under the pecan trees; the honey-sweet but terrifying girl next door; the cute daughter of a powerful family, who would answer Claire's questions if she had any answers; the pervasive sense of history coming unspooled, like a video tape--she might never leave.
Featuring a mindbending plot, heartfelt queer romance, brilliant writing, and intricate worldbuilding, Forget This Ever Happened is a lush and thrilling genre-bender perfect for the Black Mirror generation.

Listen, I love me a good genre-bending thriller. So when I had the chance to sign up for TBR & Beyond’s tour of Forget This Ever Happened, I jumped on it. A town that’s not supposed to exist? Monsters? Queer romance? ABSOLUTELY, I’M READY.

I haven’t read anything like it, which was incredibly refreshing and I genuinely loved the 90s throwback (the book takes place in the 90s so pop culture references galore) and the SNES is one of my favorite gaming consoles and it gets a lot of love from this book.

characters

🦎 The two main characters both hit different chords for me. Claire is a girl just trying to make the best of a bad situation. When she’s whisked away from the life she knows to take care of her grandma who has recently fallen ill, she’s less than thrilled. The teenage voice really came through here (in fact, she handled it much better than teenage me would have) and I really felt for her, especially as you know, weird stuff and monsters started happening. Julie, though, Julie is a girl after my own heart. She’s a video game playing, horror movie loving badass. I really connected with her since well, we both grew up in the 90s renting VHS tapes and playing Mortal Kombat.

🦎There isn’t a huge cast of characters to worry about, which was nice for me. The monsters, though, they were kind of neat. It was done in a way that all of the monsters are like their own big character with a singular motivation and goal and it isn’t what you would expect.

plot

🦎 The plot is pretty intriguing. I feel like this will appeal to fans of Stranger Things and Twin Peaks. It definitely has some great nostalgia vibes and I appreciate the way it blends paranormal and science fiction together. It’s pretty accessible and definitely works as a unique vessel to tell the story. The setting itself is a town that’s not supposed to exist shrouded in mystery and no one can seem to remember anything clearly and STUFF IS LEGIT BIZARRE. You don’t find a lot of books that combine these elements and I sincerely hope this title spawns more of them.

🦎 You really do go on a journey here. I never knew what was coming next and I made my discoveries exactly when the characters themselves made them, which was endlessly frustrating because I always wanted to know what was actually happening, but also really cool because I couldn’t even guess at things. It’s one of those books that likes to throw you through some loops.

🦎 I really enjoyed the romance here. Claire and Julie were very cute and I appreciated that Claire struggled through her bisexual awakening with care and introspection. And I love that we got to see her noticing Julie and acknowledging the attraction even if she didn’t understand it until later. And Julie, man, Julie is just awesome.

writing

🦎 The writing took me a bit to get used to since I hardly ever read books in the present tense, but once I adjusted, I think it really helped me picture what was happening– as if I was watching a movie. I could pretty much see everything play out and I felt like I was truly there in the moments with the characters.

🦎 The ambiance was also pretty awesome. I know I mentioned it earlier, but I really dug the 90s timeline and references as well as the underlying strangeness of everything. You were always aware that something was not quite right and you felt it the entire time.

🦎 All in all this was a weird and spooky book in all good ways and I wish there were more like it in the world.

this is the book you’re looking for if:

  1. You like Stranger Things or Twin Peaks.
  2. You want something different. Kinda weird.
  3. You don’t do horror, but you do do spooky.

this is not the book you’re looking for if:

  1. You don’t like books that keep you guessing til the last minute.
  2. You’re not into monsters or science fiction.
  3. You hate pop culture and 90s historical fiction (gosh this pained me to write).

now you!

🦎 How much do you appreciate atmosphere in a book?
🦎 What’s the last book you read that you felt was really original?
🦎 GIVE ME ALL YOUR SAPPHIC RECS!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cassandra Rose Clarke’s work has placed in the Rhysling Awards and been nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award, the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award, the Pushcart Prize, and YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults. She grew up in south Texas and currently lives in Houston, where she writes and serves as the associate director for Writespace, a literary arts nonprofit. She holds an M.A. in creative writing from The University of Texas at Austin, and in 2010 she attended the Clarion West Writer’s Workshop in Seattle. Her latest novel is Halo: Battle Born, out now from Scholastic.

 

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favorite quotes:

She lets go of Julie and plunges her hands into the sand and flings it out onto the surrounding dunes. She’s not just tearing apart a monster, she’s tearing apart her fear. Anything that frightens her, she flings into the night air.

Claire drops her head to the side and finds Julie looking at her. A dune vine is twisted against her cheek and tangled up in her hair, and it reminds Claire of a picture of a nymphs she saw in her Latin textbook at school.

After seventeen years Julie’s grown used to the ways the monsters slip into the edge of things. Claire is right: You can’t think on them too much. If you try they just pull further away, like a particularly tricky math problem.

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About Diana

Diana is your sleep-deprived, fandom loving, payload escorting, book obssessing tour guide. She has her Bachelor's degree in English Literature and her Master's degree in Creative Writing. She currently works for a community college in the IT department and is an adjunct professor teaching English.

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