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 naÃ???Ã???Ã???Ã??Ã?Â¯ve 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!show more
by Marie Landry