Top 5 YA Novels About Memory | Tracy Darnton

truthI’d love to welcome Tracy Darnton to Pretty Books today as part of The Truth About Lies blog tour!

In The Truth About Lies Jess has an amazing autobiographical memory. She remembers everything. Memory conditions are used to great effect in some of my favourite thrillers in film and fiction. We join the characters in slowly discovering what has happened in the mysterious past, working out who they can trust. We can wonder how we could function if we remembered nothing – or remembered everything – and if we would remove troublesome memories if we could. Black Mirror and Netflix find plenty to develop on the memory theme but these are my top picks for YA books dealing with memory:

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We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Transport yourself to a languid summer on an East Coast USA island with a wealthy family. Cadence has selective amnesia after a head injury but returns to the island to be reunited with the other liars of the title to piece together what happened to her. This is one I had to re-read for all the clever little clues I’d missed.

How Not To Disappear by Clare Furniss

I loved the main character Hattie. Dealing with her own considerable problems she winds up on a road-trip with her great-aunt Gloria who’s in the early stages of dementia. I wanted to include a book with dementia, and there’s so much humour, poignancy and fantastic family dynamics in this one as the secrets of Gloria’s past are revealed.

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

Another amnesia plot but this time the main character, Flora, has anterograde amnesia meaning she only remembers for a few hours. She writes herself notes to try to keep a hold on her life and knowledge. But is all as it seems with her condition? And as she heads off in pursuit of the one memory that sticks, I was totally immersed in the wilds of Svalbard.

The Memory Book by Lara Avery

Back to the US again for this one. Sam has a particularly nasty and terminal disease which includes progressive memory loss and dementia-like symptoms. She records her life in her ‘memory book’ to inform her future, compromised self. This interweaves a touching romance too and I admired how the writing reflected her deteriorating condition. However much I told myself I wasn’t going to cry, I did.

Unboxed by Non Pratt

OK so this one doesn’t have so much on memory themes but this super-readable short novel revolves around the memory box put together by a group when they were thirteen with their friend who died. It beautifully tackles identity, grief and friendship.

Tracy Darnton’s The Truth About Lies will be published by Stripes on July 12th. Follow Tracy on Twitter @TracyDarnton.

The Truth About Lies blog tour

Shelf Swap with Beth Garrod

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I love swapping book recs, so I’m asking one person each month to pick five books from my Goodreads shelves that they would like to read and five books from their own shelves that they think I might enjoy.

I’m happy to welcome Beth Garrod, who is here to celebrate her newest book Access All Awkward, to Pretty Books for Shelf Swap! You can see my review of her first book, Super Awkward, here.

5 BOOKS FROM STACEY’S SHELVES THAT BETH WANTS TO READAccessAllAwkwardcover.png

Second Best Friend by Non Pratt
Non Pratt is one of my favourite writers. I love the snapshots into worlds that she
creates, and the friendships that just pop out of her pages. I can’t wait to get stuck
into this one!

Big Bones by Laura Dockrill
This books sounds like it has everything – big laughs, important subject matter and a main character you wish was your friend in real life. It’s going in my holiday packing FOR SURE.

I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman
Another one of my favourite writers? Check. A book about bands, friends, and boys? Check. An absolute cert for my TBR pile? 100%.

The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Stevens
I’ve only heard amazing things about this book. I’ve bought it, it’s by my bed, and I’m ready to jump in and be dazzled.

How Do You Like Me Now? by Holly Bourne
I’ve loved all of Holly Bourne’s books, so I am dying to read her latest one. And
anything that’s been compared to Bridget Jones is something I’m all over.

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5 BOOKS FROM BETH’S SHELVES THAT STACEY SHOULD READ

Noah Could Never by Simon James Green
Noah Can’t Even was one of my favourite books of the last few years. And this is the
follow up. I haven’t technically read it YET but I’ve read the blurb on that back and
that’s already amazing and I know every page of the book is going to be great. It’s
going to be uncomfortable, and awkward, and brilliantly painful and I just can’t wait. I’m actually putting off reading it, so it’s not over yet.

