today’s book: With Every Memory by Janine Rosche
Last week we kicked off the summer-long Road Trip Reads Giveaway where we will be visiting all 50 states on the pages of recently released books. Because road trips are always better with friends – and books – right? So grab your fave snacks, a cold soda or bottled water, an upbeat playlist and let’s head to the mountains!
today’s stop: Colorado
WITH EVERY MEMORY by Janine Rosche
GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Fiction
RELEASE DATE: June 6, 2023
Is the Life She Can’t Remember One She’d Rather Forget?
One year after her family was in a tragic car accident that killed her teenage son, Lori Mendenhall returns home with a traumatic brain injury that has stolen the last eight years of memories from her. She is shocked to find that the life she was leading before the accident is unrecognizable. Her once-loving husband, Michael, is a distant workaholic she isn’t sure she can trust and her once-bubbly daughter, Avery, has spent the last year hidden away in her room.
For Avery, life stopped when she lost her twin. Now, if she wants to graduate high school, she’ll have to accept help from Xander Dixon, her brother’s best friend and the boy who relentlessly teased her for years. And if Lori wants to reconnect with her husband, she’ll have to grapple with information her brain is trying to keep secret. With every memory that returns, she can’t help but wonder if the life she can’t remember is one she’d rather forget.
There are some stories that captivate you from word one and keep your heart in complete thrall until the very end. There are some stories that, once finished, you have to sit and just absorb for a bit before you can squeeze all your feelings into words. And there are some stories you are forced to read while hiding away in the bedroom so your sobs don’t disrupt your husband’s work day. With Every Memory by Janine Rosche is all of the above.
This book without a doubt engaged every single one of my emotions – from grief to anger to joy and even some swooning. I wept with Avery and Lori, I wept for them… and I wept out of my own grief too because the author has so poignantly captured the complex emotions of loss. I also got mad enough to purse whomp a few characters who desperately needed it, though the author successfully stayed my hand a few times by unexpectedly turning the tide just in time to spare that character my book-filled-tote-enabled rage. Interestingly, however, this book is also not what I would call ‘heavy’. It’s somber in parts, sure. And it wrung a lot of tears out of me. But at the same time, a steady undercurrent of joy and warmth – and even a little humor and romance – surround this story in a comforting embrace that soothes the pieces of your heart it just broke.
(And here’s where I briefly pause this otherwise deep review to shallowly interject that the young adult romance thread in With Every Memory is just super swoony and everything delightful and made my heart lighter to read it. I may never recover from Xander’s steadiness. He is my very favorite person in this book.)
Lori, Avery, and Michael are all such complex characters who are made more so by the tangled webs of grief and trauma, and as Rosche peeled back these layers one by one I found myself hanging on every word. The plot device of Lori’s retrograde amnesia adds even more complexity because she has become in essence an unreliable narrator of her own life. If she’s not sure what – or who – to trust, then neither are we as readers. And even with all their brokenness exposed on these pages, I could not tear myself away from the messiness nor the hope of survival and maybe even restoration. Because isn’t that a big part of why we read stories like this? To be reminded that (to quote a Natalie Grant song) it’s possible to have the sacred torn from our lives and still survive?
Bottom Line: With Every Memory by Janine Rosche is beautiful and messy and full of emotion. It’s about love and family and fractured marriages and troubled teenagers and amnesia and grief… but it’s also about fighting for the restoration of what’s been lost even when it doesn’t look like you thought it would. This is such poignant storytelling, and the author paints such vivid word pictures with such tangible emotions, that you will be unable to stop reading once you’ve begun. I do wish that the faith thread had been a bit stronger, given the opportunities that seemed perfect to point to the One who ultimately restores and redeems. BUT I also trust the author and the story she felt led to write & I’d rather have the lighter faith thread that is present than one that feels unnatural or forced just for the sake of including it. Regardless, it’s a story I’ll be thinking about for a long time, and I would happily spend more time with these characters in the future.
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4.5 stars / loved it!
KissingBook Level: 3 / may forget to breathe on occasion
Revell is offering a print copy of With Every Memory by Janine Rosche to TWO of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What makes you want to read With Every Memory by Janine Rosche? Have you ever visited Colorado?