Things I Can't Forget (Paperback)
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Short Description for Things I Can't Forget Kate Kelly couldn't wait for the summer. But when her best friend, Emily, is disinvited to be a counselor at the Christian camp they've attended since they were little, Kate is forced to go alone. Distraught over her trampled summer plans, Kate doesn't notice that Matt's back at camp this yearNthe same Matt who gave her her first kiss.
- Published: 01 April 2013
- Format: Paperback 304 pages
- ISBN 13: 9781402271908 ISBN 10: 1402271905
- Sales rank: 41,033
Reviews for Things I Can't Forget
Powerful, Thoughtful, and Beautifully Told
At this point I have read a ton of reviews for Things I Can't Forget. Almost all have given Miranda Kenneally high praised (very well-deserved) for her writing and the story. Almost all have also mentioned having a hard time connecting with Kate. I am absolutely not trying to argue or discount those feelings, each person comes to a book bringing their unique outlook on life and relationships. What I want to do is offer an alternative point-of-view in regards to Kate.
Kate Kelly is maybe the best example I have personally read for a character who is driven, and often conflicted, by their faith. I know this might make her appear to be judgmental and pushy, and I'm not going to argue with that. The thing is, if you've been raised in a very strict church that takes the Bible and it's rules very literally, this is often who you become. I know this because almost all my friends were like Kate, and I even caught myself doing it when I was really young. We were raised going to a very, very strict church, probably even stricter than Kate's because it didn't even allow music in church or dancing. Kate was raised with a specific set of standards to live by, God's standards, and she takes that seriously. I had a friend (of an even stricter religion) tell me I was going to Hell for cutting my bangs. My best friend told me my Uncle would go to Hell for getting a divorce. Though my feelings were hurt, I didn't exactly get mad at them, because I knew that's what they were taught. A lot of that went by the wayside, though, when we became teenagers. We went to parties, we kissed a lot of boys. We still knew these things we "wrong", we just traded our piousness for a buttload of guilt.
See, Kate feels guilty; for things she's done, things she's said, every errant thought or feeling. Guilt. Guilt. Guilt. And it will drive you crazy, trust me. My point is: Yes, with her judmental thoughts, worries, and guilt, Kate may be hard to connect with, but that just means that Kenneally nailed the portrayal of a girl conflicted by the world around her. Kate sees the world in black or white, wrong or right. Things I Can't Forget is Kate's journey of learning that the world is not concrete, there are many shades of grey to what she thought was absolutes. And if you don't see that when you're reading this, you're going to miss a really powerful story.
Okay, I'm climbing down off my soapbox now... So how about that story?! I personally love books set at summer camps, maybe because I never got to go. I enjoyed the different personlities of the counselors, and how they interacted with one another. Of course, my favorite counselor was Matt, a super cute, super sweet guy Kate knew from her own camp experience. I loved that Matt had this open, affectionate way with Kate, but still maintained a bit of a mysterious edge. To see Matt, with his relaxed nature, help bring Kate out of her shell was so endearing. I loved being able to experience them falling in love. AND, it was so so so great to have Parker and Will at camp, and to get to see a bit of Sam and Jordan!
Ultimately, for me, Things I Can't Forget was Kate's journey of forgiveness and acceptance. She needs to forgive herself. She needs to accept that others won't always see the world the same, or feel the way she does. And she needs to accept herself.
Things I Can't Forget was a beautifully written, very thoughtful story. It's my favorite Miranda Kenneally book yet. by Andrea Thompsonunder review
- Top review
A step outside my comfort zone...
Most of the people who have read Catching Jordan and Stealing Parker will likely agree that Miranda Kenneally is quickly becoming one of the queens of contemporary young adult. She's got a knack for writing stories that touch you, make you laugh, make you fall in love, and make you think.
I'm not the first person to say this, but I was a little wary going into Things I Can't Forget. There was quite a strong theme of religion in Stealing Parker, but it didn't bother me because Parker was questioning her beliefs and the hypocrisy that often runs rampant in religion, which is something I can relate to. In Things I Can't Forget, the religion aspect was a major part of the book, and that worried me.
I won't lie - when I finished reading this book, I was a jumble of emotions and thoughts. The heavy religious themes made me slightly uncomfortable at times, but I also understood it in a way. Kate comes off as very judgmental, but this is how she grew up - religion for her was very black and white, and she believed what the Bible told her and what her ministers preached to her. For Kate, there was right and there was no wrong, and there was no in between.
I really liked Kate. Despite her faults and her zealous religious beliefs (that's not a reason not to like someone, it's just for the purposes of this book, it was hard to swallow at times), I thought she was a great character. She held onto her beliefs, no matter what - even when people called her a Jesus Freak at school, even when her faith was tested, and even when people found her hard to handle because they thought she was judgmental, she held onto her faith, and I admired and respected her for that. There were times it was hard to believe she was eighteen because she was so naïve and sheltered, but it was nice to see her changing, developing, and growing as a character. She realized that not everyone has the same beliefs, and while in the beginning that was a major point of contention for her when it came to making friends, she slowly begins to realize that her truth doesn't have to be everyone else's truth. We don't all have to believe the same things, and I think that will resonate with people, even if it has nothing to do with religion.
I loved seeing Parker and Jordan again, and I'm glad Parker was a big part of the book, and that she had a role in Kate's growth. I also liked Matt, and enjoyed his and Kate's relationship.
A big part of the reason I love Kenneally's books is because they're completely different. There are no cookie cutter stories for her. Kate's struggles were very real, and although they were regular teenage struggles on one hand, they were completely different in many other ways, usually because of her strong beliefs. It's not something you come across in many YA books. Kenneally has a way of writing characters you can connect to and feel for, even if they're the complete opposite of you - there's just something about her writing that makes you feel like you can relate to the characters.
I give Miranda Kenneally huge kudos for being such a brave author. She's not afraid to take chances; I thought that when I read Catching Jordan and Stealing Parker, and after reading Things I Can't Forget, I have even more respect for her. This book won't be for everyone. There are people who will be turned off by the religious aspect (I very rarely read books with religious themes, but I made an exception because I love Miranda's books so much), but that didn't stop her from writing this book, and I really admire that. I like authors who are willing to take chances and maybe even force some readers to step outside their comfort zone.
Things I Can't Forget is about friendship, love, heartache, life lessons, and so much more. It packs an emotional punch while still managing to be fun and funny. I can't wait to see what Miranda Kenneally comes up with next! by Marie Landry