Today is my stop on the Six Months Later Blog Tour, hosted by Sourcebooks. My post includes a review and author interview.
Category/Genre: YA Contemporaray
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: 10/1/13
Source: Received from publisher for review
Rating: 4 stars
Chloe didn't think about it much when she nodded off in study hall on that sleepy summer day. But when she wakes up, snow is on the ground and she can't remember the last six months of her life. Before, she'd been a mediocre student. Now, she's on track for valedictorian and being recruited by Ivy League schools. Before, she never had a chance with super jock Blake. Now he's her boyfriend. Before, she and Maggie were inseparable. Now her best friend won't speak to her.
What happened to her?
And why can't she remember?
I haven't been in the habit of reading Young Adult in the last year or so, but when I do, I tend to enjoy a good suspense or mystery. Six Months Later delivered in that respect. I spent the first seventy-five percent of the story trying to solve what was going on with Chloe, and the rest wondering how the fallout would go down. This definitely kept my attention throughout. No easy feat with a mind like mine.
Six Months Later had several aspects that worked well for me. Of course, as I've already mentioned, the well-developed mystery, but I also enjoyed the characters and the way the story unfolded. Chloe was an engaging protagonist. I appreciated that she was a average. Average student, average popularity, and seemed to be genuinely okay with that. She didn't spend her time coveting the top of the popularity pile, and isn't happy when she "wakes up" in that very position. We also get a cast of secondary characters: Mags, the supportive best friend, well-meaning but annoying parents, the suspicious psychologist, the seemingly perfect boyfriend, and the brooding bad boy who may be a hero, or another baddie. Each character had an important place in the story.
Six Months Later opens with a "normal" beginning, and the mysterious changes happen shortly thereafter when Chloe wakes up six months in the future. Is she ill, or has her memory been tampered with? I love mysteries that pose this question, it's a true mind game. I ended up not being completely surprised by the answer to the puzzle, but appreciated the reason for the nefarious actions. The ending left me satisfied instead of angry or disbelieving.
If you love Young Adult, or just a good mystery in general, Six Months Later is definitely worth a try.
My memory decides to have some sort of massive file corruption and these are the months I missed? What about my years in braces? Or the summer my dog and grandmother died a month apart? No, I get to miss the six months that turned my life from train wreck to perfection. Lovely. ~eARC, 10%
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What inspired you to write a story that dealt with memory loss?
NR: Sometimes I wish I could say I met an amazing amnesia victim at a train station or something, but it's totally not true! The truth is the idea for Six Months Later was sparked by a creepy dream I had about closing my eyes and opening them to find several months had past.
My book ideas usually start with a very small scene that pops into my head. Almost always, it’s a scene that makes me ask a question. For Six Months Later the question was, "What would you do if you fell asleep and woke up six months later?" And then that sent me right me down the rabbit hole. What if you weren't asleep at all? What if you just didn’t remember that six months? What if everything is different? What if everything is perfect, but somehow very, very wrong? Somewhere in answering those questions, the story unfolded. J
NR: Hm. Tricky sticky business, this question! If I answer it with too much detail I'll reveal some important things about the book. I will say I learned a great deal about how very fragile and subjective memories are. And also how connected we are to our memories. Memories can hold tremendous power over us.
Did you ever suffer from writer's block while writing this book?
NR: Oh, I suffered alright. ;-) I'm pretty sure anyone who's ever written an entire book realizes that it's one part sunshine and puppy dogs, and ninety-nine parts unbelievably hard work. Don't get me wrong, I deeply love what I do, but it can be brutal. There was a scene at the end of the book that I wrote so many times I lost count. But that's all a part of it. I don't think of it as writer's block. I think writing is a little like a road trip. Sometimes you're going to get stuck in the mud and make wrong turns. The days when you're changing a tire in the rain, it reeeally sucks, but it's just part of the adventure.
What would you say is the overall message of Six Months Later?
NR: I didn't write Six Months Later with a theme or a message in mind, but it did happen. At the end, I realized Chloe had to come to terms with her own version of success. Perfection is a myth that many of us tend to aim for, but I think it’s more important to be authentic. Being true to who you are and being able to swallow the good and the really-not-good parts of who you are is its own kind of success.
NR: Ah, the hardest question of them all. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that most writers are readers first and foremost. There are so many authors that inspire me. John Green, Libba Bray, Jay Asher, Neil Gaiman, Laurie Halse Anderson, Gayle Forman, Suzanne Collins, JK Rowling...if you're not getting the point already, let me warn you, this could go on for a long, long while! I add to this list every year. Rainbow Rowell is the most recent author to make her way onto my list. J
Can you tell us about a current or future project?
NR: My next YA thriller is in edits now and I've got to say, I'm beside myself about this book. It's a book about a girl who makes a very sinister discovery and ends up tangled in a web of moral ambiguity and vigilante tactics in her quest to make things right. I absolutely CAN’T WAIT for this book to come out. J
Thanks again for having me, Andrea! I’ve had a great time and really hope everyone enjoys Six Months Later!
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