Stacey says: Noah Can’t Even is on my TBR, promise!

Jigsaw Man by Paul Britton
I love funny YA! I love books about finding yourself! I love books about graphic
crimes and the birth of forensic profiling. Variety is the spice of life, right? This is a
fascinating look into how forensic profiling was introduces into criminal investigations – basically, using a crime scene to work out the personality and lifestyle of the potential killer. I loved it. And added bonus – it means you’ll be second guessing anyone that ever makes eye contact with you ever again.

Stacey says: True crime is something I find interesting, but rarely ge to read. This seems like an excellent one for the TBR!

I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
Hands down one of my favourite books of all time. I guess the thing with favourites is that you can’t quite explain what is about them that makes them so special – the
writing, the storyline, the relationships – you just know they stay with you for a long, long time after you finish them. And this is one of those. Just gorgeous.

Stacey says: I’ve actually read this! I can’t wait for Jandy Nelson’s latest novel.

The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp
I love a slow burning coming of age story. Sometimes it’s not the big moments that
make a book, but the bits in-between. Raw, honest, and heartbreaking, this made
me feel like I was 15 again.

Stacey says: I love the striking cover for this and I really enjoy coming-of-age stories.

The Cows by Dawn O’Porter
Three women have three different perspectives on what it means to them to be a
successful, fulfilled woman in their twenties/thirties. I loved it. And I loved the
conversation I had at a bus stop with a confused bouncer (the security kind – not pogo stick) who couldn’t understand that it wasn’t just about cows that go moo. I
explained it was about feminism, and society’s pressure and expectation on women,
especially to have children. He told me it sounded lovely, to keep smiling and to
make sure I had kids soon. If I wasn’t enjoying it so much, I would have left him my
copy.

Stacey says: As I could realate a lot to How Do You Like Me Now?, I probably need to pick this up too…

Thank you, Beth, for swapping shelves with me today!

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On My TBR: Summer

I love a summery TBR! Here are six fun contemporary novels I’ve picked to read over June, July and August.

The Wonder of Us by Kim Culbertson

Riya moved to Berlin while Abby stayed behind in California. Riya proposes an epic adventure: two weeks, six countries, unimaginable fun. I love travel novels, so I can’t wait to get stuck into this.

The Summer of Us by Cecilia Vinesse

I picked out another fabulous travel + friendship novel. Aubrey has two weeks before she leaves for college. She and her best friend, Rae, have planned one last trip across Europe. From Paris to Prague, they’re going to explore famous museums, sip champagne in fancy restaurants, and eat as many croissants as possible.

The Summer of Impossible Things by Rowan Coleman

30 years ago, something terrible happened to Luna’s mother. In Brooklyn, her mother’s birthplace, something impossible – magical – happens to Luna, and she meets her mother as a young woman back in the summer of 1977. I love a bit of time travel. I picked up this novel at the Lush book club last year, so I’m excited to finally read it.

Two Summers by Aimee Friedman

In this contemporary romance, we’re off to France! Summer says goodbye to her best friend, her secret crush and her single mum, and is off on a trip of a lifetime to visit her estranged artist father. But right before she’s about to board, her phone rings. Should she answer it?

Lying About Last Summer by Sue Wallman

Skye’s sister died in a tragic accident. Her parents think that a camp for troubled teenagers might help her process her grief. When Skye starts receiving text messages from someone pretending to be her dead sister, she knows it’s time to confront the past. But what if the danger is right in front of her? I thought it’d be fun to add a thriller to the TBR!

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

And finally, a road trip novel that I’ve wanted to read for ages. After breaking up with her boyfriend, Reagan is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. Her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own. Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts.

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10 Non-Fiction Books About Mental Health


For Mental Health Awareness Week (14-20th May), I thought I’d chat about 10 books about mental health that are on my wishlist, TBR, or that I’ve read.

Mad Girl: A Happy Life with a Mixed-up Mind by Bryony Gordon

Mad Girl is super accessible. It reads just like having a chat with Bryony over coffee about her OCD, and is really enjoyable and funny. Mad Girl does what I think we all should do: talk about mental health as if we were talking about the flu, honestly and without fear of judgement.

