Before I tell you anything else, I want you to know there are a significant amount of 5 star reviews for this book and would encourage you to check some of those out before deciding whether this is the book for you.
“There are a lot of things I wish I didn’t remember.”
This could well be the most triggering book I have ever read. I knew before I began that sexual assault would be addressed but I read a lot of books that include content of that nature so I thought I’d be okay. I never expected there would be such consistently graphic content. I don’t think for a moment that the author intended any of the scenes to be gratuitous but it felt at times like I was reading a Virginia Andrews novel.
If there’s been more light included in the story to help counter the overwhelming darkness I might have been okay. Instead I felt more and more weighed down by story after story of trauma. Your response may be different to mine and you may be okay after reading this, but if you’re a survivor of sexual assault, please be safe while reading.
Why was his brain assaulted by other people’s stories when he could remember nothing of his own?
Hunter can take bad memories away from other people but each memory he deletes from them adds to his own burden. Given how their traumas are both related to sexual assault and that they’re best friends, I had trouble believing Jazz could so easily give her memories to Hunter.
While I definitely understand the desire to erase traumatic memories, it still felt selfish of Jazz to ease her burden by heaping it instead on someone she cared about. Hunter doesn’t feel the way I do about this. I didn’t want Jazz silenced; I wanted her to be able to share her story with someone. My only problem with this was the choice to delete memories you don’t want by adding to the trauma of another person.
I balked and very nearly threw my Kindle across the room when a victim of child sexual abuse described their perpetrator as seducing them.
I wanted to know more about Dr Ru and his ‘treatments’, particularly how many other potential Hunters there are wandering around and if the side effects of the treatment differ between patients.
I was interested in spending more time exploring the changes that took place in people when their traumatic memories were removed and wanted to know the long term effects Hunter would experience by overloading his mind with other peoples’ trauma.
Content warnings include mentions of [take a huge breath here …] abortion, alcoholism, child pornography, death by suicide, domestic violence, eating disorder, fat shaming, homophobia, human trafficking, incest, mental illness, murder, paedophilia, prostitution, scientific experimentation on animals (worms), school shooting, self harm, sexual assault, suicidal ideation and attempts.
Thank you so much to NetGalley and DartFrog Books for the opportunity to read this book.
Once Upon a Blurb
Hunter needs to remember. Jazz needs to forget. They need each other to heal in this teen thriller of survivor love.
Hunter’s past is a mystery to him, erased by a doctor at the direction of his father. But memories of the secret trauma begin to surface when Hunter sees other people’s memories – visions invading his mind with stories of abuse, teen self-mutilation, rape, and forbidden sex.
His best friend Jazz has dark and disturbing memories of her own that she hides behind her sass and wit. Hunter discovers he can rescue the victims, even though he risks adding their suffering to his own.
Hunter and Jazz kiss each other’s scars and form a bond of empathy no two teens should ever need.