Wow. The books I love always resonate with me in some form or fashion and this one is no exception. I’ve sat here for about an hour, trying to come up with how to properly express my thoughts on this debut novel by Erica M. Chapman. When an hour didn’t do, I took a day, and then another. Why? Because I’ve lived a version of this life. I was 16 when two of my friends from high school committed suicide within a month of each other. It’s the most tragic and excruciating feeling. It’s raw. It’s hopeful. It’s inspirational in a way you don’t expect. It’s angry. It’s abusive. I can go on and on, but Chapman captures all of that in just 287 pages.
Chapman’s vivid story-telling made these characters come to life in my imagination, like I was watching a version of the story taking place in my own high school during the mid ’90s. My heart ached for Ellery and the deep, dark depression that overwhelmed her. I put myself in Colter’s shoes as the person who hopes to be her savior. I know that feeling of “If only I had seen the signs…” and wondering what I really would’ve/could’ve done. I’ve replayed the last time I saw my friends a million times. I know (now) there is nothing I could’ve done, but it hasn’t stopped me from wondering even 20 years later.The book takes us through these questions in the eyes of Ellery and Colter. I found myself wanting to save Ellery as well. It was like I had a mental conversation with her, saying all of the things I wish I could have said back then.
While the books is incredibly heart-wrenching, there is a glimmer of hope throughout.
I don’t want to give anything away, so I will leave it at this: THIS BOOK IS A MUST-READ!. At first I was thinking the subject was too deep for YA, but then I remember losing my two friends at such a young age, and I totally got it.
Parents – read and then share with your teens. Discuss this book.
If you or anyone you know is depressed and needs help, please call the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
Get your copy of Teach Me to Forget here.
Thank you to Merit Press for the opportunity to read this book early in exchange for my honest review.
by Erica M. Chapman
Publish date: December 2, 2016
She can’t even get suicide right.
Ellery’s bought the gun, made arrangements for her funeral, and even picked the day. A Wednesday. Everything has fallen into place. Now all she has to do is die.
When her plans go awry and the gun she was going to kill herself with breaks, she does the one thing she has control over—return it and get a new one. After tormenting the crusty customer service associate by trying to return the gun with the wrong receipt, Ellery gets caught by the security guard who also happens to be someone she knows—the annoyingly perfect Colter Sawyer from her English class.
Colter quickly uncovers what she’s hiding and is determined to change her mind. After confessing a closely held secret of his own, he promises not to tell hers. Ellery tries to fight her attraction to him as the shadows of her past cling tight around her, but when she’s faced with another tragedy, she must decide whether her love for one boy is more important than a lifetime of pain.
ERICA M. CHAPMAN (Kalamazoo, MI / ericamchapman.com) is a young adult author who writes dark, emotional novels with a burst of humor, and lighter contemporaries with smart-ass protagonists. Her first novel, Teach Me to Forget will be published by Merit Press in December 2016. Her writing is represented by the lovely Christa Heschke of McIntosh & Otis. She’s a member of SCBWI and a lifetime Lions and Michigan football fan who loves alternative music. She blogs, tweets, and watches various CW & Freeform shows while typing her next story on her Mac-Book in a Detroit Lions Snuggie. She is also a founding member of the YA Misfits and contributor to All the Write Notes. She’s a member of SCBWI. Visit her on Twitter @ericamchapman.