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A Series of Unfortunate Stereotypes: Naming and Shaming Mental Health Stigmas by Lucy Nichol

I was sent a copy recently by Trigger Press as part of their mental health awareness campaign. As someone who deals with anxiety, Lucy discusses the ways in which mental illness is viewed, and tackles unfair stereotypes e.g. that people with mental illness are ‘narcissists’, ‘hypochondriacs’ and ‘psycho’.

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Matt Haig suffers from depression (like 20% of people) and Reasons to Stay Alive is his award-winning book on how he copes with the illness. It’s loved by many and one I hope to finally read this year.

A Beginner’s Guide to Being Mental: An A-Z by Natasha Devon

One for millennials, this is a guide to mental illness, from A (anxiety) to Z (zero f**ks given).

It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot

Ruby’s illustrations show what it’s like to suffer from all kinds of mental health issues: anxiety, bipolar disorder, self-harm, eating disorders, and depression. We all know that mental health needs to be talked about more, and I really do think that humour – visual humour especially – can be a great way to do it.

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How to Survive the End of the World (When it’s in Your Own Head) by Aaron Gillies

If you don’t follow @TechnicallyRon on Twitter, do it now! He’s so hilarious and relatable, and I can’t wait to read his first book. He talks about the impact that anxiety has and gives readers some tools to fight back alongside his trademark humour.

The Time in Between: A Memoir of Hunger and Hope by Nancy Tucker

Nancy was diagnosed with anorexia and bulimia as a teenager and The Time in Between is her memoir of her experience and recovery.

The Self-Care Project by Jayne Hardy

Self care is something we all should do and I can’t wait to get my hands on this book, written by the founder and CEO of The Blurt Foundation, a charity that aims to increase awareness and understanding of depression.

It’s All In Your Head: A Guide to Getting Your Sh*t Together by Rae Earl

Aimed at teenagers, It’s All in Your Head is full of friendly advice, coping strategies and laugh-out-loud moments to get you through the difficult days written by someone who gets it.

Secrets for the Mad: Obsessions, Confessions and Life Lessons by Dodie Clark

A mix of doodles, poetry and prose all about self-care, mental health, life and relationships: “This is for the people with minds that just don’t stop; for those who feel everything seemingly a thousand times more than the people around them.”

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Shelf Swap with Annalie Grainger


I love swapping book recs, so I’m asking one person each month to pick five books from my Goodreads shelves that they would like to read and five books from their own shelves that they think I might enjoy.

I’m happy to welcome Annalie Grainger, who is here to celebrate her newest book In Your Light, to Pretty Books for Shelf Swap!

5 BOOKS FROM STACEY’S SHELVES THAT ANNALIE WANTS TO READ

How Do You Like Me Now? by Holly Bourne
I’m a big fan of Holly’s teen books, especially her Spinster Club series, so I think I would enjoy this one. She’s such a funny, warm and smart writer. Her characters are always so real, and she captures the teen girl experience so perfectly. I’d love to see what she writes for an older audience. I’m sure it is equally brilliant.

This Book Will (Help You) Change the World by Sue Turton
I was sold on the title alone with this book! Like a lot of people, I’ve watched with increasing horror at what’s been going on in politics recently. I feel pretty let down by the people in charge but also overwhelmed about where to begin with trying to make a difference. How can one person make a change?! As such, I’d love to know what practical things I can do. As such, this sounds like the perfect book for me!

The Scapegoat by Daphne Du Maurier
I’m a huge fan of Daphne Du Maurier. Rebecca is one of my all-time favourite books, and I’ve read that this book shares many of the same themes. I love seeing an author’s writing develop, so I’d really like to read this book to understand more about how Du Maurier progressed through her career.

This Is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay
I read Do No Harm a few years back (see below!) and was fascinated by the ins and outs of a surgeon’s life. As such, I’m sure I’d enjoy this. Also I saw Adam Kay interviewed on TV, and he was very funny!

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
This is billed as Eleanor and Park meets Bollywood, and I’m totally hooked already. I love a good rom-com, and this sounds like it’s going to be a great one.

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