Review by Annie Cronin Romano
In THE HIDDEN MEMORY OF OBJECTS, Danielle Mages Amato’s debut young adult novel, fifteen-year-old Megan Brown’s brother has just died, supposedly from a drug overdose. Megan is confused and angry, insisting the Tyler she knew never would have taken his own life, let alone used drugs. When the police start digging further into the circumstances surrounding Tyler’s death, Megan sees the memory of the brother she adored being defaced before her eyes. A talented collage artist, she turns to Tyler’s possessions to find comfort. In the process, she discovers she has an ability to “see” the memories held in those objects. It is a talent that causes Megan much upheaval and pain—literally—and takes her and two friends, Eric and Nathan, on a journey which generates more questions than answers about her brother’s life.
Megan’s devotion to the brother she loved clashes abruptly with the betrayal she feels as she uncovers a side of her brother she never knew existed. In her attempt to makes sense of her newfound visions, Megan enlists the assistance of an artifact historian, Dr. Brightman, who specializes in "murderabilia"—and may have a few secrets of his own. As she seeks the truth about Tyler’s death, Megan learns there is far more to people than can be seen on the surface, even those she thought she knew the best.
THE HIDDEN MEMORY OF OBJECTS, a contemporary young adult novel with a dose of paranormal, grabbed me from chapter one. Megan was a believable, likeable character, and her relationships with Eric, a close classmate, and Nathan, a friend of her brother’s whom she doesn’t recall meeting, add nice dimension to the plot. THE HIDDEN MEMORY OF OBJECTS blends family bonds, mystery, a touch of romance, betrayal, corruption, paranormal abilities, and history into an engaging, multifaceted journey. This beautifully written story kept me turning the pages long after I should have turned out the lights!
Amato’s character development is strong, as she skillfully uses her characters' dialogue and actions to build their personalities for the reader. There is no info dumping here. She delves into the complex emotions that can arise with the tragic, unexpected loss of a loved one and portrays them in a believable manner throughout the story. Contemporary and paranormal genres are blended seamlessly, and every scene and character contribute to the movement of the tightly woven narrative.
For more information on Danielle Mages Amato’s work, visit her website at www.daniellemagesamato.com.
Our favorite mentor texts to guide your writing and revisions.